Department of Archaeology

Interpreting Samian

The Leverhulme TrustKey staff: Dr Gwladys Monteil

Leverhulme Trust-Early Career Fellowship:
A comparative study of the use of samian ware

Far from being a mere dating tool, samian can be used to draw conclusions on trade and consumption patterns as well as social and cultural identity.

With support from the Leverhulme Trust, this three-year project is exploring the dynamics of samian use and consumption in Britain and Gaul between AD 40 and 250.

Data courtesy of the Colchester Archaeological Trust


The project builds on previous work on samian consumption in Roman London) and applies similar methods to a range of sites in Britain and France.

  • Detailed mapping of samian assemblages in provincial Roman centres to complement existing data for London and enable comparisons. 
  • Synthesis of data from urban, military and rural assemblages to explore how samian sets and consumption practices changed through time and varied with social group.


Monteil. G, in prep “Sizes in production, sizes in consumption” in the AHRC-funded project and subsequent book directed by Fulford, M. Gallo-Roman Terra sigillata: new approaches.

Monteil, G. 2009. “Sizes in production, sizes in consumption” presentation at the AHRC funded Gallo-Roman Terra sigillata: new approaches workshop at the Römisch-Germanisches Zentralmuseum, Mainz, 25 to 27-09-2009.

Previous research

Monteil, G. forthcoming The sizes of samian vessels and dining – evidence from Roman London. In Bird, D. (ed) Dating and interpreting the past in the western Roman Empire: essays in honour of Brenda Dickinson. Oxbow Books.

Monteil, G. 2008 The distribution and use of samian inkwells. In Clark, J., Cotton, J., Hall, J., Sherris, R. and Swain, H. (eds) Londinium and Beyond: Essays for Harvey Sheldon. CBA.



Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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