Samian ware vase
Roman Britain, 2nd century AD
Made at Ledosus (modern Lezoux, Auvergne, France); Found in Castor, Cambridgeshire, England
The form of this cylindrical vase is categorized as Dragendorff 30, after the German scholar who made the first systematic numbering of Italian and Gaulish terra sigillata ('stamped clay') pottery in the 1890s. Dragendorff 30 was far less common than Dragendorff 37, the hemispherical bowl, but was made in all the principal Gaulish potteries from before the middle of the 1st century AD and throughout the second century. This large example was made at Ledosus (modern Lezoux) in Central Gaul, during the second half of the second century.
Within the figured decoration is a large name-stamp reading DIVIXTVS.F (Divixtus fecit, that is, 'Divixtus made (it)'). A stamped vessel like this helps archaeologists to attribute unstamped examples to specific workshops, by comparing figures, decorative schemes and details, colour and quality of fabric and slip. In this case, the name is that of the owner of a pottery workshop. Mould-makers' names and bowl-makers' names are also found.
The decoration was achieved by impressing the designs onto the interior of a clay mould, and the vessel was then thrown in the mould which was mounted on a potter's wheel.