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Coins and Samian Ware

A study of the dating of coin-loss and the deposition of samian ware (terra sigillata), with a discussion of the decline of samian ware manufacture in the NW provinces of the Roman Empire, late 2nd to mid 3rd centuries AD

Anthony C. King
Publication Year:
333pp. Illustrated throughout.
ISBN 10:
BAR number:


This book reviews Samian ware chronology, c. AD 150-275. A dating scheme is proposed, based upon the stratigraphic association of Samian ware with coins, and using the statistical strength of association between potters or styles with each other and withdated deposits. A new model is also presented for estimating time-lapses between minting and loss for coins of the period. The results extend Central Gaulish Samian ware later than hitherto supposed, and revise the relative sequence of potters. The average period of use of Samian vessels is often quite long, and therefore, close dating of Samian ware is questioned. A concluding discussion looks at the socio-economic significance of Samian ware decline.

'As a rich example of an interdisciplinary approach to the problem, it combines mathematical/statistical methodologies with special analysis of data of coin hoards and mass archaeological material as well as that of the stratigraphy of archaeological sites of various types. A considerable part of the huge amount of evidence collected by [A.C. King] is presented in the form of graphs, figures and plates, which, in turn, demand attentive judgment. At the same time, it becomes clear that this book sets a new high level and standards for the subsequent research in the field of mass Roman pottery investigation, and this aspect will certainly not be ignored by scholars.’
Sergei A. Kovalenko, Ancient West and East, Volume 15, 2016