Samian Ware Found in Småland


Samian ware is beautiful reddish amber-coloured pottery, made in moulds and often decorated with figural reliefs. In recent times it has been given the Latin moniker terra sigillata. It was made in peripheral parts of the Roman Empire and rarely moved far beyond its borders. The Swedish finds can be counted on the fingers of one hand. Each find is alone in its respective province: Scania, Västergötland, Östergötland, Gotland…

Last Saturday, Pierre Petersson of the AHIMKAR blog led a guided tour of a 1st Millennium cemetery in Söderåkra parish, Småland, the province between Scania and Östergötland. Småland hasn’t got any Samian finds. That is, it hadn’t got any until last Saturday: Pierre checked out the earth clinging to the roots of a fallen tree at the cemetery and picked out a beautiful sherd of Samian.

You go, Pierre! Now I want you to sieve that muthafucka. And then I want you to dig that cemetery real hard. And I want you to show them lame-ass götar and skåningar that Småland is the place to be in Roman Iron Age studies, trudat.


  1. #1 Pierre
    May 16, 2007

    Nice =) Ant trust me, I want to dig that cemetry real hard too! By the way I clicked a bit on your buttons, meaning you owe me eternal life, meaning I`ve got plenty of time to make it happen. =)

  2. #2 Martin R
    May 16, 2007

    I wonder what happens if the people buried at that cemetery also click the buttons and get eternal life. Then you will have to get their consent for the dig. Public archaeology!

  3. #3 Thony C.
    May 16, 2007

    Having informed the non-archaeologists what samian is you could now really get their attention with a blog about erotic samian 🙂

  4. #4 Martin R
    May 16, 2007

    Oh, Thony, you erotic simian!

  5. #5 MikeB
    May 17, 2007

    The samian is lovely. I’d love to know if there is any other Roman material from the site, but the link is all in Swedish – can anyone help?

  6. #6 Pierre
    May 18, 2007

    MikeB: The cemetry on which the samian sherd was found is never archaelogically excavated. It consists of 23 known round stonesettings and can probably, judging by comparative cemetrys in the region, be dated to between 500 BC and 500 AD. The only find from the actuall cemetry was a grave urn found when a grave was destroyd by a building around 1910. There is no other known roman material from the site. In the surroundings however ther are a few finds that has its origins in the roman world or is inpiered by roman culture. They are probably not result of direct contact with the romans, but indirect in some way.

  7. #7 MikeB
    May 18, 2007

    Thanks Pierre – my specialisation is (or rather was) Roman material beyond the Empire, so any new finds are always interesting. Samian seems to have been highly valued beyond the Empire, even as sherds.
    Good luck with the rest of the site, and hopefully Martin will let us know know you get on.

  8. #8 Abel Pharmboy
    September 15, 2007

    Martin, thanks for coming over to comment today on why I chose Terra Sigillata as the name of my blog.

    Somewhat off topic for you archaeology folks, I have an anecdote about Samian ware that brought me my first burst of traffic at my fledgling old blog in early ’06. Turned out that terra sigillata was the clue for a UK Daily Telegraph crossword puzzle where those who completed it successful could be entered for a prize worth 200 British pounds. I noted a high percentage of hits from the UK and put out the question to the readers as to why this was. Samian ware was the solution to the terra sigillata clue.

New comments have been temporarily disabled. Please check back soon.