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12.2.2 The rarity of samian at some formal/monumental religious sites?

While the sites documented above show samian to be present in and around a variety of formal religious sites there are cases where samian seems to be poorly represented at such sites. Tables 23, 24, 27 and 28 show that samian was a minor component of groups from such sites within the quantified sample available. The specific groups, where weight is the method of quantification, come from Chanctonbury Ring, West Sussex (three groups), Chelmsford, Essex (two groups) and Uley, Gloucestershire (one group); at best samian comprises only 3% of the pottery forming these groups (Section 7.2.6). When EVE is the measure, data are available for only three groups, from Chelmsford and Uley (Tables 27 and 28), among which samian forms between 2.4 and 5.7% of the pottery forming the groups. A similar pattern of infrequency is apparent vis-à-vis the temples at Harlow, Essex, and Lancing Down, West Sussex, as well as at, seemingly, Bath. A low occurrence of samian at formal religious sites is suggested by the following cases.

12.2.3 Samian at formal/monumental religious sites: discussion

The cases listed above in Sections 12.2.1 and 12.2.2 suggest that at some formal religious sites samian is prominent while at others it is less so. In other words, the emerging picture shows variation. A varied pattern is perhaps not surprising, though more quantitative data from sites of this type will likely assist in clarifying trends. The trend, as far as it may be discerned from present quantitative data, is for samian to be present in modest or low frequency. Nonetheless some interesting cases of presence occur. That samian is routinely present at these sites is itself a point of note, since it demonstrates that it was not unacceptable within these cultural environs, or otherwise segregated. Since it is likely that different deities will have been venerated and evoked by differing acts and procedures (cf. the Carrawburgh mithraeum) it may be that variation in material evidence from place to place is to be anticipated.

Of note, the early Roman stratified pottery group from the shrine at Uley, the three 2nd century samples from the site of the temple at Chanctonbury Ring and the two groups from the religious complex on the outskirts of Chelmsford (site K), have proportions of samian closely similar to those of the rural groups and the groups from the smaller civil centres (Tables 23, 24, 27 and 28). This trend is seen too among the material from the temple at Lancing Down, West Sussex (Bedwin 1981) for which sherd count data have been published (Rudling 1981), and seemingly at the temple at Harlow, Essex (France and Gobel 1985). This correspondence with the percentages of samian occurring at the rural sites and smaller centres may in these cases be considered appropriate since these particular temple sites, namely Uley, Chanctonbury Ring and Lancing Down were located within rural environs, while the site at Chelmsford lies on the periphery of this small town.

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