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7. Samian in Society: Examining Samian and Site Status

7.1 Introduction

The character of samian assemblages at sites in Britain appears to be a sensitive indicator of their status and identity (Millett 1980; Willis 1998a; cf. Evans 2001). Several firm trends have been identified in this respect. This new realisation is instructive for our understanding of the nature of Roman Britain (and vindicates suggestions made by Fulford and Huddleston (1991, 40) regarding the potential utility of approaches of this sort). Indeed, work for Phase 1 of the project had shown that:

  1. the proportion of samian present within Roman pottery groups strongly reflects the character of the site from which the groups derive (e.g. Willis 1998a, Table 1 and 2);
  2. there exists a marked correlation between site type/status and the proportion of decorated samian ware present, as opposed to plain ware (Willis 1998a, Table 3).

Phase 2 has explored these trends with a much larger sample. The work has underlined the trends observed among the sample collected for Phase 1, and identifies a number of other aspects of significance.

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