Roman Pottery Sherd

This is a broken piece of pottery made in Roman times, in a style known as Samian ware. It would have originally formed part of a bowl made in Gaul (France) some time between the first and third centuries.

Use the controls to zoom in and view details of the sherd. You can also download and re-use the image.

Below we have highlighted some details you can see.

What can we see?

Grapevine


The grapevine would have repeated around the body of the bowl in a fluid, scrolling pattern. Evoking a vineyard, figures and animals hide within.

Cupid


Cupid is the Roman god of desire, affection and erotic love.

Known as Eros by the Ancient Greeks,  he was portrayed as a slender winged youth. In the later Roman era, Cupid often appears as a chubby boy with a bow and arrow.

Goat

Two goats appear marching to the right along the lower band of the sherd. The Roman writer Pliny the Elder advised goat dung flavoured with saffron as a remedy for gout.

Bird


We’re not sure what type of bird this is. Could it be a curious cuckoo?

Author: Dan Robertson, Curator of Local History & Archaeology