Samian Production in Germania Inferior

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At the end of the 1st Century BC, an innovative ceramic industry using moulds, double-chamber and muffle kilns was developed in Italy. It conquered markets in many Roman provinces in the Mediterranean. Also the huge Samian production centre in southern Gaule achieved a similar commercial success. Already at the end of the 1st Century AD, new Samian manufacturers established themselves in Eastern Gaule. In the 2nd Century AD, similar production sites were started in the Raetia and the Germanic provinces. Apparently, province boundaries didn't play a role in the distribution of Samian.

There were two manufacturing sites for decorated Samian in the province of Germania Superio: Aachen-Schönforst und Sinzig.




A Roman pottery installation was discovered during construction work in the Aachen suburb of Schönforst. Kild-Pads, misfired pots as well as several vessels made in moulds are clear pointers towards Samian production on this site. There were no moulds found. The potters Lucius, Laetus and Venustus could be identified by their stamps as makers of plain ware.

There is nothing known about the distribution of Samian made in Aachen.



Nearby the southern end of the province, not far away from the rivulet Vinxtbach, there was a pottery of Samian situated nearby Sinzig. The documentation of the excavations carried out in 1912/1913 AD has been lost during the turmoil's of the world wars following. We can deduce from the still existing moulds, misfired vessels etc. that the decorated Samian can be classified into two groups. .
117 figure types of the first Sinzig group are coming from the Trier manufactories in nearby Gallia Belgica. They are connected with the mould maker names of Virtus and Primigenius. Presumably this is the younger group. The second group, most likely the older one, has many identical or similar figure types in common with the East Gaulish manufacturing site at La Madeleine. The only name known in this second group is known from a Graffito in a mould giving the name of Lipuca.

The distribution area of decorated Samian from Sinzig is not only expectedly down the Rhine, but also Rhine upwards in the Wetterau. Its considerable presence there is a clear sign that also the more expensive transport routes river upwards were not avoided. This is most likely related to the distribution pattern of Trier Samian, which were marketed in much larger quantities in the same area. Therefore, Sinzig was not only closely related to the Trier manufactories in technological sense, but also in its commercial whereabouts..




Mould finds outside the manufactories in Germania Inferior

Only one mould fragment has been found outside the kiln site in Provinz Germania Inferior. It concerns a mould fragment from the workshop of Alpinus from Trier (List). The findspot Neuss is within the normal distribution area of Trier Samian.


Allard Mees


Site Production site mould / potter   Literature
Neuss Trier / Alpinius Müller 1971, 369


Site lists / distribution maps of the production sites based on:


Mayer 1934, 102ff.


Fischer 1969, 167ff.




Ch. Fischer, Die Terra-sigillata-Manufaktur von Sinzig am Rhein. Rheinische Ausgrabungen 5 (Düsseldorf 1969).

O.E. Mayer, Eine neue Sigillata-Töpferei in Aachen - Schönforst. Germania 18, 1934, 102-109.