Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Samian Ware Pottery

La Graufesenque Site Archeologique Millau  was a dream come true. We knew there were Samian ware archaeological sites near La Cadenede in Millau where we were staying. We also knew that the odds of actually slipping away to explore one of these sights with just a week in the area, were slim. We not only got to the museum in Millau village center, but we also got an amazing tour of the actual dig site!

I'm still overwhelmed with glee!
There are a TON of pictures so brace yourself.

Here's a gorgeous piece of Samian ware from 100 - 200 AD. Not a reproduction! An actual intact piece from that time. Second to third century AD!!!! It's mind boggling! Our Canadian history is so very short in comparison. 

The wonderful Lady who worked at the site tossed this in our hands and said, "Ce n'est pas un cadeau." Or, This is not a gift. I think she knew I was just on the verge of happy tears the whole visit. I still can't believe she let us hold this beautifully restored piece of history. 

James and I are very big fans of Sir Tony Robinson's 
We've been dreaming about seeing an actual dig for years.

This is the dig site. It was excavated in the 1970's and has been maintained as a teaching site.
This is what we saw as we came out of the back of the old monastery where the site is located.

This section was an alter.

This long narrow channel brought water to the potters.

This was the kiln.

Here is a reproduction (with actual Samian ware) kiln. It was in the Museum at village center Millau.

This is why I LOVE Samian ware soooo much! These are stamps that were used to create consistent designs in the molds (next picture) they made to create the pots.

This is the inside of one of the molds made using stamps like the ones pictured above. I am seriously going to try to reproduce this technique in the very near future. 

This method of stamping and mold making, made it possible for them to reproduce unthinkable amounts of pots all with exquisite detail! These things can be found all over Europe.

Here is a batch they found in a midden or refuse ditch. They fused together in the kiln. It gives you an idea of just how many pots they were producing. 

This is a shot of the refuse pile. Billions of shards.

Even walking the paths entering the site had shards of pot mixed into the gravel. 

So much to take in!
This little guy helped explain things, along with Leslie and Patrick who we will be forever grateful to for taking us and translating for us. This was a bucket list event. I will never forget it.
Thanks for letting me share it with you.


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