In Britain this distinctive type of Roman pottery is termed 'samian', while on the Continent it is known as 'terra sigillata', which translates literally from the Latin as 'stamped earth'. This is because the bright red pottery is decorated with human, animal and floral figures as well as geometric shapes. Sometimes, as in this excellent example, the potter's name or workshop name is also impressed onto the bowl.
As indicated by the partial stamp 'CINNAM', this bowl was made by the potter Cinnamus, who is known to have been working at the Lezoux workshop in Central Gaul (France) during the 2nd Century AD. This bowl may have graced the table of a Roman officer as these types of vessel are thought to have predominantly belonged to high status individuals.
This object from the collection of the Hunterian Museum was selected by Louisa Hammersley, postgraduate student at the Department of Archaeology, University of Glasgow. Louisa says "I chose this object because it represents an excellent example of specialised decorated pottery from the Roman period. The inclusion of the potter's name is fascinating and one can imagine the craftsman at work on the potter's wheel."