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ready to drown the inquirer, who demanded a cui bono for all his patient accumulations, and even so your old antiquary had his Roman invasion, which amply sufficed to account for every tumulus, kist-vaen, celt, or torque, that excited his veneration by its rarity and age.
Now, however, that we are learning to read a still older history by means of archäology, and no longer deen it necessary annually to call up Agricola and Galgacus, and fight over again the old battle of Mons Grampius on a new Kaim of Kimprunes, we are in danger of as greatly under estimating the value of Roman antiquities as they were before overrated. There is so much to attract us in the dim mystery and the remoteness of the eras to which Egyptian and Assyrian antiquities pertain, that we are apt, at the least, to treat the Romans as Prior's learned lady did:—who
Kindly talked at least three hours,
The most marked char ter of the Roman, in comparison with the remoter periods, which relate to British relics of native origin, is its definiteness. We deal with inscriptions, votive altars, coins, medals, and other intelligible evidences, whose chronology scarcely admits of dispute, while in many cases we are able to appeal to the writings of contemporary historians, some of whom themselves visited our shores, and reared the monuments we anew investigate. This definiteness of character distinguishes even the pottery of the Roman period from the cinerary urns, and other fictile vessels that preserve to us
the ruder evidences of human art, which were displayed by our British ancestry, ere the first Roman beheld the white cliffs of Albion. In the Celtic and early British pottery, found in native tumuli, we find indeed the rude sun-dried urn, the half-baked, hand-made vase, destitute of ornament or any symmetrical beauty, and lastly the well turned vase, with its variety of chevron and other incised ornaments, each indicating different periods, and a progress both in refinement and mechanical skill. But when we turn our attention to the fictile ware, fabricated under the influence of Roman civilization, we find it not only characterized by a more refined taste and by greater elegance both in form and details, but in very many cases it bears the maker's name, accompanied by marks or other characteristics, leading us to infer both the probable date and place of manufacture.
It is a well established fact, that extensive potteries existed in various parts of England of the Romano-British period. Several have been discovered with the potter's kilns complete, the furnaces sufficiently perfect to show the mode of burning, and with numerous fragments, and some few whole specimens of the pottery manufactured in them. Mr. Akerman, in his Archaeological Index, gives an account of several discovered near Peterborough, extending for several miles along the banks of the Neu, and its tributary streams. The mode of constructing the kilns, and the process of packing and firing them is detailed with great minuteness in a communication by Mr. Artis, in the second volume of the Journal of the British Archæological Association. The most extensive Anglo-Roman pottery yet discovered, however, is at Upchurch, in Kent. A long and straggling creek of the river Medway makes its way through a marsh to the village of Upchurch, and here an immense quantity of Roman pottery of various kinds has been discovered. So fertile is this marsh in fictile relics of Roman art, that
a certain class of Cockney antiquaries, are wont to make up parties to go to these archæological diggings, somewhat like our newer fashioned California excavators.
The mode of search may not be uninteresting to the reader, as a novelty in what Burns styles, “the antiquariau
At low water the explorers set to work, armed with a long stick or metal rod, and poking this into the mud and clay, that forms the bed of the creek, whenever the rod meets with resistance it is almost sure to indicate some specimen of Roman pottery, more or less worth the labour of digging for. This species of archæological investigation, it may be added, not being held in the highest estimation by antiquaries who stand on their dignity, goes among the latter by the name of Pottering!
The pottery found in all these localities, generally consist of two kinds. First, The product of the smother kiln, which occurs in great abundance, and is undoubtedly of native manufacture; and Second, The beautiful red glazed ware, commonly known as Samian ware, which is found only rarely on the sites of the potteries, but abound on the localities of early Roman occupation, such as London, York, and Colchester, and in Scotland at some of the chief stations on the Roman wall.
This latter kind of fictile inanufacture is characterised by so much beauty and variety of design, and such skillful workmanship, that it becomes an interesting inquiry, whether or not we can class it among the native products of the Anglo-Roman period. The term Samian ware, was most probably adopted by antiquaries from the fact that an extensive trade in earthenware was carried on at Samos, and because earthen vessels of red clay, were made there, to which reference is not unfrequently found in ancient writers. Plautus alludes to them, so that this manufactory must have existed at an early period. Pliny likewise mentions Samos as famed for its pottery, but he
also refers to Aretium in Italy, to Saguntum in Spain, and to Pergamos in Asia.
Dr. Fabroni, an Italian antiquary, published, in 1840, a work entitled, “ Descriptions of the ancient fictile vases of Arezzo," the ancient Arretium. The work is illustrated with engravings of a beautiful kind of red-pottery, discovered at Arezzo, resembling our Samian ware, but superior in execution, and more classic in the designs. He also furnishes a copious list of potters' stamps, with engravings of their most marked features. One of the types peculiar to the Arezzo stamps, is a sandal or foot, inclosing the potter's name. One or two specimens have been found at Colchester, and a few in London, with the Arezzo stamp, but they are exceedingly rare, and suffice to indicate that our, so-called Samian Ware, was not brought by the Roman invaders from Italy. The names also differ from those most common in this country, not only individually, but in general character, the latter being frequently semi-barbarous in sound notwithstanding their classic terminations, such as Cobnertus, Dagodubnus, Durinx, and Boiniccus, from the London list, and Cakiufus, Cocurus, Crobiso, and Zapepidius, from the York list. Some of the names are decidedly Gaulish in sound, and the discovery, not only of great quantities of the ware, but of several of the stamps, and some portions of the moulds, in different parts of France, all tend to suggest the probability that we must look there for the site of one important branch of this fine fictile production, if not for the centre from whence it was chiefly distributed among the trans-alpine portions of the Roman empire. A cast for making embossed Samian ware, with the stamp for the name Cobnertus, in the large characters in which it is introduced as part of the ornamental decorations on the outside of vases, was found in the interior of France. The same name precisely similar in type, has been found on a fragment of pottery dug up in London. Various
stamps for impressing potters' names, discovered in different parts of France, have in like manner been found to correspond with the impressions on London ware. While such is the case, the pottery itself abounds in England, and is by no means uncommon at the most important Roman stations in Scotland. The ery disclosed at the Castlecary station, on the line of the wall of Antoninus, during the progress of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Railway in 1841, was found in such great quantities that the cutting was made through fully eighteen feet of rubbish, the debris of the old Roman fort, and including a great mass of the Samian ware.
Many discoveries on this site have proved its importance as a Roman station. In 1769, during the excavation of the neighbouring canal, the remains of a Sudarium were uncovered, and near it a large and beautiful altar dedicated to Fortune, by the second and sixth legions. In 1771 another altar was found, along with a sculptured figure supposed to represent the goddess Fortuna. Gordon also refers to a broken altar found there, inscribed Legio Britannorum, and describes three others, all more or less mutilated, from the same locality. But in addition to these the old Scottish Itinerarium mentions among the discoveries at the same place, an antique brass lamp, and a number of urns of fine red clay; no doubt specimens of the same Samian ware, discovered and recklessly destroyed in 1841. During these recent excavations a very neat inscribed slab was discovered, and is now in the possession of the Earl of Zetland. The abbreviated inscription of which should probably read: Cohortis sextae Decimo Antonio Arati, that is, “A dedication by the 6th Cohort to Decimus Antonius the son of Aratus."
But indeed few localities in Scotland have proved so rich in Roman antiquities as Castlecary. Mr. Buchanan of Glasgow, has in his possession à curious piece of sculpture found there, evidently a relic of Roman art,