Provincial Pottery Production

"Pie-crust" decorated cup
Early 2nd century A.D.
Trier, Germany

"Motto" beaker, white slip decoration
Early 4th century A.D.
St. Albans, England

The emperor Augustus' stimulation of the pottery-making industry during the last decade of the 1st century B.C. was extremely effective. The kilns of Arretium were much expanded, and the importation of the skilled potters from Asia Minor, greatly improved ware quality. Within just a few decades, however, the pottery workshops of southern Gaul became dominant, and in subsequent decades the needs of the army led to the growth of major pottery-making centers close to the Rhine frontier.

Illustrated here are two kinds of pottery beakers that were particularly popular in the northwestern provinces in their day, though an appreciable number of other methods of decoration, such as red slip-coating, barbotine work, molded-relief and mica-dusting, were introduced over the centuries before the collapse of the Western Empire at the end of the 4th century A.D.