Festschrift for Brenda Dickinson


Dating and interpreting the past in the western Roman Empire. Essays in honour of Brenda Dickinson, edited by David Bird

Brenda Dickinson’s name is very well known to students of Roman Britain as an expert on the red-gloss pottery known as samian ware. She is the expert on the so-called potters’ stamps found on many samian vessels and is currently bringing to a close the formidable task of publishing (in no less than nine volumes) the results of over 40 years study of these stamps carried out in association with the late Brian Hartley.

The Roman Research Trust grant was made to support the publication of a collection of 33 papers in Brenda’s honour, written by friends and colleagues in Britain and abroad. While many of the papers concern samian ware, study of the pottery is also used to illuminate many aspects other than just the pots, their decoration and their production. These include dining, burial practices (and costs), activities in the arena, medical practice, reasons for marking pottery and other materials with graffiti and makers’ marks, potters’ rituals, and even plate-spinning entertainers. Other subjects include singing, sparrows as pets, the ‘British’ speeches in Tacitus, possible pottery ovens and what happens when you consider the implications of the limited lifespan of timber buildings.

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