Terra sigillata

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Terra Sigillata or "sealed earth", which is sometimes called "Samian ware", and "Arretine ware" are slip-glazed ceramic vessels. A slip glaze is a glaze or surface finish made of a suspension of very fine clay particles. The finish is polished to a fine luster before firing. When fired at the correct temperature, the ceramic takes on the distinctive, somewhat metal-like luster that is the distinguishing feature of this type of ceramic.

Pottery of this type is known from across the Roman world. It was a factory-made item and a number of manufacturing centers are known. Fragments bearing maker's marks can be used to date archaeological sites.


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