I'm not a specialist in Roman pottery, but I've seen enough of it to get an image what a Roman table may have looked like. I've also eaten from the replica of Roman tableware in restaurants that serve Roman dishes. Which make for some interesting taste experiences, but that's another topic. (And no, stuffed dormouse was not on the menu, lol.)
The terra sigillata style Roman pottery was a mass product; shards of it can be found pretty much everywhere the Romans stayed for longer than an hour, and trade spread it even outside the spheres of Roman influence.
Some terra sigillata (Saalburg Museum)
What struck me as an interesting variation when I visited the museum in the Saalburg Fortress
was another shelf with larger pots which were decorated with faces. I filed them under the Odd Things Roman category and pretty much forgot about them. Until I today came across a post in Adrian Murdoch's Bread and Circuses
blog, linking to an obituary
of Jill Braithwaite, an archaeologist specialising in those face pots.
Face pots can be found all over the Roman empire in the wake of the movements of the army. The Saalburg displays are finds from the area. Turns out they have nothing to do with food storage (like the amphorae
also displayed in the museum).Face pots (Saalburg Museum)
Obviously, at least some of those pots are connected with cremation burials. Sometimes, remains of human cremations have been found, and some pots were clearly located in cemeteries. The tradition stems from Italian burials where a number of pots display the face of Charon. It seems that the types of faces, often leering and grotesque, became more variable with further distribution, and local styles developed.
Another interesting aspect Mrs Braithwaite was exploring is the discovery that the style of those pots did not disappear from an area after the army left but lingered on in the civilian settlements. Someone else will now have to research this aspect further.