Shipwrecks from Roman times


For countless years Whitstable and Herne Bay fisherman have been catching more than just fish in their nets. Hundreds of shiny red-coloured pottery dishes, many complete and in an excellent state of preservation have been recovered from the seabed.

The pots are Roman Samian ware and were part of the cargoes of at least 3 Roman merchant ships, which either sunk off the coast or jettisoned their cargoes in a storm. The earliest pots date from AD65-85, the majority from AD175-195, and others from the early 3rd century.

The pots became prized items in the homes of fishermen, and were used in Whitstable to make a special kind of Lent pudding - and so the pots and the place where they were found was given the name Pudding Pan! When families emigrated in the 19th and 20th centuries many took the Pudding Pans with them, and so there are examples all over the world from Australia and New Zealand to Canada and the USA.

Visit the museum to see:

  • Displays of Samian ware
  • The Pudding Pan Pie recipe
And find out more about:
  • the potters who made them
  • and the ships that carried them
Shipwrecks from Roman times, samian-ware © Canterbury MuseumsRoman Samian ware including finds from Pudding Pan 2 © Canterbury Museums