First-century pottery manufacture at Eccles, Kent
by Alec Detsicas
Roman Pottery Studies in Britain and Beyond.
BAR S30 Oxford, 19-36
9. Very similar
in fabric and paste to no. 5, above, pitted; two concentric rings enclose a
smaller one containing the same potter's stamp, from the same die, but no
rouletted band around it.
10. Grey, smooth fabric, without sand, pitted.
Though only no. 5 shows obvious distortion in firing, the pitting betrays
over-firing and clearly demonstrates that these platters were made at the site,
some obviously by a hitherto unidentified potter. It would also seem certain
that whereas firing and burnishing were relied upon to produce the appearance of
terra nigra, coating with red slip was resorted to in imitation of terra rubra,
possibly in order to mask the sandy texture of these platters.
iii. Colour-coated Wares (Fig. 3.1)
Colour-coated cups and bowls, which form a substantial part of the wasters
found, were made in the same creamy fabric, with virtually sand-free clay; most
of the sherds recovered are wasters, some badly distorted or over-fired, lacking
any colour-coating, others still retaining varying parts of their colouring. It
would seem that red was the main colour used, though there are some wasters with
dark brown-red, rarely dark green, colour-coating. The rims are generally
everted, occasionally very slightly beaded; no true cornice rims have been
isolated. Many rim-sherds are slightly recessed for lids, three colour-coated
sherds of which have so far been identified.
The colour-coated wares from the Eccles site consist of cups and
bowls in plain, rough-cast or rusticated fabrics, though there are also a few
rouletted sherds. Most of these wares had been discarded after coating and their
wet condition has made it very difficult to wash the soil adhering to them
without risking the loss of their colour-coating. Nos. 11-33 illustrate a
representative series of the forms concerned; however, it should eventually be
possible to arrive at more complete profiles than shown in Fig. 3.1.
rim-sherds from bowls with everted rims, all red colour-coated; nos. 12 and 13
are rough-cast with coarse sand or clay particles. 11 PICTURE
15 and 16 PICTURE
almost certainly belong to the same bowl, in rusticated
fabric and red colour-coating. The rustication was first applied as thin patches
of clay, smoothed with a brush, as clearly indicated by marks on some of the
sherds from this bowl, and then drawn out from the body of the vessel. Other
wasters show that these patches of clay were already colour-coated before their
application to pots, which makes it clear that some at least of the colour-coats
were brush-applied rather than the result of dipping.
17 and 18
PICTURE are two of the so-called 'raspberry' cups. No. 17 only
has been completely restored, but it is not certain whether it had a second
handle; in fairly thin fabric with traces of red colour-coating surviving, this
cup has a very slight everted rim. No. 18, again red colour-coated, has a
heavier, slightly beaded rim. The 'raspberry' palettes are of identical size in
both cases (c. 12 mm dia.), but other sherds have larger palettes (c. 17 mm dia.).
There are also fragments of rim-less 'raspberry' cups with a slight cordon below
the top of the cup demarcating the zone below which the 'raspberry' palettes
have been applied.