First-century pottery manufacture at Eccles, Kent
by Alec Detsicas
Roman Pottery Studies in Britain and Beyond.
BAR S30 Oxford, 19-36
19. with a well formed
everted rim, has exceptionally deep brown-red colour-coating, which may be
nearer to the intended finished colouring of these cups and bowls rather than
the lighter red colour of their vast majority.
20. badly distorted, is similar in shape to no. 12, but with a less pronounced
rim; red colour-coating.
Nos. 21-33 are the series of bases, from cups and bowls, some roughcast with
fine or coarse sand or clay (no. 32 is rough-cast internally as well); no. 33
has no surviving colour-coating, but its fabric suggests that it may be the base
for no. 19, above.
iv. Flagons (Figs. 3.2-3.3)
Sherds belonging to flagons and jugs were by far the largest group in the waste
material from the kiln, naturally enough in view of the size of the vessels and
the sturdiness of their necks and bases; even so, the quantity of the wasters
involved suggests that this kiln may have specialised in the production of such
vessels. So far, only one small flagon (no. 64) has been completely
reconstructed because it was found practically complete, apart from being
broken. Bases, which are not illustrated, show little variation, except in size.
The fabric of these pots shows little variation, too; it is usually
hard and non-porous and consists of well fired, homogeneous clay, tempered with
varying admixture of sand - occasionally, flint particles also show through the
fabric, but these are rather impurities in the clay than intended for tempering.
The colour variations are the result of firing and grade from white and
off-white to cream, buff, pink and light red; no certain evidence for the use of
slip has so far been found.
The forms derive, by and large, from the well known Hofheim type of
flagon, though the rim-profiles show great variety from the virtually straight,
everted rim of no. 34 to the more curved and hooked profiles; though it is not
doubted that variations are bound to occur in manufacture, it is clear
nevertheless that some at least of these variations were intentional. There are
also several fragments from disc rim flagons, others with pinched, frilled or
screw necks. Nos.34-71 illustrate the range of variations, nos. 70 and 71 being
intermediate between flagons and jugs.
Flagon neck in hard, creamy, fairly sandy fabric. This is nearest to the Hofheim model, with a very slightly curved profile which is also very
Picture The fabric of this neck is rather buff than cream, owing to over-firing
indicated by much pitting of the outer surface; its rim-profile is much more
curved than the previous neck.
Picture A small neck, somewhat distorted, in creamy fabric and buff core; the rim is
undercut and the inside of the lip recessed.
Picture Cream fabric, buff core, badly pitted, its handle distorted. The rim is
slightly undercut, and this flagon looks like a smaller version of no. 33,