First-century pottery manufacture at Eccles, Kent
by Alec Detsicas
Roman Pottery Studies in Britain and Beyond.
BAR S30 Oxford, 19-36
that Ditch X must have been
filled in some time before this earliest building, certainly by c. A.D. 65. The
samian sherds found with the wasters are all South Gaulish and belong to Forms
18, 24 (stamped MOM) and 29 in a Claudio-Neronian style; they can all be dated
to not later than c. A.D. 65, perhaps earlier.
It would, consequently, appear beyond much doubt that the
pottery-making activity established by this waste deposit must have ceased by
A.D. 65 at the latest, which accords very well with the external dating of the
mortaria in this deposit. How soon this industry began and how long it
continued, it is impossible to say definitively until the whole deposit has been
fully examined and studied; however, early ditches at the villa site contain in
their filling pottery of Claudian date, and it is not improbable that pottery
making began at the kiln site fairly soon after the Roman conquest.
The kiln at this site was used for pottery made locally with Gault
clay which virtually outcrops in this area and is practically free from
intrusions though, clearly, varying amounts of fine sand had been used for
tempering the paste of the vessels made with this clay.
The question of marketing such well made, fully Romanised vessels
cannot be discussed at this juncture, but the forms of the vessels made and
their fabric as well as the preponderance of the Hofheim-type flagons point to a
probable army contract, if not direct military involvement in their manufacture.
I am very indebted to the friends whose assistance at the site made
its excavation possible; to the landowners, Messrs. Reed Paper & Board
(U.K.), Ltd., for allowing our work on their land; to Mrs. K.F. Hartley, for her
kindness in dealing with the mortaria; and to Mr. and Mrs. R. Lowson, who
undertook at short notice the drawing of the pottery for my illustrations. It is
with great pleasure that I also record my debt to my friend John Gillam, to
whose enthusiasm and teaching I owe my entire interest in coarse pottery.