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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 1  page 2
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

of a single settlement (usually a town or a fort, for these tend to provide both the greatest quantity and the widest diversity of material) in both cases involving analysis of supply and demand: the industry’s ‘marketing area’ and the settlement’s ‘industry catchment area’ (i.e. the range of industries represented in the settlement’s pottery assemblage.) The bias towards fine ‘table’ wares has been overcome, and these are now studied in conjunction with the coarsest wares and those of modest quality. These developments have been greatly facilitated by the advance made in petrological analysis (e.g. Peacock 1970, 1977a) and the application of techniques of spatial analysis (Hodder and Orton 1976; Clarke 1977) of sites and artefacts. However, the pioneering studies of John Gillam into the pottery of the northern military zone (Gillam 1957, 1960) were achieved without such aids.
   Gillam’s approach was basically one of painstaking visual comparison of forms and fabrics, and this method, if pursued with the diligence and common-sense that are hall-marks of Gillam’s work, can still pay valuable dividends (Peacock 1977a, 25). If Gillam’s seminal papers on Roman pottery in northern Britain (1957, 3rd edition 1970; 1973) have provided the inspiration for the present author’s research, then the detailed investigations into specific industries and pottery types that have been conducted over the last two decades provide the indispensable framework. In this context acknowledgement must be recorded of the value of the work of Farrar (1973), Fulford (1973a, 1975a), Greene (1979a), K.F. Hartley (1963, 1968, 1973a, 1977), Hull (1963), Lyne and Jefferies (1979), D.F. Williams (1977), and Young (1977a) to the study of the ceramics of south-east Britain. The debt owed to many other authors will be apparent in the body of the present study.

In a recent review of the objectives of ceramic studies in Roman and medieval archaeology (Peacock 1977a), special emphasis was placed on ‘the use of pottery as a tool for studying early economics and commerce’. The author expresses with enthusiasm the potential of investigating. ‘such humble yet fundamental matters on the organisation of production and distribution’ of locally-produced wares (ibid.). Two papers in the same volume as this review (Loughlin 1977; D.F. Williams 1977) serve to illustrate this potential in the field of Romano-British studies, while Vince (1977a) focuses upon the medieval period with equal effectiveness.
   The overall objective of the study is the elucidation of the whole network of pottery production, importation and distribution within a spatially defined area over the whole of the Roman period, in so far as the available data allow this. The study of continuity and change over time has been an integral part of the research, and to this end the periods of the late Iron Age and the fifth century have also been taken account of; in the main, it is the period from the mid-first century to the early fifth century A.D. that has been the focus of attention.
   The extraction of the information that pottery can provide on the economic practices of Roman Britain leaves a considerable residue of information on other aspects of the study of this period; the fields of art history, religion, diet and technology have barely been touched on. The relationship between pottery assemblage variation and the differing functions, social status and prosperity of areas within settlements has not been pursued in depth.
The major portion of this study is devoted to the description of the pottery itself and of the industries that produced it within the study region. The aim of the descriptive chapters is to

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