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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 4  page 126
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

   The termination in the trade with Baetica in amphorae carrying olive oil, possibly a result of Severus’ confiscations following his victory over Albinus (Callender 1965, xxix; but cf. Todd 1981, 168 and 191), brought an end to large-scale importation of amphorae to Britain. However, Peacock (1977d, e) has recently demonstrated that some late Roman amphorae do occur in Britain, including Tunisian vessels and Mediterranean vessels of uncertain origin. Sherds of the latter have been recorded by Peacock from the Chalk ‘cellar’ (1977d). The tumulus burial at Holborough, Snodland (Jessup et al. 1954) included five amphorae, one of which may be of South Spanish origin (Callender 1965, 47—8); the pottery from the burial included late second-to fourth- and mid to late fourth-century dishes in BB1 (Jessup et al., 1954, fig. 14, nos. 2, 4 and 7) and glass vessel fragments also of a possible third-century date. It is to be hoped that the amphorae will be subjected to petrological analysis in an effort to shed some light on their origins (see Peacock 1977e).

3. The Coarse Wares of East Kent

The study of pottery of the mid- to late third century in east Kent leans heavily on the evidence from Canterbury. The Saxon Shore forts at Reculver, Dover and Port Lympne, other occupation sites, and earlier phases at the first three sites have so far produced very little in the way of published third-century assemblages, although a large body of third-century pottery is undoubtedly incorporated in the Richborough reports in unstratified or disturbed deposits (for example, the fills of the mid third-century triple-ditched fortlet — Bushe Fox 1929; 1932). Other sites are dateable solely by parallels with Canterbury or with reference to the widest possible date-ranges of imported wares; of these sites, a third-century group may be recognised at Wingham,

and wells including material of this date from Birchington (Wells 2 and 15, unpublished). The following survey is effectively one of the pottery from Canterbury, with some reference being made to material from other sites.
   The bulk of the pottery from the middle years of the century shows little change from that in use in the first two decades (4.III.3). The main developments comprise the introduction of the bead-and-flange dish in BB2, and the increasing use of BB1, probably from Dorset, in a volume suggestive of a regular trade rather than the occasional importation that took place in late second to early third century. Some change in the supply of mortaria is also discernible, involving the cessation of importation of Colchester and possibly also ‘Surrey-Sussex’ wares, and the acquisition of Nene Valley and Oxfordshire vessels from perhaps the third quarter of the century, supplementing the probably indigenous oxidised flint-trituration-gritted ware. Towards the end of the third century a hand-made, grog-tempered ware begins to appear which is in all probability the product of local, scattered household industries (cf. 6.I). A second indigenous ware of this kind of production unit may be represented by a BB1 fabric that first appears in the very late third or early fourth century, and is visually distinguishable from designated Dorset (Wareham/Poole Harbour) ware. Dorset-type BB1 continued to be imported, however, and represents the only cooking ware for which a non-Kent derivation is certain that is present in mid- to late third-century deposits in Canterbury. ‘Swan’s neck’ pendant-bead-rim jars occur very rarely, and may be imports from north-west Kent or Essex. The high-fired grog- and grog-and-sand tempered ‘Native Coarse Ware’ may have declined in usage during the second half of the century, but sherds are found in many fourth-century assemblages suggesting that production did not entirely cease.

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