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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 5  page 174
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

provenance (e.g. Monaghan 1983), and one is forced to conclude, with Monaghan, that ‘it is best to disregard all work prior to. . . 1954 and start afresh’ (Monaghan 1982, 31; Noel Hume 1954).
   The western part of the north Kent potteries has also suffered at the hands of man. Kiln sites have been recorded in general either in salvage work or rescue excavations in advance of industrial activities (e.g. Jessup 1928; Allen 1954; Catherall 1983) or of tidal erosion (Swan 1984), or during investigations by individuals where enthusiasm in the field has sadly not been matched by that at the desk. John Gillam’s recognition of a black-burnished ware (BB2) tradition strong in northern Britain but emanating from south-eastern potteries (Gillam 1960; 1973; Gillam and Mann 1970) has focused attention on the north-west Kent industry (e.g. Farrar 1973; Williams 1977), whilst Monaghan has taken up the challenge of unravelling the mysteries of ‘Upchurch ware’ and the Medway marshes industry in a broader study of the Upchurch and Thameside industries (Monaghan 1982; 1983; 1987).
   Excavations in south Essex have revealed a number of sites, including Thurrock, Mucking, Orsett, and Billericay (e.g. Drury 1973; Jones and Rodwell 1973; Rodwell 1974, Toller 1980; Goodburn 1978), where pottery akin to the products of the Thameside and Cliffe peninsula was made. Without exception, interim reports alone have been published at the time of writing (Spring 1985); pending full publication of these sites, this history must be accepted as an interim statement.

2. Origins

The earliest known production dates to within later first century B.C. to mid-first century A.D. parameters, the climate of opinion favouring the upper end of this range 

(Noel Hume 1954; Monaghan 1982; Swan 1984). The sites lie on the Upchurch Marshes (Noel Hume 1954; Jackson 1962; 1972/3) and are associated with coarse flint-tempered reduced ware jars often with oblique furrowing. These are broadly contemporary with a hand-made sandy ware found in quantity during trenching for a gas pipeline across Broomhey Farm, Cooling, on the Cliffe peninsula, in 1978. The fabric is hard, and harsh to the touch, sand-gritted with lesser amounts of shell, grog, water-worn gravel, iron ore and mica. It is fired brown or grey, with brown, grey or buff surfaces often patchy in colour. The forms (nos. 1—9; from Pollard forthcoming, d, to be published with a report on excavations by Miles — Miles 1973; Miles and Syddell 1967 — on a neighbouring site). are utilitarian, but the combination of ?knife-trimmed bead rim and rilled body (e.g. nos. 2, 3) is sufficiently distinctive to enable a distribution to be plotted (Fig. 20 "Cooling" sand-and-shell) suggestive of manufacture on the Cliffe peninsula or the Medway marshes. Contacts were extensive enough for one vessel to come to rest at Canterbury (Bennett et al. 1982, no. 296). Shelly wares were produced on the north side of the Thames in the mid- to late first century A.D. (at Mucking: Jones 1973, and Tilbury: Drury and Rodwell 1973) with an exchange area confined in the main to southern Essex (Jones 1972; Fig. 20, Essex ‘graffito’ in the present volume).
   The potteries so far described were essentially household concerns (6.III) making ‘kitchen’ utility wares. A large group of white-slipped vessels, mostly flagons, found on the Medway estuary at Hoo (Blumstein 1956) has been taken to imply a ‘probable pottery kiln nearby’ working in the Claudio-Neronian period (Swan 1984, 403). The vessels represent an intrusive element in local traditions, and immigrant craftsmen may be suspected, as in the Medway valley above Rochester at Eccles (Detsicas 1977a).

Page 174

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