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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 6  page 181
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988




Peacock, on the basis of extensive ethnographical research, has provided a series of models of production systems that might have operated in the Roman Empire (1982, 6—11). These are, starting with the simplest, household production, household industry, individual workshop, nucleated workshops, and manufactory. Two variants are also proposed, estate production and official production, the latter including military output. Three of these models are of particular relevance to pottery production in Roman Kent: household industry, individual workshop and nucleated workshops. Their characteristics as defined by Peacock may be summarised as follows (see also van der Leeuw 1977).
   Household Industry: A secondary, part-time, non-essential means of livelihood, commonly associated with impoverished farming communities seeking to supplement their income and practised in the spare time that the farming calendar allowed. Any aids to production will be simple; for example, a turntable and oven or crude kiln, and permanent industrial sheds are unnecessary. Products tend to be coarse kitchen wares, often of a high resilience and are aimed at all types of community within a confined area which may

nonetheless be of considerable size. Long-distance marketing is also sometimes practised.
   Individual Workshop: A major source of subsistence, essential to the livelihood of the potter but often only part-time. The use of kilns and potter’s wheels is usual. Permanent industrial sheds need not be built, although it is usual for a wheel to be housed under cover (Rudling 1986). Rural tenant potter-farmers may have manned the bulk of individual workshops, working singly or with a small group of assistants in a sedentary existence, and perhaps adopting an itinerant mode in order to serve dispersed communities and produce cumbersome or very low-value items without incurring inordinately high transport costs. The distribution from any one kiln site is usually extremely restricted, and may be oriented towards the most lucrative markets. In the Romano-British context ‘grey wares’ are particularly characteristic products, along with storage jars and ceramic building materials. Fine wares are seldom produced. A rural location is usual, as the existence of a large population nucleus is likely to encourage aggregation.
   Nucleated Workshops: The primary means of subsistence, any other activities being wholly subsidiary. The highest available technology will be exploited and drying sheds may be built in

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