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     Archaeologia Cantiana -  Vol. 103  1986  page 241

The Roman Pottery Kiln at New Ash Green
By Jason Monaghan and Ted Connell

The Romano-British pottery kiln was excavated by the Fawkham and Ash Archaeological Group in 1976. The site is situated on alluvial deposits amidst a region where the subsoil is normally Clay-with-flints. The kiln was adjacent to a ditch system related to the Ash villa. The fact that it was relegated to the very edge of a ditch suggests that the establishment it was associated with was primarily devoted to agriculture rather than being a specialised pottery production centre. In this respect, the location of the kiln is very similar to that of the six Mucking kilns.6
The firing chamber was roughly circular and approximately 75 cm. in diameter, with a kiln floor some 25 cm. below ground surface. It was of semi-sunken type with a permanent clay 'bollard' style pedestal (A)7 (Fig. 2). This central support does not seem to have been sufficiently high, because at some stage in the life of the kiln, the pedestal top was raised by the addition of blocks of ragstone (B). Mrs. V.G. Swan has examined these and suggested that they might be fragments of a kick-wheel. The structure had been fired at least once before the modification was made. It is possible that its purpose was to improve the flow of hot air around the pots, this perhaps having been impeded by the build-up of debris around the pedestal.
   Just below ground level, the kiln wall was partially lined with broken tile (C). This gives the only indication of what kiln furniture was employed. It is probable that the tile served as a ledge to support further pieces which would bridge the void between pedestal and kiln wall. The height of these fragments in relation to the pedestal indicates that they date to the time its top was raised by the addition of the kick-wheel. It is possible that the modifications effectively converted the single chamber, bollard-style kiln into a dual chamber with temporary floor as seen at Upchurch and elsewhere.8
   The structure was pierced by a hole (D) perpendicular to its main axis (O-O). This does not seem to have been functional so may be the result of damage. If so, this damage occurred during the lifetime of the kiln as its interior was burned. The fragmentary remains of a leather-hard base of a dish were found amongst the ashen infill of the chamber (E).
   6 M.U. Jones and W.J. Rodwell, The Romano-British Pottery Kilns at Mucking’, Essex Archaeology and History, Third Series, v (1973), 13-47.
   7 V.G. Swan The Roman Pottery Kilns of Britain, London 1984, Fig. XVII
   8 Ibid., Fig. IX.

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