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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 3  page 32
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

tempered (Thompson 1982, Map 2; Fig. 20 here) demonstrate the position of the Medway valley at the intersection of fabric ‘style-zones’. Quarry Wood, Loose, and Teston both have mixed assemblages (Pollard 1983a, 58—9), as has the Aylesford cemetery (Thompson 1982, 12). It is a fourth site, however, which provides the most intriguing example of a mixed assemblage in the Medway valley.
   Rochester is located at the lowest crossing point of the Medway at the present day, and a bridge carried the Roman Watling Street across the river. Excavations in 1961 produced a flan mould (for coins?) of ‘Belgic’ type (Chaplin 1962) which unfortunately has not been published, as well as a number of apparently pre-Conquest features including a slight bank-and-ditch alignment (G. Homer pers. comm.). The settlement has been proposed as a ‘tribal focus’ or ‘oppidum’ by Rodwell (1976a, 213, 282), a status cautiously supported by Cunliffe (1978, 92). However, the site possesses all of the qualities listed by Hodder (1979) as befitting a neutral ‘port of trade’ of the first half of the first century A.D.; the possibility that it lay astride a boundary of social and political importance in this period will be examined below.
   Two quite large groups of pottery from the site that produced the coin-mould have been examined by the present author (by kind permission of Mr G. Homer). One group includes a Dressel lB amphora rim, dateable to the mid-late first century B.C. (Peacock 1971, 165), associated with a variety of coarse wares including grog-tempered ware (50 per cent by vessel rim equivalents), flint-tempered ware (15 per cent), grog-and-sand-tempered ware (11 per cent), shelly ware (10 per cent), and ‘glauconite-rich’ ware (1.5 per cent). The latter fabric comprises two recognisable forms: a furrowed bead-rim jar and a bead-nm jar or bowl. Definitive ‘Aylesford-Swarling’ forms comprise only 5 per cent of this assemblage, including a corrugated jar in 

grogged ware and a biconical bowl in flint-and-grog tempered ware in addition to the furrowed vessel, despite the fact that the Aylesford cemetery itself, considered by Stead (1976) to include later first century B.C. material, lay less than 10 km. upstream. The dominant forms are wide-mouth bead-rim vessels and recurved-rim vessels. The complete absence of wheel-thrown sandy wares and Roman-period fine wares suggests that this assemblage can be considered as entirely pre-Conquest in origin. The second group, a mixed first-century A.D. to early second-century A.D. assemblage, included 32 per cent fine grey ware, 24 per cent wheel-thrown sandy wares, 16 per cent shelly wares and 10 per cent ‘flint-and sand’ tempered ware. The absence of grog- and solely flint-tempered ware, as well as of the ‘glauconite-rich’ fabric, is worthy of note in suggesting a decline of these fabrics’ usage during the earlier first century A.D. This phenomenon parallels that postulated with regard to flint-tempered ware in east Kent, but is in clear contrast with the predominant use of grogged ware in the latter region (where they comprise 69 per cent of pottery from pre-Flavian/pre-Conquest deposits at 16 Wailing St., Canterbury, and 39 per cent of pottery from a mid-first to mid-second century A.D. deposit at Rosemary Lane, Canterbury: see Appendix 5 here).


The Claudian conquest of southern and eastern Britain in A.D. 43—47 provides a fixed point in the historical narrative, but is difficult to recognise in the ceramic record. In its wake, it is true, increasingly large volumes of pottery were exported to the burgeoning markets of the new

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