KENT ARCHAEOLOGICAL SOCIETY  -- RESEARCH   Studying and sharing Kent's past      Homepage

The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 4  page 64
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

2. The Coarse Wares of West Kent

The mid-Flavian to Trajanic period witnessed the demise of grog- and shell-tempered wares in west Kent, and the emergence of wheel-thrown sand-tempered wares throughout the area. The rate of change from the use of fabrics that were well-established in the Conquest period to the adoption of wheel-thrown sandy wares is difficult to gauge, owing to the paucity of well-stratified sequences. Moreover, it would appear that in more western parts, notably the Darent, Cray and Ravensbourne valleys, ‘Patch Grove’ ware increased in popularity up to the Trajanic period. Exotic coarse wares include Brockley Hill buff sandy ware, London, Highgate Wood and Alice Holt grey sandy wares.
   The stratigraphic sequence at Southwark allows some valuable information on the development of pottery in this period to be deduced (Tyers and Marsh 1978). Grogged and shell-tempered wares were apparently out of use by the turn of the century, with the exception of storage jars (ibid., forms IIL and IIM) in both fabric types. Sand-tempered ware from a variety of sources virtually monopolised the market in coarse wares. This phenomenon does not seem to be so emphatic on rural sites to the south-east of Southwark, however. Here, shell-tempered wares were undoubtedly little-used after the Flavian period, if at all. ‘Patch Grove’ ware enjoyed its apogee in the late Flavian and Trajanic years, supplying rural sites throughout the area of the Darent valley and westernmost Kent with necked wide-mouth storage jars, carinated-shoulder jars and bowls, S-profile narrow-neck jars and wide-mouth bowls, and bead-rim jars and bowls (nos. 17—21 here). Meates (cf. Pollard 1987, Fabric 73) has dated the ‘Patch Grove’ ware at Lullingstone villa mainly to the Flavian-Trajanic period, considering Antonine occurrences as implicitly residual with the exception of storage jars. These forms are 

also abundant in the upper Darent valley site of Otford (Charne building site, unpublished except for an interim note: Meates 1954), and in the Bromley West Wickham area of what is now south-east London (Philp 1973). Shelly wares are absent at Otford Charne, though present at the Otford ‘Progress’ villa site, which was founded at a somewhat earlier date in the first century A.D. (Appendix 1); they are also confined to two sherds on a late first/early second century A.D. plus site at Bromley Oakley House (Philp 1973), from which nearly 300 ‘Patch Grove’ ware and 350 ‘Romanised’ sandy and fine wares were recovered. The total assemblage from an early second to mid-fourth century site at Joyden’s Wood, in the lower Cray valley, included some 10 per cent ‘Patch Grove’ ware (by vessel rim equivalents) but only storage jars (as no. 16) in shelly ware. Further east both ‘Patch Grove’ and shelly wares, storage jars excepted, were little used in this period: a rural site at Greenhithe (Detsicas 1966) included a Trajanic-early Hadrianic pit fill in which just over 2 per cent and 10 per cent, respectively, of these wares were recovered. The evidence of residual material at Springhead and Rochester (Appendix 5) suggests that, as at Greenhithe, shell and shell-sand wares may have continued in production somewhat later than in western districts, being superseded by sandy wares alone.
   The locally produced sandy wares of this period comprise for the most part bead-rim jars and cordoned necked jars and bowls (nos. 91—94 here), following the formal traditions of grog-tempered and shell-tempered wares. These occur throughout west Kent; one kiln site, at Chalk (Allen 1954) is known, but this may date to the Hadrianic-Antonine period on the grounds of the BB2 vessels a1so produced there (see below). The Highgate Wood industry, in north London, produced bead-rim and short-flange-rim jars and bowls in grogged and, less frequently, sandy wares up to the end of the first century (Brown and Sheldon 1974, Phase II).

Page 64

Page 63     Back to Chapter 4     Contents Page         Page 65

For details about the advantages of membership of the Kent Archaeological Society   click here

Back to Publications On-line               Back to Research Page            Back to Homepage                 

Kent Archaeological Society is a registered charity number 223382
© Kent Archaeological Society 2004

This website is constructed by enthusiastic amateurs. Any errors noticed by other researchers will be to gratefully received so that we can amend our pages to give as accurate a record as possible. Please send details too