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

The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 4  page 130
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

   The supply of mortaria to east Kent underwent similar changes to those described in west Kent (4.IV.2). Mid- to late third-century examples of the probably indigenous oxidised ware have been recovered from Canterbury (Williams 1947, fig. 8, no. 12; Jenkins 1952, nos. 27 and 30), and it is highly likely that some vessels from other sites, such as the complete ‘hammer-head’ flanged example from the hypocaust flue on the Wye Harville site (unpublished; information from J. Bradshaw) and many of the 114 examples of ‘Kent’ mortaria cited by Hartley (1968, Table 1) from Richborough, belonged to this period. Two pale pink/white sandy pendant-flange-and-bead vessels from Canterbury, of a type probably manufactured in southern Britain or on the Continent (Hartley 1981, nos. 382—5, 387), may be ascribed to the mid-third century (Jenkins 1952, nos. 24 and 26). Nene Valley buff ware mortaria, with characteristic ironstone trituration grit and reeded-flange or ‘hammer-head’-flange rims (Hartley 1960, fig. 3, nos. 10—11), and Oxfordshire white ware mortaria with pink and clear quartz trituration grit, are both widespread in east Kent in the later third century. The former is more common in east than west Kent on present evidence, being found at Canterbury (e.g. Jenkins 1952, nos. 23 and 31, the latter in a fourth-century context), Richborough, and Birchington. Oxfordshire white wares of mid- to late third-century date (Young 1977a, Types M17—21) have a wider distribution, including the civitas capital, all four Saxon Shore forts and the Wingham aisled building (unpublished). It is possible that these imported mortaria were marketed mainly to higher status sites, in the latter case at least in the third century. However, body sherds and the third- to fourth-century form M22 (ibid.; this form is mainly fourth century in date) in Oxfordshire white ware have been recovered from other sites (see Appendix 3). There is insufficient evidence to refine the period of introduction of these two wares to east Kent beyond a ‘mid- to late 

third-century’ range. As in west  Kent, it is conceivable that the Oxfordshire white ware began to circulate in the east before colour-coated ware from the same industry achieved a market share of more than modest proportions. The latter ware was also manufactured in mortaria forms, broadly derived from late Central and East Gaulish Drag. 43 (perhaps fortuitously) and Drag. 45 types (Young 1977a, Types C97—100). The ‘Drag. 45’ derivatives, produced from the mid-third century onwards, appear to have been used in east Kent, if not in the west (where positive evidence is lacking), before the end of the third century (Frere 1970, fig. 11, no. 28). Hartley (1973a, fig. 6) notes a group of sites in east Kent from which mortaria of the Mancetter-Hartshill industry (1973b) have been recovered. To these may be added Port Lympne (Cunliffe 1980, fig. 27, no. 2, illustration published inverted). Mrs. Hartley places the six Richborough examples in the fourth century (1968).
   The comments on amphorae importation given above (4.IV.2) apply also to east Kent. At the time of writing, nothing is known of later Roman importation to east Kent; it is to be hoped that Arthur’s report on the amphorae from Canterbury (Arthur 1986) will clarify the situation.

4. The Coarse Wares of Central-Northern Kent

The pottery from this region exhibits a high degree of similarity with both east and west Kent, as is reflected in Jaccard’s correlation coefficients (see below). The dating of sites is tentative, but the presence of sherds of Oxfordshire red colour-coated ware (including C26, a form introduced to the repertoire c. A.D. 270 (Young 1977a)) in two pits and of Oxfordshire white ware mortaria suggest that domestic occupation continued at least into the final quarter of the third century at Brenley Corner, alongside the possible temple or shrine the coin suite from which

Page 130

Page 129       Back to Chapter 4       Contents Page         Page 131

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