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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 4  page 138
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

   A high range of correlation coefficients obtained from applying Jaccard’s measure to pairs of sites taking Canterbury, Rochester, Radfield and Ospringe into consideration has been recorded. With the exception of a similarity figure of 63 per cent for Ospringe:Radfield, all six permutations of pairs show a degree of similarity of 66.6 per cent or higher. The figures for Brenley Corner are markedly lower, between 48 per cent and 59 per cent, possibly a reflection of the hypothesised termination of domestic occupation on that site before the end of the third century. Canterbury has the largest range of fabrics and forms, as befits the civitas capital, but it should also be borne in mind that the city has been investigated by archaeologists more intensively than the other four sites in this survey, notwithstanding the excavation of the Ospringe cemetery. The pottery assemblages are qualitatively more or less subsets of the total Canterbury assemblage. There are quantitative differences between Rochester and Canterbury (Appendix 5) that are interpreted as indicating two marketing zones for coarse pottery, but these zones overlap, with the result that to some extent wares from north-west Kent were distributed throughout east Kent and vice versa, with the central northern region acquiring pottery from both sources as well as indigenous products of widely fashionable types and exotic imports with a county-wide distribution.


1. The Fine Wares

The fine pottery of late Roman Britain, both indigenous and imported, has been the subject of intensive research over the past decade, encompassing studies of individual industries (e.g. Fulford 1975a; Young 1977a; 

Galliou et al. 1980) and of the competitive interaction of those industries (e.g. Fulford 1977a, 1977b, 1978c; Green 1977). It is now recognised that a wide variety of fine wares from numerous sources were current in Kent in this highly competitive trade, of which Oxfordshire wares were the predominant participant.
   The main features of fine pottery developments in this period in Kent are the demise of local grey wares; increase in the volume of Oxfordshire wares; an increase in the importation of fine wares from the Continent, and the diversity of Romano-British sources represented. A high degree of standardisation at a generalised level can be detected, with red-surfaced open bowls, dark tall-necked beakers, and red or dark dishes, flagons and flasks predominating, white bowls and beakers providing the bulk of the remaining styles.
   The decline in Upchurch Marshes fine ware production may have begun in the third century, despite or perhaps because of the evident resurgence of the Romano-British fine pottery industries (Fulford 1975a, 109—11). The increasing availability of colour-coated wares from Oxfordshire, coupled with the established importation of Nene Valley wares, may have squeezed the Upchurch industry to the point where competitive productivity was no longer feasible. It may be significant that many of the late third- to fourth-century fine grey ware vessels are necked jars of quite large sizes (nos. 174—5 here), forms which were not in direct competition with most of the imports. Flasks and tall-necked bulbous beakers (e.g. Jenkins 1950, nos. 61, 71) may also have continued into the fourth century, along with ‘Drag. 38’ and flange-rim segmental bowls (cf. nos. 162—4 here); no new forms are encountered, however. Fine grey wares are absent from the fourth-century soil accumulation in the Chalk ‘cellar’ (Johnston

Page 138

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