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The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 6  page 189
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988

Detsicas 1964, 122—3) is normally a feature of military establishments; a parallel at Ashtead villa in west Surrey (Lowther. 1927; 1929; 1930), dated to the later first century, is associated with a major tilery whose products were distributed throughout Surrey and to places as distant as Verulamium and Chelmsford, perhaps by peripatetic craftsmen, in the Flavian period (id., 1948). Eccles ware has not been recorded away from the villa itself (Greene 1979a, 85), but local consumption at Rochester and elsewhere need not be detectable in the extremely small pre-Flavian assemblages extant from the town and the Medway valley. Potential military consumers, supplied via the Medway, are postulated by Swan, as at Otford (1984, 389). Peacock (1982, 10) envisaged a commercial role for estate production, and it may be that both Otford and Eccles represent estate interests.

3. Other Estates

The potential involvement of villa owners or managers in pottery manufacture has been surmised in several cases above (e.g. 6.V. 1). It must be stressed that the organisation of the estates themselves is subject to speculation. Production directed from the villa authority may be inferred in particular where the repertoire is of a specialised nature or where long-distance trade is indicated, that is to say where the potential for profits is greatest, but cannot be attested positively in any instance. The cases of Otford and Eccles apart, it is considered that workshop models, individual or nucleated, are best applied to the kiln- and wheel-using potteries in Kent.

           KENT AND BEYOND: STYLISTIC              

Close affinities in ranges of types can be recognised between the Thameside-Cliffe peninsula BB2 and grey ware potteries and those of south Essex and Colchester (Pollard 1983b, 134—8). The kiln sites of south Essex have yet to be published in detail, with the exception of Mucking (Jones and Rodwell 1973), the conclusions drawn from which have subsequently been revised (M.U. Jones, R. Birss, R. Jefferies, pers. comms.). The south Essex sites were not included in Williams’ programme of petrological analysis of BB2 (1977), or in Monaghan’s neutron activation analysis of BB2 and grey wares (1982). It is likely, pending full publication, that south Essex and north Kent potters were in direct communication, but operated within mutually discreet circuits of itinerancy (see below). Farrar (1973, 101) has suggested that a merchant concern — a negotiator artis cretanae — was involved in the trade up the North Sea coast (cf. Fulford 1981), and it may have been this middleman activity that provided the link between the potteries of the Thames and Colchester and ensured that, for the ‘export’ market at least, they produced a common range of types.
The mechanisms that determined the styles of pottery produced in Roman Britain are understood very imperfectly. The influence of popular wares such as samian or BB1 is often invoked when the derivations of forms are discussed, and military preferences are also popular determinants. The ‘new wave’ of fashion defined as BB2 is held commonly to have been derived from BB1, presumably under the stimulus of the latter’s success in capturing northern markets, although in south-eastern Britain BB1 is extremely rare until the third century. This implies either a degree of awareness amongst potters of their colleagues’ activities, or the intervention

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