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

The Roman Pottery of Kent
by Dr Richard J. Pollard  -  Chapter 6  page 192
Doctoral thesis completed in 1982, published 1988


In the preceding section, pottery manufacture has been treated in isolation from other industries. In terms of co-operation in production, as opposed to vulnerability to socio-economic fluctuation, this may to a great extent reflect the situation in which the potter worked. However, it would be misleading to overlook evidence for the joint operation of potteries with at least two other industries, both of which shared with the potter the basic skills of working the clay medium: brick and tile manufacture and salt-winning.
   The similarities between pottery and tile manufacture and salt-winning are two-fold. First, all three require warm, dry weather, for the drying of ceramics and the evaporation of salt. The creation of an artificial climate by constructing drying sheds is not attested either ethnographically or archaeologically for the household industry and individual workshop models of ceramic production hypothesized for the north Kent potteries, implying summer seasonal activity only. The second similarity arises from the first: the industries are compatible with farming, as they occupy the slack part of the agricultural cycle (Bradley 1978, 67—9).

1. Brick and Tile Manufacture

The intensity with which this aspect of Roman industry has been studied in recent years is reflected in the number of publications readily accessible to the researcher. The task of the present author has been made much simpler by the works of Brodribb (1969, 1979), McWhirr and Viner (1978), McWhirr (1979a), Peacock (1977b) and others.
   Kilns producing ceramic building materials have been found on only three sites in Kent, two outside Canterbury (Jenkins 1956a, 1960) and one close to the Eccles villa (Detsicas 1967, 170—4). Monaghan (1987, 28) records 

‘a probable tile kiln’ on the Medway Marshes. In addition, military stamps of the Classis Britannica are known from a number of military and industrial sites and one villa (Folkestone) in Kent, East Sussex and the Pas-de-Calais (Peacock 1977b) and of the Cohors I Baetasiorum from Reculver (Hassall 1977). Peacock has suggested that his fabric 2 Classis Britannica bricks and tiles were produced in the south Romney Marsh-Camber area (Peacock 1977b, 242). A tile kiln and pottery wasters have been excavated at Great Cansiron in the central Weald (Rudling 1986; Cawood 1986).
   The association of building ceramics and pottery production in a military context is known at several sites in Britain, such as Holt (Grimes 1930), Brampton in Cumbria (McWhirr 1979a, 111—19) and Grimescar, Yorks (ibid., 182—3). However, there is no evidence for, and circumstantially weighty evidence against, military pottery production in association with tileries in Kent.
   In civilian contexts the production of both classes of ceramics on a single site has been suggested for several sites: these include Park Street (Herts.), Little Hadham (Herts.), Colney Street (Herts.), Minety (Wilts.), Eccles and Canterbury (McWhirr 1979a) as well as Great Cansiron. Canterbury is unique on two counts: first, it is the only place where co-operation in production, if not production by the same individual, is firmly attested. The Area I site at St. Stephen’s Road comprised a pottery kiln and a tile kiln/drying chamber sharing a stokehole pit (Jenkins 1956a, 41—50). The use of tiles and bricks in the construction of pottery kilns is commonplace, but need not imply the same level of co-operation. The second feature unique to Canterbury is the proximity of tileries to the town itself, Kiln II at Whitehall Gardens (Jenkins 1960, 154—6) and that at St. Stephen’s Road both lying within 1 km. of the later walled area. The

Page 192

Page 191     Back to Chapter 6    Contents Page         Page 193

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