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Museum Monday: Tera Negra biconical beaker

Submitted by Jacob Scott on 31 October 2023

It's #MuseumMonday, and this time we are showcasing an object from the very start of the Society's foundation.


Posted 21st August 2023


The origins of the Kent Archaeological Society’s collection go back to the very beginnings of the Society. At its inaugural meeting, on 14th April, 1858, thanks were given to William Bland, Esq., of Hartlip Place, Sittingbourne for his kind and liberal donation of antiquities found at the remains of a Roman villa on his estate.

The villa was originally found in the mid-18th century and Edward Hasted records in 1798 that much of one building had already been emptied out in the hopes of finding treasure. In 1845, Mr Bland opened up several rooms, returning to excavate more areas in 1848. These were described by the noted antiquarian Charles Roach Smith in Volume 2 of his publication Collectanea Antiqua. The published plan shows a scattered group of buildings including a bath building, a buttressed aisled building and a cellared house. Hasted recorded that the cellar had contained several bushels of burnt grain.

This biconical beaker was one of the complete pottery vessels found during those early excavations at Hartlip. This style of beaker also known as Carinated beakers appears to have originated in forms of Tera Negra pottery from the continent.

Tera Negra biconical beaker, Maidstone Museum.

The biconical beaker pictured here forms part of our temporary exhibition at Maidstone Museums, running until the Christmas Closure. It is displayed alongside a number of other finds from Hartlip Villa and is well worth a visit to see in person.


Further reading


Collectanea Antiqua, Volume 2, Charles Roach Smith

A ceramic typology for northern Kent, first to third centuries A.D. (1987) by Jason Monaghan,

Romano-Britishcoarse pottery: No 6, Third Edition a student’s guide.