Roman Pottery




David Griffiths

Charlotte Britton

This week’s Finds Friday looks more in depth at the pottery assemblage found in a Roman kiln that we showcased in a previous blog ‘Kilns in Geophysical Survey’. During excavations in 2016 next to the Roman Fort at Carkin Moor, Ravensworth North Yorkshire, NAA found a kiln that contained a wide-range of 2nd–4th century AD material, including a large assemblage of pottery and the remnants of a kiln. Inside the kiln were the fragments of kiln furniture and vessels, likely left from a final (mis)firing sometime in the 4th century. The pots were not finished, with most of the jars showing significant patches of burning that resulted from direct contact with a flame. Other parts of the same pots were also often pale brown and untouched. A large assemblage of charcoal was recovered from the kiln and stokehole, almost all of which was heather. This is a fast-burning fuel that generates a great deal of smoke when burnt, and so was likely used as part of the firing process to aide in producing the desired ‘grey-ware’ effect through large quantities of smoke. One possible explanation for the abandonment of the kiln is that too much heather was used during the final firing, resulting in the fire becoming out of control and irreparable damage being caused to the kiln and pottery within. The kiln, and ceramic vessels recovered at Carkin Moor are not only locally significant but are of regional importance, as very few Romano-British pottery kilns have been found in the vicinity. The evidence from the site provides firm evidence for a production site in north Yorkshire that produced local ‘grey-ware type’ vessels.

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