Dating porcelain shards
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Most Roman pottery, however, consisted of coarse sandy greywares which were used for cooking, storage and other daily functions.
Forms produced included simple cooking pots and bowls, lamps and highly decorated 'urns' with incised lines and stamps in panels.Occasionally whole vessels are found, particularly where they have been used as grave goods or cremation 'urns'.These are important in providing us with a type series of vessel forms, although broken vessels can be just as useful for this. The clay from which it is made often contains pieces of burnt flint or other stone and the pottery appears very coarse.However, in the Middle and Late Saxon period (mid-7th to 11th centuries), many potteries were based in towns.Kilns are divided into single, double and multi-flue types. Several experimental kiln firings have been carried out.Firing was a slow process to raise the temperature gradually to 1000°C. Few workshops have been excavated, but most consist of buildings and sheds which were probably used to store the raw materials and leather-hard pots, as well as a manufacturing area.
The same basic techniques were used and the same types of vessel were produced in different areas, but the pottery has a regional character.
Stamford is the major exception, continuing into the 13th century.
Middle Saxon pottery in East Anglia and Northumbria was made on a slow wheel, but elsewhere in Britain it was still handmade.
These have provided us with information on what could and couldn't work, and are useful for interpreting the remains of structures in the ground.
The single flue type was in use from the Late Saxon period to the 13th c., and was superseded by the double flue type.
The study of pottery is an important branch of archaeology.