Study Group for Roman Pottery

National Research Framework: Southern England

Site & Area Studies

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Edited by Suzanne Huson on behalf of The Study Group for Roman Pottery, Southern Regional Group October 1997; selectively revised 2002


Certain areas would benefit if the study of pottery from a number of sites was combined, rather than being published individually. This might enable stronger conclusions to be drawn about function, status, trade and how the area fits into its region. These sites include (alphabetically):

3.1 Chichester

The Chichester area has more pottery published than anywhere else in Sussex. However, it has suffered from a selective, incremental, approach. The area would benefit from an overall synthesis of Chichester Roman pottery, and, in particular, the publication of quantitative information from this important site.

3.2 Ewell

It has often been suggested that this settlement started as a posting station, and there are a number of old excavations that could do with some form of publication. It could be combined with a study of the Ashtead pottery as suggested above (2.2).

3.3 Fishbourne

A reappraisal of the material would pay great dividends, particularly if linked in a combined study with Chichester.

3.4 Lake, Dorset

This important early military site should be published.

3.5 London cemeteries

Ceramic assemblages from cemeteries would also benefit from this type of comparison. The east London cemetery groups are currently being prepared for publication, but those from west London are still awaiting study.

3.6 London imports

Distribution of imported ceramics across London requires further study. Direct comparisons could be made between ceramic assemblages from the ports of London and Southwark, using material from backlog and current sites (Regis House, No. 1 Poultry and London Bridge).

3.7 Parnham/Wiggonholt/Pulborough/Storrington

These sites could be combined and examined in a wider context, eg. early military site/road junction/posting station. They could be considered in conjunction with the series of posting stations on Stane Street, including Hardham kiln site and Cold Waltham, and up to Ewell. They would provide an early (1st-2nd century) series, and constitute a 'ceramic bridge' between London and Chichester.

3.8 Pevensey

No pottery has been published from Pevensey since 1908. M. Lyne has recently written up the pottery from the 1936-9 excavations, but has had difficulty finding a publisher for the monograph.

3.9 Putney

This site has a large and varied assemblage from the periphery of a major town, with traces of Conquest period and very late Roman material.

3.10 Reculver

The pottery needs publication, especially since this is an early shore fort.

3.11 Richborough

This is a uniquely important site for its early military pottery and the presence of imports. There is some suggestion for the production of pottery by a group of 'kiln waste' from a section through the Claudian ditches (Pollard 1988, 179) and it has been cited as the raison d'etre for various potteries known in the area (eg. Preston) existing to capitalise on the potential custom of the garrison of the fort and its vicus (Pollard 1988). Despite this, a synthesis of the pottery from the site is regarded as less of a priority than one for Fishbourne/Chichester (partly since it lacks secure integral pottery groups in number). The site is extremely important, however, for wider thematic studies, particularly of the Classis Britannia and cross-channel trade, especially since the site has quantities of regional Gaulish/continental pottery present and not just imported fine wares and amphorae.

3.12 Selsey Peninsula

Hardly any pottery from the area has been published. Considering that there is thought to have been an oppidum in the Selsey area, the neglect of this district is clearly an omission.

3.13 Solent

A project tracing the distribution of Vectis Ware, which appears to have social/cultural restrictions (ie. a non-economic distribution), could be linked to a broad pan-Solent study in ceramics and material culture.

3.14 Wealden/East Sussex

Re-assessment and publication of surviving pottery collections from Wealden iron-working sites is recommended. Pottery was being produced at Bardown, which provides an opportunity to study the associations between the two industries.

3.15 Worthing and Area

An area ceramic study should include publication of the Goring and Angmering villas and Highdown bathhouse.

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