6. Conclusions

The study of pottery from Exeter and east Devon has so far contributed little towards solving the problem of when manufacture of BB1 and of other Roman pottery made beyond the South-West came to an end. A terminus ante quem probably of the mid- to late 5th century for the manufacture of South Devon ware is supplied by its absence at Bantham. Although this is hardly a startling revelation, considering that it is widely assumed that pottery production in the Romano-British tradition petered out in the first few decades of the 5th century, markers of the sort provided by the Eastern Mediterranean pottery at Bantham are largely lacking in most parts of what had been Roman Britain. The major markets for South Devon ware lay to the east, and the industry was presumably extinguished by the same societal and economic changes that spelt the end of the other Romano-British pottery industries. These changes probably also affected its homeland where, as is explained near the beginning of this article, there are now reasons to think that the pattern of settlement was an attenuated version of that to the east. By way of contrast, the presence of gabbroic ware in the assemblage at Bantham is vital confirmation that this Cornish industry continued well beyond the date at which pottery production in the Romano-British tradition ended elsewhere. Finally, there is the possibility that one or more minor production centres in eastern Cornwall and possibly in parts of north Devon continued as late as the gabbroic ware, as is suggested by the straight-sided bowl from Bantham and perhaps also the example from Tintagel.