Introduction | Samian from Brough | Mortaria | Amphorae | Brough local production | Fabrics | Forms | The function of the Brough pottery

4.5 Brough local production

One of the most interesting aspects of the pottery from the excavations is the quantity of ‘waste' from pottery production. The bulk of this came from the evaluation 1991 Trench I, with additional sherds mostly from Trenches 3 and 4 of the later excavation. No kilns were located, but the over- and under-fired sherds leave no doubt that this is pottery production ‘waste' from kilns within the vicinity. This material can be divided into three types dependent upon surface treatment of a basic oxidised fabric: BRCC, a colour-coated fabric, BROX, the unslipped basic oxidised fabric and BRWS, a fabric with a cream/white external slip. In addition, there are several mortaria, one certainly a ‘waster' and the others in similar fabrics, which appear to have been made locally. None of the mortaria were found in direct stratigraphic association with the dumps of production ‘waste', and for that reason they are considered separately.

There is also a small quantity of reduced fabric sherds, one of which was certainly a ‘waster' (bowl no.167). Due to the difficulty of positive identification of such locally produced grey wares, these are excluded from the table of vessel types, but are discussed below. The basic oxidised fabric is not distinctive and varies between vessel types, quite apart from the difficulty of judging the range from kiln ‘waste'. One or two other oxidised vessels may also be of local production, and may be associated with the fine wares, such as the lid-seated vessel no.77, the rouletted bowls no. 82 and the painted bowl, no.85.

4.5.1 Stratified occurrence

The ‘waste' sherds are predominantly light-weight and highly fragmented, and come from thin-walled beakers. They accounted for 12% of Period 2, 56% and 54% respectively of Periods 3 and 4, and a residual 30% of Period 7. This represented 17% of all Roman sherds, 4% by weight.

The occurrence of this production ‘waste', mainly from the 1991 evaluation Trench I and from Areas 3 and 4, is charted on Fig.50.

figure 50
Fig.50: Local production by period (weight and sherd values)

The earliest occurrence is represented by eleven sherds in Period 2, followed by the group from Period 3 which was the least fragmented, and the sherds in Period 4 and later would appear to be residual. The earliest stratified sherds in Period 2 came from a grave fill (Phase 2, group 3.2) and the fill of 73 in Trench I (Phase 2), with a sherd of East Gaulish samian, dated to the late 2nd to mid 3rd century. The quantities from Period 3 came largely from the fill of 76 in Trench I (which also included the IAGR jar no.159 and the painted bowl no.85), while that from Period 4 came from various fills in Trench I (76/151, 95, 129, 149 and 151), and from phase 1 in Trench 3 (group 4.4) and phase 6 in Trench 4 (group 3.6). The fill of 95 also contained sherds from two BB1 cooking pots, one no.89, two grey jars, one with a dented wall, no.137 suggesting it was a local product, and the other, a larger jar with latticed decoration, no.148. The Period 4, phase 6 fill of 149 produced a definite ‘waster' in the form of the shallow bowl no.167. The average sherd weight was 4.3g in Period 3, dropping to 3.3g in Period 4.

The distribution across the trenches is shown in Fig.51.

figure 51
Fig.51: Spatial distribution of local fine wares (weight and sherd values)

The bulk of the sherds with the least fragmentation came from the evaluation Trench I, adjacent to the excavation Trenches 3 and 4. Otherwise only 19 sherds came from Trench 1, and a single sherd from Trench 2. None of the mortaria considered to be of local manufacture were directly associated with the main deposits of production ‘waste', and are excluded from the above charts. The earliest stratified sherd came from Period 4, Phase 1 in Trench E (no.323), while the Raetian vessel (no.321) was found in a construction deposit of Period 9 (Phase 1, group 19.1), and sherds of the over-fired waster (no.322) are from Period 7 (Phase 1, group 6.1) and Period 9 (Phase 1, group 7.1), both Trench 3.


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Last updated: Tue Nov 28 2000