4.3.1 Mortarium stamp
by K.F. Hartley

No.315, cxt 1001

Diameter 25cm. Two joining sherds with the right-facing portion of the spout. The broken potter's stamp is one of Crico who worked at South Carlton, north of Lincoln (Webster 1944, 129-143). Stamps from two dies have been recorded, but this stamp appears to be from a third die. All three were of similar size and all had identical readings, allowing for the difficulty of interpreting the first letter, which appears more like I and L than C, but C has always been preferred because it makes better sense and there are other examples of misshapen Cs.

His mortaria have now been noted in England from Birdoswald; Brough-on-Humber; Claxby, Lincs.; Corbridge (4); Lincoln (2); Vindolanda; and the Yorkshire Museum; and in Scotland from Balmuildy; Bothwellhaugh; Cadder; Newstead (2); and Rough Castle. The considerable number from sites on the Antonine Wall in Scotland indicates activity within the period AD 135-160, on the assumption that he was already making pottery when the occupation of Scotland commenced, but some stratigraphic dating evidence is needed to verify the length of his production period.

It is of particular interest that the other main South Carlton potter, Vorolas, and a potter called Aesico who worked somewhere in the vicinity (Monaghan 1997), are not represented in Scotland although they were as important as Crico and had identical markets in north-east England. It is difficult to avoid the conclusion that this difference in their markets indicates a difference in date, possibly that they were working somewhat later than Crico, since Vorolas's wall-sided mortaria at least fit a mid-Antonine date better than an earlier one. Hodgson, discussing the occupation of Scotland, suggests that the Antonine Wall could have been abandoned as early as AD 155-158 (Hodgson 1995), leaving only some outpost forts occupied. This would fit the dates suggested above, but there is also the difficulty of knowing how pottery supplies were organised, and how far the suppliers might have been altered during the occupation. Such a change could also have kept the work of Aesico and Vorolas out of Scotland, though again probably only if they differed in date.


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Last updated: Tue Nov 28 2000