Site of Roman Pottery Kilns 300m E of Church, Wappenbury.

Description of this historic site

An archaeological survey indicated that this was a site of Roman pottery manufacture, with high concentrations of pottery and kiln debris. Some kilns have been excavated. The site lies 200m east of the church at Wappenbury.

Notes about this historic site

1 A survey indicated a heavy concentration of pottery and kiln debris over an area of 8.3 ha of ploughed field, indicating the presence of pottery kilns. The probable extent of the kiln field has been determined to the N, S and E. To the W the ground is permanent pasture, but pottery and kiln debris was found during excavation of the ditch of the Iron Age fort. A proton magnetometer survey was carried out and this located a number of kilns. Four kilns were excavated. Kiln 1 was updraught and had a clay-lined chamber with three pedestals and a firing chamber. Kiln 2 was similar to Kiln 1 and contained three complete vessels. Kilns 3 and 4 were built on a common stoke-hole. From the pottery it would appear that Kiln 4 was at least 100 years older than Kiln 3. Kiln 3 was small and pear-shaped, Kiln 4 was very badly damaged. Traces of a light timber ‘hut’ were also found. This was only partly excavated, but was at least 2.7m wide. The hut was buried under debris from Kiln 3, but postdated Kiln 4. Most of the pottery is hard, slightly gritty and of a medium grey colour. Various forms of decoration occur. Coin evidence, typological evidence and a number of archaeomagnetic samples indicated a date range of the first half of the 4th century for Kilns 1, 2 and 3 and a date in the first half of the 2nd century for Kiln 4. These dates are tentative.
2 During the laying of a drain across a field a little to the E of Wappenbury Church a quantity of 4th century pottery and a bronze armlet were found.
3 Chatwin’s finds are in Warwick Museum. The finds from the excavation are in Coventry Museum with a sample group in Warwick Museum.
4 In 1993 whilst digging pole holes for EME plc, six pieces of Roman greyware pottery known as “Wappenbury Ware” were found. These are jars of varying sizes.
5 Suggestion from Dr Hingley that this site be scheduled. This was probably the second largest pottery industry of Roman Warwickshire after Mancetter/Hartshill. Wappenbury was also the major pottery production centre for south Warwickshire. The product was mainly coarse reduced wares, and the industry was active from the 2nd to the 4th century AD.
6 Identified as part of a production centre, with evidence of 2nd-3rd century pottery production at Ryton-on-Dunsmore and at Bubbenhall.
7 The area previously mapped reflected only that area across which kilns had been recorded by magnetometer survey and excavated. This has been adjusted to reflect the material which was recovered from a ploughed area; “a heavy concentration of pottery and kiln debris scattered over 20 acres of ploughed fields” according to 1.
8 Portable Antiquities Scheme find provenance information:
Methods of discovery: Metal detector

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