New Forest Roman pottery

A selection of New Forest Roman pottery from Jewry StreetA selection of New Forest Roman pottery from Jewry StreetThe New Forest potteries produced a variety of different styles and types of pot, from the late 3rd to late 4th centuries. These included imitation samian ware, mortaria (a bowl for mixing and grinding) and fine colour-coated tableware. The pottery found here at Jewry Street is just that, a classic example of local tableware. The colours vary from a matt red to a lustrous purple, depending on whether they were fired at a comparatively low or high temperature. The most common items were indented beakers, cups, small bowls and flagons. Some of them were decorated.
 
Drawing of an indented beaker and cupDrawing of an indented beaker and cupArchaeological evidence suggests that the New Forest did not have a large population during the Roman period. This is probably because intensive settlement, forest clearance and cultivation in the Neolithic (4000-2400BC) and Bronze Age (2400-700BC) meant that the soil was no longer suitable for agriculture. This lack of people and the plentiful local supplies of clay and sand were probably important factors in the creation of the pottery industry.
 
Decorated New Forest potteryDecorated New Forest potteryThe design of the pottery kilns in the New Forest is unique in Britain at this time. As there was no pre-existing local industry this raises intriguing questions about where their design came from. It is interesting that the closest parallels for the earliest New Forest pots come from north-eastern France and West Germany.