Thursday, February 3, 2011

How the Romans made pottery in Britain

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall, Roman soldiers defended the northern border of the Empire, passed the time in their bathhouses and inevitably drank a lot of wine. They also made a lot of pots.

Melissa Chatfield, a research fellow in ceramic geoarchaeology, was determined to find out how. Which is why on the edge of the Stanford campus, a narrow column of pale smoke rose behind the Stanford Community Farm building last weekend.

The source was a 5-foot-high grass mound atop a 12-foot-square wooden box. It was modelled on several ancient kilns excavated in England dating to the first century B.C. as well as the early Roman kilns that followed.

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