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The Roman Pottery Manufacturing Site in Highgate Wood: Excavations 1966-78
Author: A E Brown and H L Sheldon. Paperback; 205x290mm; xii+392 pages; illustrated throughout in colour and black & white (70 plates in colour). (Print RRP £60.00). 456 2018 Archaeopress Roman Archaeology 43. Available both in print and Open Access. Printed ISBN 9781784919788. Epublication ISBN 9781784919795.
Book contents page
Excavations over a period of eight years uncovered at least ten pottery kilns, waster heaps, ditches and pits, but only a few definite structures. The pottery from the site indicates a period of operation extending from the first half of the 1st century AD to the later 2nd century. The pottery made at the site included initially a vegetable tempered handmade ware, but subsequently the bulk of it consisted of a grog tempered ware and then pottery in a sandy fabric which is well known from assemblages in London. The type of kiln varied with the pottery fabric; there was possible evidence for a pre-Roman pit firing, and later kilns set in ditches were of the twin flued type, eventually replaced by the more familiar above ground kilns with raised floors. Changes in pottery fabric were reflected in different methods of clay preparation, which led to changes in the function of the various ditches, the stratigraphy of which, along with the variation in the fabrics, was significant in enabling the four broad phases into which the site has been divided, to be proposed.

The report includes a very detailed analysis of the forms and fabrics of the pottery made at Highgate. Finds of prehistoric flintwork and pottery during the excavation, and of material of later date, together with the observation of earthworks and historical research, have been used to show the place of the pottery kilns as an element in the exploitation of the woodland of northern London over the last eight thousand years.

In addition to the full eBook being available as a free download in Open Access (click 'Download (pdf)' further down this page),these web pages take the published pottery illustrations, but rearrange them by their typological category rather than their archaeological context. This allows the full spectrum of Highgate pottery forms across all phases of the site to be compared, and parallels for vessels of possible Highgate origin from domestic sites can be identified.


About the Authors
TONY BROWN was a member of the academic staff of the University of Leicester for over thirty years, moving there in 1964 as an Assistant Staff Tutor (Organising Tutor for Leicestershire). In 1966 he became Organising Tutor for Northamptonshire and in 1968 Staff Tutor in Archaeology. From 1990 he held a joint appointment with the School of Archaeological Studies, retiring in 2001 as an Emeritus Reader. During the earlier part of this period he engaged in rescue excavations for the Department of the Environment (Roman pottery kilns at Harrold in Bedfordshire and the Roman small town of Towcester in Northamptonshire), thereafter concentrating rather more on fieldwork and documentary studies of the medieval and post-medieval landscapes of the English Midlands. He has latterly interested himself in the relationship between European and native styles of artillery fortifications in South-east Asia. He has written or collaborated in the production of some sixty papers and either singly or with others written or edited books on the topography of Leicester, medieval moated sites, garden archaeology, Roman small towns, archaeological fieldwork, and antiquarian writing in the 18th century. He edited the journal Northamptonshire Archaeology and its predecessors from 1966 to 1984.

HARVEY SHELDON has been involved in London archaeology since the early 1960's. He was Field Officer for the Southwark and Lambeth Archaeological Committee from 1972 until 1975, then Head of the Department of Greater London Archaeology in the Museum of London from its establishment in 1975 until 1991. During this period he was also a part-time tutor in the Department of Extra-Mural Studies University of London, and later, in the Faculty of Continuing Education, Birkbeck, University of London. From the late 1990's until 2010 he had responsibilities for the faculties archaeological field programme and for the direction of its MA in Field Archaeology. Since 2011 he has been an Hon. Research Fellow in the School of Social Sciences, History and Philosophy at Birkbeck. He part-edited and contributed to Interpreting Roman London: Papers in Memory of Hugh Chapman, (Oxbow 1996), and London Under Ground: The Archaeology of a City (Oxbow 2000). More recent articles include: Enclosing Londinium: the Roman landward and riverside walls in Trans London Middx Archaeol Soc 61 (2010); Roman London: early myths and modern realities? in Hidden Histories and Records of Antiquity: LAMAS Special Paper 17 (2014); 'Rescue': Historical Background and founding principles in Rescue Archaeology Foundations for the future (2015) and Tony Legge and continuing education at the University of London 1974-2000 in Economic Zooarchaeology (2017). Harvey is also directly involved in many aspects of London archaeology and he currently chairs both the Rose Theatre Trust and the Council of the London and Middlesex Archaeological Society.

Reviews

'Both the book and the online component will undoubtedly become essential references for pottery specialists and anyone excavating Roman sites in London and the south-east.' Edward Biddulph (Current Archaeology #346, January 2019)


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