A large Romano-British storage jar, either Black Burnished Ware 1 (BB1, from Wareham/Poole Harbour, Dorset) dating c. AD 200-410 or BB2 from the Thames Estuary area between 140 AD through to the mid third century.
Made from wheel-thrown dark grey sand-tempered fabric and bears a burnished lattice decoration on the sides. Inside is the original Victorian note recording the find - goldust to a collector. You don't get better provenance than that!
Condition: Loss to rim on one side (prob plough damage) and a stable crack, otherwise rare to find one in this condition.
Dimensions: Height 18cm x Dia. 15cm approx.
Provenance: Ex. UK auction house. Previously private UK collection. *Discovered in Carlisle UK in 1863.
One of the most ubiquitous types of Romano-British coarseware pottery, Blackburnished ware 1 (BB1), was produced around the shores of Poole Harbour, in South East Dorset. Research has shown that this industry was already well established by the 1st century BC, while reports documenting excavations at earlier Iron Age sites in Dorset indicate that its roots can be traced back to around 700 BC.
BBW 1, as categorised by archaeologists, was distributed throughout Britain from Dorset in the first centuries of the Roman occupation. Originally hand made it was then wheel-thrown and contains iron ores, flint, quartz and other materials as inclusions to stop the bowls, dishes and jars from exploding in the kiln.
The early BBW was made in well established Iron Age kilns in Dorset using local clays and traditional techniques. After the invasion in AD 43 potters used the wheel-thrown technology brought in by the Romans and supplied the army and civilian settlements with finely made wares. It was also used as part of grave goods and we find many examples in that context, including the Maiden Castle cemetery and the Portesham 'Mirror' burial.
Poole Harbour had excellent seams of clay, fuel and water supplies and of course a huge and safe harbour for exports. Ecavations in Dorchester have produced large collections of fragments used for storage, domestic use and preparation of foodstuffs but no evidence that it was used for cooking over a fire.
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