Tuesday 23 December 2008

Mediaeval Pottery Kiln at Shotton

A few days ago I was invited to visit the archaeological excavation of a pottery production site at Shotton, to the north of Newcastle upon Tyne. This site is sceduled for surface coal extraction by Banks Development and has been excaveted in advance of this by Tyne and Wear Museums. What they have found is a small medieval settlement with evidence of pottery production including a kiln and clay extraction pits. The whole site is on solid clay a fact that has made the conditions in the trenches less than pleasant. As you can see in this photograph of the kiln mud and ice were the order of the day but they were kind enough to remove the ice and pump out the water so that I could inspect it. These conditions suggest that some of the post holes around the kiln must surely have been supports for a roof, otherwise the kiln would have been inoperable during most of the year.

I have taken clay samples from the site with the intention of firing them under an assortment of different firing conditions so that they can be compared with the potsherds from the excavation.

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