Divya and Hannah: Pottery from the Student Training Excavation

It’s the start of a brand new day on site, and everyone is hard at work. Today, we’re going to talk about pottery, our most abundant find! The most interesting of all the pottery that has been found is probably the Ham Green pottery which was recovered in Trench 3.
Ham Green pottery traces back to Ham Green, a hamlet near Pill in Somerset. It was produced from 1100 AD to 1250 AD. Ham Green is the only Medieval kiln site which has been excavated in the Bristol area. An excavation there found an oval kiln, around 2.5m x 1.2m! Ham Green potters usually produced jugs, tripod pitchers, cooking pots, bowls, lamps, and dripping trays, with designs of humans and animals. They used the River Avon and Severn to trade; many Ham Green pots have been found in Ireland. Some of our finds show evidence of local geology being incorporated, such as quartz and limestone being crushed into the pottery. Additionally, the high levels of iron are easily identified due to the colour of the pottery.
We spoke to Ysabel, a first year student, about the pottery she had found. Ysabel found a new kind of pottery which was black and shiny; there is some speculation that it may pre-date the building. Ysabel says she thought it was unusual and was happy she found lots of different pieces. Afterwards, Ysabel and some other students cleaned the pottery with toothbrushes and water and commented that “It was nice to see the pottery come to life.” Whilst cleaning, the students discovered some pieces were quite charred. Top tips for cleaning pottery are be careful and go slowly!
We also spoke to the landowner, who described the volume of pottery found on site over the years. Over 13 years, 10,000 sherds of low grade quality have been found. 3 Ham Green jugs of high status were found during HARP projects. Over the years, a very small amount of sherds of Roman pottery have also been found. Lots of these sherds and pottery were found in the lower corner of the site – perhaps this was a well filled with rubbish?
Although not pottery, the landowner’s favourite find at the site is a Viking sharpening stone with a hole in, which was worn around the neck.

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