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A Pottery Production Site at Newport

Road, Aldershot
Ben Jervis Archaeological Report 25
By Ben Jervis MA PIFA.

INTRODUCTION
This report summarises the pottery from 3 assemblages recovered from Newport Road, Aldershot.
These are all part of the Basingstoke Museum Old Collection (Sites A1957.32, A1956.23, 1983.22).
Together the assemblages consist of 376 sherds, weighing 9.3kg. The pottery is principally in 2
fabrics, MQfeq4 and MQfeq5. It is suggested that these were produced at the site, on the basis of
wasters being present. These would seem to have been produced within the Coarse Border Ware
tradition (see Pearce and Vince 1988). All of the pottery is unstratified.

THE POTTERY FABRICS


In total 7 fabrics are present within the assemblage (table 1). These can be split into products of the
site (fabrics MQfeq4 and MQfeq5) and pottery consumed at the site (fabrics MQ20, FQ31, Tudor
Green, Post Medieval Sandy Ware and Border Ware).

Fabric SC SW Rim %
FQ31 1 4
MQ20 6 112
MQfeq4 320 8159 389
MQfeq5 46 988 55
Tudor Green 1 10 2
Post Medieval Sandy
Ware 1 2
Border Ware 1 26
Total 376 9301 446
Table 1: Composition of the Assemblage by Fabric.

The fabrics can be described as follows:

Fabric MQfeq4 is buff/pink in colour with a grey/black core. Inclusions consist of common, medium sized,
rounded quartz grains, between a quarter and half of which are iron stained. The fabric has a coarse, sandy
texture.

Fabric MQfeq5 is similar to MQfeq4 but better fired with a finer matrix.

Fabric MQ20 has buff surfaces with grey core. It has a sandy matrix with common, medium sized, sub-rounded
quartz grains.

Fabric FQ31 is an orange fine sandy ware with sparse-common, rounded, fine sized quartz grains.

Tudor Green is a fine whiteware, previously defined by Pearce and Vince (1988). Border Ware has
been defined by Pearce (1992). The Post Medieval Sandy Ware is a fine, highly fired sandy ware.

The vast majority of sherds are in fabric MQfeq4. There are 46 sherds of fabric MQfeq5 and 20 of
fabric MQ20. Other fabrics are represented only by single sherds. Fabric MQfeq4 bares some
resemblance to Coarse Border Ware as defined by Pearce and Vince (1988, 9), in that it has
inclusions of sub-rounded iron stained quartz, but flint was not observed in any quantity.

VESSEL FORMS
Sherds from bowls, jars and jugs are present in fabric MQfeq4. The majority of sherds are from jars
and bowls, with only 3 fragments identified as coming from jugs (table 2). The most common jar rim
form (8 examples) is the clubbed, rounded form which is slightly everted (table 3). There are 2
examples of a similar form, which is slightly thickened. This rim form is known on Coarse Border
Ware vessels (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 465). There are 7 examples of an everted, rounded,
hammerhead form, also known on Coarse Border Ware forms (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 469).
Other forms are less common. Simple, everted rims with both rounded and squared profiles are
present (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 484). There are 4 examples of an inturned rim with a flange
(e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 473) and a single example of a flattened hammerhead rim (e.g.
Pearce and Vince 1988, no. 467). There is a single example of a beaded rim and 2 examples of a
version of the flanged rim which is pinched at the shoulder. The bases present are fairly flat with an
obtuse basal angle, typical on Coarse Border Ware jars and a single strap handle may be from a
handled jar (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1982 no. 478). Only one example is decorated, with coming
around the shoulder. Glaze is rare on these vessels, one vessel has a splash of bright green glaze on
the interior and another a splash of clear glaze on the exterior. In fabric MQfeq5 there are 6 jar rim
sherds from a single vessel. This vessel has a clubbed form and is decorated with applied strip
decoration and has a partial bright green interior glaze. The forms and general lack of decoration on
these vessels corresponds well with the known corpus of Coarse Border Ware jar forms.

Form SC SW Rim%
BOWL 18 490 107
JAR 38 1378 252
JUG 3 159 15
UNID 261 6132 15
Total 320 8159 389
Table 2: Vessel Forms present in fabric MQfeq4.

Formal Component: SC SW Rim%


Clubbed, rounded. Slightly everted. 8 367 77
Simple, rounded, everted 2 26 10
Thickened, everted, clubbed, rounded. 2 135 30
Rounded hammerhead, everted. 7 266 60
Rounded flange, slightly pinched at shoulder join. 2 47 7
Innturned with flattened, straightedged flange. 4 191 46
Everted, thickened with a slight bead. 1 19 5
Simple, straight edged, everted 4 97 12
Hammerhead, very flat. 1 16 5
Unid. Body sherd 3 81
Flat based, obtuse 3 119
Strap Handle 1 14
Total 38 1378 252
Table 3: Jar Formal Components Present in Fabric MQfeq4.
Several bowl rims are present in fabric MQfeq4.The most common form are clubbed, flanged rims
which are common amongst Coarse Border Wares (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1982, 501-4) (table 4).
There are 4 examples with flattened hammerhead rims (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1982, 506). Other
forms are less well represented. These include a rounded, hammerhead form (e.g. Pearce and Vince
1982, 502) and a simple, straight edged form (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1982, no. 510). A single example
is thickened and flat topped, with slight clubbing. This form has not been identified by Pearce and
Vince. These vessels are rarely glazed and never decorated. There are 3 examples with splashes of
bright green glaze on the interior. No bowls are present in fabric MQfeq5. As with the jars, the forms
present can be paralleled elsewhere and Coarse Border Ware bowls are rarely decorated (Pearce
and Vince 1982, 65).

Rim Form SC SW Rim%


Simple, rounded, everted 2 22 7
Bowl rim. Inturned and bevelled inwards. 3 109 17
Rounded hammerhead, everted. 1 38 12
Thickened, flat topped with a slight rounded
club. 1 47 5
Flanged rounded. Bowl rim. 5 96 22
Simple, straight edged, everted 2 55 14
Hammerhead, very flat. 4 123 30
Total 18 490 107
Table 4: Bowl Rim Forms Present in Fabric MQfeq4.

Only 3 sherds could be positively identified as coming from jugs. One example has a clubbed,
rounded rim and a strap handle with thumbed grooves. It is otherwise undecorated. Whilst the exact
form is not paralleled in Pearce and Vince’s (1988) catalogue, the individual components are. The
rim form is a common occurrence (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988, no. 429) and handles with thumbed
grooves (although with further decoration) are also illustrated (e.g. Pearce and Vince no. 442).
Another jug has an inturned rim with a flattened, straight edged flange, similar to that on conical
jugs (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 420) and cisterns (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 435). This
example is also undecorated and unglazed. One undecorated slightly sagging, thumbed base is also
present (e.g. Pearce and Vince 1988 no. 432). No jugs were identified in fabric MQfeq5.

A total of 261 sherds of fabric MQfeq4 could not be assigned to a particular vessel form. These
include 41 flat or slightly sagging bases, a simple strap handle and a double rod handle, a type not
present in Pearce and Vince’s catalogue. The majority of sherds are body sherds however. Most
(177) of these are undecorated and unglazed (table 5). Two examples have applied strip decoration
and one has thumbed applied strip decoration. Four examples have a partial, exterior, bright green
glaze. One of these also exhibits combed decoration. There are 11 examples with partial, interior
bright green glazes and single examples with a dark green exterior glaze, a partial interior and
exterior clear glaze and a partial interior and exterior bright green glaze.
Glaze Decoration SC SW
Combed horizontal
Bright green exterior, lines 1 28
partial
None 3 33
Bright green exterior, partial Total 4 61
Bright green, interior, partial 11 166
Dark green, exterior 1 6
Clear, interior and exterior, partial 1 10
Bright green, exterior, partial 1 25
Applied strip 2 21
Unglazed Thumbed applied strip 1 14
None 177 4097
Unglazed Total 180 4132
Total 198 4400
Table 5: Decoration and Glaze on Undiagnostic MQfeq4 Body Sherds.

In fabric MQfeq5 there are 9 base sherds which could not be assigned to a specific vessel form and
31 undiagnostic body sherds. Of these, 16 have a partial, bright green interior glaze. Two have a dark
green exterior glaze, one of which also exhibits impressed dots. Ten examples are unglazed, 3 of
which exhibit applied strip decoration. Three examples have partial, clear, exterior glazes.

The sherds present at this site suggest that this production centre was operating within the Coarse
Border Ware tradition, producing forms well known from excavations in London. It was one of a
number of centres producing these wares. The forms are principally jars and bowls and are generally
undecorated. The lack of decoration and of jug sherds, implies that the centre focussed on the
production of relatively plain, utilitarian vessels. Amongst the other wares present only one sherd
could be assigned to a specific vessel form, a Tudor Green bowl.

CONCLUSIONS
This small collection would seem to indicate the presence of a small production centre producing
utilitarian Coarse Border Ware vessels. The variability in rim forms suggests either change over time,
or a general lack of standardisation in form. It is possible some of the sherds were consumed, rather
than produced here. The forms present are generally paralleled within the London corpus (Pearce
and Vince 1988). Based on the London evidence, it would seem that the centre was in operation
during the late 14th century.

BIBLIOGRAPHY
Pearce, J and Vince A 1988. Surrey Whitewares. LAMASS Special Paper 10.

Pearce, J 1992. Border Wares. HMSO.