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Why does pottery become scarce during the Saxon/Anglian period...
I actually feel I am learning.. and it does look like more books required!
P Prentice Wrote:its not difficult to make a pot, people had managed for a few millennia. but its absence over vast swathes of britain for a considerable period - even where it had been made alongside the furnished grave tradition/sfb zone surely points to deliberacy?

But if you, for the previous 400ish years have got used to having a bloke down the street selling cheap mass-produced pots, and living in a society based around a market economy where money talks, and then suddenly (yeah, I know it wasn't necessarily so suddenly in some areas, but...) that economy collapses and you have no way to pay said potter, would you then be able to re-learn the art to a sufficient level to produce large quantities of what was, in effect, a throw-away item, or, would you make do with whatever else you could use and that doesn't rely on acquiring the right clay, learning what to add to it to make it fire right, how to construct a kiln... But, as some of us have already said, there may well have been, along with the change in economic structure, a change in fashion. For instance, how about a change in cookery, from eating a lot of boiled/fried food that requires some form of vessel to eating foods that are cooked directly on or in a fire?

From what little I know, it's rare for a change in what we see in the ground to have been caused by a singular event. Unless you're talking something like the destruction of Pompeii or the like of course. Usually it's the coming together of range of different events and/or circumstances.
I reserve the right to change my mind. It's called learning.
Isn't that an answer tool- why was there so much, as in stupid amounts, of pottery (in britain) in the roman period compared to the iron age and the dark ages? I am not sure that I have noticed much difference in the amount of the pottery between the iron ages and the dark ages even the bronze age. I must admit that I think that often i work under a presumption that the Romans brought the Saxons in but made the saxons friesians live out side the roman towns and villages and that the danes did as well because the Saxons could....because...could involve how things were cooked, still working on that, but nobody came back to the site unless a good bit of black earth had accumulated. Mostly the net result is that Romans switch the lights off on a site and nothing much happens untill some jammy farmer manages to get planning permission to build on a greenfield site which might have had a bit of manureing (althought I don't think much manureing went on untill the enclosures). The net result is we turn up find rampant Roman pottery orgy in the middle of nowhere some roman pot specialist calls some of it Romano British, if we find any fourth century measure distance to the Saxon shore and imagine Constantine 1 moving the empire away from Britain to Istanbul and if above that you find any pot is all where's the manor monastery or village that might be involved in manureing

Still for pot the Romans were proliferate and are conspicuous. Another thing that I think is a bit dubious is so called Romano-British designation when it's used to suggest that some local was pretending to be roman whether before the Romans turned up or during particularly if the term is meant to suggest that a local pot tradition might have lived on somewhere in the woods through the roman period joining up the two iron ages that happened on both sides of the Romans.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
That is a fascinating take on the subject. and again, in the medieval period, the production ups as part of an ecomomic venture rather than a local production requirement.
Be interesting to see what the Roman Rural Settlement project throws out next year - certainly in my main area of interest around here all the Roman stuff happens alongside the main Roman road and the folks back in the boonies don't really bother with it, to the extent that after the shutters are pulled down on Britannia it's almost like a forgotten wound that heals over - there's no real difference archaeologically, once away from the road, between IA/RB/Anglian, up till the foundation of the 'modern' villages in the later Saxon period (and they all pretty much without exception avoid/ignore the road).
Tool Wrote:..... would you then be able to re-learn the art to a sufficient level to produce large quantities of what was, in effect, a throw-away item,

how about a change in cookery, from eating a lot of boiled/fried food that requires some form of vessel to eating foods that are cooked directly on or in a fire?

(most) of our pot making history has merely involved chucking some clay on a bonfire
but i think your point about a change in eating habits is probably the way to advance this question - perhaps related to the return of feasting culture but can you imagine day to day peasant living in agrarian economies without pots? what did 5th century britons eat?
If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don't have to worry about answers
Saxons? }Smile
Not sure hosty that it ever got back to even average Roman farmstead amounts in the medieval period. Cant imagine the romans that impressed with most medieval pot. I do like Dinos roman pot comes with Road theory.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist
Wonder if it is more do with changes in the organisation of production. Roman being mass production on an almost factory scale. Before and after being local crafts person. Making of pottery is a bit more than chucking a bit of clay on a bonfire and I can see how the skills might have been lost if several generations had been use to the cheap mass produced article. As someone who has tried their hand at pottery and failed spectacularly I appreciate it is a craft that has to be learnt and practiced to produce vessels that are fit for purpose.
So the mass production mass consumption is based on the roads. Not only does the road allow there to be an anonymity between producer and consumer it sets up a market that allows comparison with every passing cart for quality, part of the quality involves the ability of the pot to survive transportation along the roads, just one instance of bouncing pot along a short section of metalled road would require not only competition in how to pack the objects but that the objects should be free of incipient faults along which cracks may start. The consumer also expects to move these pots up and down the road. Some of these consumers possibly spend all of their time on the roads and can spot a suspect pot when they see one. If you look at most med pot it's touch and go whether you have found another kiln waster. Even when they get glazing its used like a miserable after thought. They spend a lot of time trying to get thick strap handles to dry onto thin walled baggy pots which they get pre school children to decorate. Even post conquest is there any common pot/types let alone forms which have moved any great distance. Romans have the spare time to produce mortaria without pestles and have whole porifera of robust pot types and forms which any average digger will be bored by after the first six months of their apprenticeship.

As dino suspects the Romans switch the lights out on the roads and leave behind people who don't seem to use them much and possibly in some areas seem to be dead set against going anywhere near the roads. What's funny is that it might have been people that the Romans may have tolerated precisely because they lived a life that might have evolved because the Romans may have banned them from using the roads as that was what the romans were using to subjugate them. I imagine that the Romans would consider all the current problems with the scoti and the north down to the pathetic mishmash what is known as the great north road.
.....nature was dead and the past does not exist

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