This was my first day cleaning pottery sherds. It makes such a difference actually working with the pottery even if it is only cleaning it! I have learnt so many interesting things already.
The pieces have been dug up in the car park of the Exeter Inn in Barnstaple. I spent far too much time in this pub as a teenager so it was a little odd to be cleaning bits of pot that were found there.
The guys at SWARCH have been very generous with their time and information. They were specifically looking to see if there was evidence that pottery was being made on this site prior to the Brannams pottery. If evidence of this was found it would fill in a missing 100 years of Barnstaple pottery history from around 1550-1650.
Typically I forgot to take my decent camera so I only have a few images from this day.
One piece was a typical red clay, white slip, honey glaze but it had an impression of a wheat sheaf which was rather lovely. Apparently decoration would only be there for a reason and this would indicate that the piece would probably have been a harvest jug. One of the main things that the team were looking for were kiln wasters as this would be a very good indication that there had been a pottery there. I found a few pieces that I believed to be kiln wasters as they either had air pockets or the glaze was covering one of the broken edges.
I am very much a beginner when it comes to Archaeology so it was great to feel I could contribute something from my experience as a ceramicist.
They have an expert in identifying ceramics coming Friday so I am hoping I will be able to spend the day observing.