The Ravens Warband

Clay Pottery

Pottery is one of the most common finds on settlement sites because it is so durable. Anglo-Saxons also cremated their dead and buried the remains in clay pottery urns. As a result there is a lot of evidence for the styles of pottery used.

Making clay pots.

The clay was just the subsoil spoil from digging holes for the fence posts. This was steeped in water, or puddled, for a few weeks and the larger stones removed. Most of the pots we made just with clay, but we also tried adding some sand as a temper. Some of the pots can be seen drying in the sun.
The pots were left overnight to dry a little before being decorated with incised lines and stamps.



Above - A selection of unfired pots.

Firing the pots

After several weeks drying the unfired pots were placed in the hearth. The pots were then covered with bracken to protect them.
A fire was lit on top. When the fire was well alight (after a couple of hours) it was stoked up and then turves were placed on top to exclude oxygen and keep in the heat.
The next day the hearth was opened and the pots were revealed. The pink colour shows they have fired, but in a oxidising atmosphere. Anglo-Saxon pots are mainly black as they were fired in an oxygen free (reducing) atmosphere. Clearly more turf was required! A selection of the finished pots and a pottery spindle.

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