ROMAN KILNS

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ROMAN KILNS

Postby Marcus Minucius Audens » Sun Jan 22, 2017 7:30 pm

>>>> ROMAN KILNS <<<<

>>> Found in the Tagus River Estuary

“The mouth of the Tagus is as broad as twenty stadia [about 3700 m] and with such great depth it may be navigated by boats with load capacities in excess of ten thousand amphorae.” -- Strabo, “Geography” Book III, 3.1 [end of 1st cent. B.C. and beginning of the 1st cent. A.D.]

The first known Roman Pottery Kilns on the Tagus Estuary were discovered, and identified in 1986. The site which was found nearby the former residence of the Quinta do Rouxinol site. This site was almost totally urbanized during the decade of the 1980ʼs, and is now declared a National Monument. In the above year, during the construction of various sanitary works, it was possible to finally confirm several long-standing and traditional local stories and traditions which related to certain archaeological remains dating as far back as the Roman era at this site.
The subsequent emergency archaeological excavation was carried out, with the site remaining stationary and then followed by extensive field work through 1991. This field work was carried out through the auspices of the research project, “Roman Settlements On the Left Bank of the Tagus Estuary.”

Pottery in the Roman era constituted an activity which required special skills, special materials, and tools with which to carry out a successful establishment. Major urban centers during the Roman period maintained their own pottery production facilities complete with buildings, kilns, and raw materials, usually relying on contracting specialized potters to work the kilns to maintain the needs of the community. However, in a few cases these local potteries grew into major centers of very broad variety and large numbers of finished products. The centers of production were almost always in constant production turning out such objects as: construction bricks, flat--fluted tiles, storage receptacles, kitchen--table ware, transport containers (amphorae), and a variety of different types of lamps.

It has been possible to preserve and study part of two ovens that since the late 2nd century through the early decades of the 5th century produced a wide variety of pottery goods. There are also the remains of a third oven and an additional small combustion structure. Two large pits were found packed full of broken pieces or those rejected during the production process. These abundant and diversified finds well illustrate the role that pottery played in catering to the needs of local populations as well as the large nearby Roman City of Olisipo (modern day Lisbon, Portugal); and at the same time satisfying the storage needs for processing centers across the region.

Skilled potters would opt for locations in close proximity to both sources of raw materials (clay, firewood and water) as well as to centers of consumption for their product. They would also seek to capitalize on whatever means of transport were available whether by land, river or sea.
After the selection and preparation of the clays, the potter endows the mass with shape using either a potterʼs wheel or moulds for this purpose. The piece is then left to dry before firing in the wood burning kilns. After firing, the piece is left to cool, and then removed from the kilns, and the ceramic pieces would be inspected for flaws. The flawed pieces cast into a broken pieces pit and the good pieces stored away carefully to await transport or local sale. The clay from damaged pieces that were not fired would be recycled. Pieces of broken pottery resulting from breakage or quality control during and after the firing process would build up in large piles or pits set aside for the purpose.

(To be continued)

>> Reference:

> Ecomuseu Municipal do Seixal / 2009, “Quinta Dos Rouxino, Roman Kilns In the Tagus Estuary [Corrios / Seixal],” Museu Nacional de Arqueologia, Lisbon, Portugal, 2009.

Respectfully Submitted;
Marcus Audens
Marcus Minucius Audens
 

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