It is likely that pottery was produced at Corbridge from the late 1st until at least the late 2nd century. The fabric defined here is that associated with the stamped mortaria of Bellicus and Cudrenus, whose production achieved a fairly extensive regional distribution during the second half of the 2nd century.
COR WH is a hard ‘slightly abrasive but fairly fine-textured fabric’ (Hartley 1981). There is some variation in the colour within a range which can be generally described as cream-yellow (10YR 8/3) or orange-yellow (7.5YR 8/4), quite often with a different coloured core, either grey (7/0) or a complementary shade of orange-yellow. Sometimes a buff (10YR 8/6) or orange-buff (5YR 7/8) slip was used. The fracture is irregular, the feel rough. Surfaces are wiped and there is evidence of knife trimming on the outside.
The fabric is generally quite fine and inclusions are reasonably well sorted. There is some evidence, from iron-rich veining, that clays with different iron contents were being mixed (Plate 143a). Quartz and iron-rich grains are common: quartz measures 0.1–0.4mm and iron-rich grains average 0.3–0.5mm, reaching a maximum of 2.0mm. The high proportion of dark red iron-rich grains is distinctive. Matrix-coloured clay pellets (0.3–4.0mm) and rounded dark-coloured rock fragments (c 0.5mm) are sparse but usually present. Limestone is seen only in some samples, but when it occurs it is common and similarly sized and sorted as the iron-rich grains. Silver highlights are visible on the surface, although no mica can be identified in thin section. Trituration grits are generally well-sorted abundant quartz and quartz sandstone (1.0–3.0mm), and slightly larger dark-coloured rock fragments (2.0–4.0mm).
Abundant ill-sorted subangular grains consisting mainly of quartz but also numerous quartz-free pellets, all measuring <0.2mm, are seen in the matrix. Trituration grits comprise polycrystalline and monocrystalline quartz, fine sandstone and rare feldspar grains up to 2.0mm. A single subangular fragment of ferruginous shale/siltstone measuring 1.8mm is also present, as are two large ferruginous pellets.
Only one kiln has been excavated at Corbridge (though the position of others is highly likely from geophysical survey) but its products cannot now be identified in the museum collection. Distribution of the products of Sulloniacus, Bellicus and Cudrenus strongly indicate Corbridge as their origin, and a waster in a form characteristic of the mortaria made by Bellicus is known from the site.
English Heritage (Hadrian’s Wall Museums)
Corbridge Roman Site Museum
Birley, E, & Gillam, J P, 1948 Mortarium stamps from Corbridge, 1906–1938, Archaeol Aeliana 26, 172–201 (4th ser)
Hartley, K F, 1978-80 (1981) Mortaria, in Excavations on the Antonine Wall fort of Rough Castle, Stirlingshire, 1957–61 (I MacIvor, T M Clare & D J Breeze), Proc Soc Antiq Scotland 110, 257–68