Swan (1975, 42) summarises the fabric as ‘. . . a hard, fine, light blue-grey to grey-buff paste, which often appears darker on the surface, particularly when it has been smoothed or burnished . . . distinctive coarsely-speckled appearance (often lumpy on the surface)’ due to the darker constituents of the tempering. Our samples conform to this, as pale grey (8/0) or grey-buff (10YR 8/1), although two have orange (2.5YR 5/8) cores. The feel is generally rough, sometimes powdery. Unlike the other grog-tempered wares in our collection, most vessels are wheelmade. A range of forms was produced: bead-rim bowls or jars, necked-cordon storage jars and bowls, lids, flagons, flat-rim bowls and dishes copying BB1, and Gallo-Belgic derived platters.
This is a highly variable fabric, depending on vessel size (Swan 1975, 42). All our samples are grog tempered, with distinctive ill-sorted common or abundant angular grains of grey (frequently pale) and brown or black grog, to 4.5mm. Quartz is also common, varying considerably between the samples, it normally measures between 0.1–0.2mm but is present to 0.5mm. Red iron-rich inclusions, to 1.7mm, can also be seen in some samples. Swan (ibid) describes the fabric as containing white or grey pulverised flint, and although in the hand it could not be distinguished from quartz, flint was visible in thin section. One sample is much finer with only sparse grog to 1.0mm.
An abundantly silty matrix with common ill-sorted quartz, usually to c 0.3mm but up to 0.6mm, set in a part-isotropic matrix occurs. The section is distinguished by abundant ill-sorted inclusions measuring between 0.1–1.0mm, and including grog, clay pellets and opaques.
Some actual kilns are known near Mildenhall in the Savernake Forest, but other manufacturing sites undoubtedly existed (Rigby 1982, 154). Swan (1975) has made a convincing case for production at Oare.
The Museum, Devizes
Corinium Museum, Cirencester; The Museum, Devizes
Annable, F K, 1962 A Romano-British pottery in Savernake Forest, kilns 1–2, Wiltshire Archaeol Mag 58, 143–55
Clifford, E M, 1961 Bagendon: a Belgic oppidum
Hodder, I, 1974 The distribution of Savernake ware, Wilts Archaeol Natur Hist Mag 69, 67–84
Luckett, L, 1970 The Savernake kilns, Wiltshire Archaeol Natur Hist Mag 65, 200–1
Rigby, V, 1982 The coarse pottery, in Early Roman occupation at Cirencester (J Wacher & A McWhirr), Cirencester Excavations 1, 153–209
Swan, V G, 1975 Oare reconsidered and the origins of Savernake ware in Wiltshire, Britannia 6, 36–61