Severn Valley ware was produced at numerous kilns, some of which have been located, in the Severn basin and its fringes. The products of these kilns are allied in both form (particularly tankards, narrow-mouth jars and necked bowls), colour and surface treatment. Equally, most were produced on the Keuper Marl and thus share a fine, micaceous clay matrix. Exceptional to this is the production site at Perry Barr, located on the Bunter Pebble Beds and therefore resulting in a coarser fabric. Fabrics produced in the Malvern region contain typical Malvernian rock fragments, but they are not common, nor obviously present in each sample. Two different groups of SVW are included here: products from a known kiln in the Malverns (SVW OX 1) and samples which illustrate the burnishing typical of Severn Valley ware products when their surface is intact (SVW OX 2). Diagnostic forms comprise wide- and narrow-mouthed jars and tankards, frequently with burnished decoration.
Adby, C, 1991 Neutron activation analysis of Severn Valley ware: characterisation and classification, Unpublished BSc thesis, University of Bradford
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Evans, C J, Jones, L, & Ellis, P, 2000 Severn Valley ware production at Newland Hopfields. Excavation of a Romano-British kiln site at North End Farm, Great Malvern, Worcestershire in 1992 and 1994, BAR 313/ Birmingham Univ Field Archaeol Unit Monogr Ser 2
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A red to orange (2.5YR 6/8–5/8, 2.5YR 6/6) fabric with paler surfaces (5YR 7/6–7/8, 5YR 6/6, 2.5YR 7/8) and, when present, a characteristically grey-green (5Y 7/1) core. The fabric is susceptible to soil conditions and as a result all our samples are abraded, and soft and powdery to the touch. If well preserved one would expect the surface to be similar to that described for SVW OX 2 below. The fracture is irregular.
The fabric has a fine silty clay matrix, containing sparse fine silver (occasionally gold) mica, which is sometimes vesicular from poor wedging. Diverse ill-sorted inclusions are normally sparse and measure c <0.5mm; although they occur up to 3.0mm typically they are <1.0mm. Amongst these inclusions are red and white clay pellets (to 1.5mm), black or brown fine-grained rock inclusions (to 1.0mm) and unidentified soft white inclusions, not reacting to hydrochloric acid and possibly decayed feldspar. In rare samples quartz is common, while some also have black iron-rich inclusions.
This is a fine micaceous (muscovite and biotite) clay with common silt-sized inclusions, primarily of quartz and slightly less feldspar, with sparse larger grains to c 0.5mm. It is characterised by distinctive and common shale pellets, measuring between 0.1–0.7mm although not normally exceeding 0.5mm; occasional quartz-rich clay pellets are also present. Other diagnostic inclusions are common micaceous siltstone (sometimes felspathic, 0.1–3.0mm, normally to c 0.5mm) and sparse fine-grained sandstone, volcanic rock and a sprinkling of hornblende and pyroxene.
Several areas with debris indicative of production are known within the Malverns, but evidence from actual kilns now also exists (Evans et al 2000). Inclusions of felspathic siltstone, volcanic rocks and accessory minerals are all typical of the complex geology of the region, described by Peacock (1968), and provide complementary evidence for production in the area.
Hereford and Worcester County Museum, Hartlebury Castle
Hereford and Worcester County Museum, Hartlebury Castle; Hereford City Museum and Art Gallery; Tudor House Museum, Worcester