Brandiers Farm, Roman tile kiln excavations: Week 3 highlights

Week 3 at Brandiers Farm has had many big breakthroughs! From finding wooden planks in the ‘Pit of Doom’, finding a culvert running underneath the tile kiln flue, finding the 100th stamped tile, finding several complete or near complete tiles, and even finding more phases of the kiln. This week has gone to show that not even the Great British weather can dampen our spirit when it comes to Roman tile kilns!

Rosanna and Anton explain the increasingly complicated phasing of the kiln

On Monday John found an intact culvert underneath the kiln’s flue. This would have diverted rain and groundwater away from the kiln. Absolute champion that he is, he also found a massive chunk of dateable pottery down there — more on the date, when we have it! And he saved the best till last… right as we were about to pack up for the day, he discovered that the culvert itself is stamped! This TPFP stamp brought the site total to a whopping 100 stamps and, as the week went on, we continued to find more!

Volunteer John finds culvert underneath flue, with a stamped TPFP tile
Volunteer John finds culvert underneath flue, with a stamped TPFP tile

This week, Will discovered several planks at the base of Trench 2, which adds to the wood Beth and Jason uncovered last year. At the moment, it is not certain what these planks were for — potentially a ladder to get in and out of the pit? Or maybe boards to make walking in the pit easier? Possibly even for helping to build the top of the kiln’s structure, between firings..? Will has experienced firsthand that these things would be useful, given the stickiness and depth of the clay pit (hence the ‘affectionate’ nickname “Pit of Doom”), as he and the volunteers continue to dig deeper.

Not only have the Trench 2 team found these fantastically preserved planks, they‘ve also collected an impressive haul of tiles this week, including a largely intact box flue tile which has been reconstructed in The Finds TentTM; Stuart found three complete tiles, and a tile with unusual graffito was also found. It looks like it depicts either a strange tree/mountain/rocketship!? Hopefully our tile specialist, Peter Warry, will be back on Monday to tell us whether these graffitos have any iconographic significance!

Two more walls have been found lower than the kiln walls

At the end of week 3, Josh had cleaned up the tile surface to the south of the kiln in Trench 1, meaning we could see that the ‘path’ has at least three courses of tile (so is perhaps not a path at all…) and yet more phases of this fabulous kiln!

This week Josh also finished up in Trench 8 (for this year at least) in the settlement field. Unfortunately this trench has been a slight anticlimax, going from looking like a small kiln on the geophysics, to a potters’ path in plan and then turning out to be two tile-laden ditches once excavated.

Here’s a look back through some of week 3’s best tiles…

Today marks Time Team Day (aka 3 days to go!), fingers crossed that week 4 continues to deliver exciting finds — we’ll let you know how it goes!

Indie Jago (Assistant Community Outreach and Engagement Officer)
and Rosanna Price (Digital Engagement Manager)

Share this!