Reasons for Designation
Roman pottery production in Britain started soon after the Roman conquest c. AD
40-50 and continued into the fifth century. The peak of production was during the second century AD, after which the number of production centres began to diminish. Pottery made in Britain was supplemented by a wide range of ceramics imported into Britain from elsewhere in the Roman Empire. Early examples of Roman potteries are concentrated in the south and east, principally in the Nene Valley and Kent areas. In the second century potteries became more widespread, with rare northern examples being restricted to sites with military associations. In the third and fourth centuries the main focus for pottery production was along the navigable rivers of the central southern and south and east of the country. By the end of the fourth century production was restricted to parts of North Yorkshire, Lincolnshire and limited areas of the south east. All of the nearly 400 known potteries in England are located with ready access to markets, and all are situated close to necessary raw materials such as suitable clay, water and fuel. Potteries are often found in clusters, in both urban and rural areas. Although there was some variation throughout the country, all Roman potteries broadly included the same elements: kiln drying chambers and associated structures such as work sheds, preparation floors, stores and sometimes accommodation for the workforce. Some potteries had fewer than five kilns, others upwards of 35. The pottery site may also be situated within a larger industrial complex which accommodated other crafts with similar technological needs, such as iron smelting. Roman pottery making sites in Britain provide important information about the technology of pottery manufacture and its development and, more generally, the economic structure of the Roman province. They also offer scope for understanding trade patterns and how they related to the political and military situation. Roman pottery sites are rare nationally and all examples which are known to survive and still retain most of their components are considered to be of importance. Although much is already known the Roman pottery 140m SSW of Tewkesbury Cross will retain further archaeological and environmental evidence relating to the construction, development, technology and economic significance of this important pottery and its landscape context.
The monument includes a Roman pottery, situated in a clay rich area known as Whitehill, in the midst of the south western suburbs of the modern settlement of Swindon. The pottery survives as entirely buried features and deposits, with no visible surface remains within a public open space. A proton magnetometer survey was carried out in the 1970s after ploughing had produced large quantities of pottery, and nineteen possible kilns, a ditch and building were identified. Excavations in 1973-4 and further work undertaken in 1981 during a road widening scheme confirmed the presence of a kiln complex and twelve kilns were unearthed. Of these seven were boat-shaped in plan with double flues and furnaces, one at each end. The kilns measured up to 3.1m long and 0.7m wide. The remaining kilns were all circular in plan with single flues. A boundary ditch, workshop and a clay floored building were also found. The pottery, mainly grey wares, had a date range of the 2nd-4th centuries.
Sources: PastScape 222100