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Brockley Hill Romano-British pottery and settlement

List Entry Summary

This monument is scheduled under the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Areas Act 1979 as amended as it appears to the Secretary of State to be of national importance. This entry is a copy, the original is held by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Name: Brockley Hill Romano-British pottery and settlement

List entry Number: 1018006

Location

The monument may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

County: Greater London Authority

District: Barnet

District Type: London Borough

Parish:

County: Greater London Authority

District: Harrow

District Type: London Borough

Parish:

National Park: Not applicable to this List entry.

Grade: Not applicable to this List entry.

Date first scheduled: 25-Jan-1974

Date of most recent amendment: 20-Aug-1998

Legacy System Information

The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.

Legacy System: RSM

UID: 29396

Asset Groupings

This list entry does not comprise part of an Asset Grouping. Asset Groupings are not part of the official record but are added later for information.

List entry Description

Summary of Monument

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

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 worksheds, 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 in good condition and still retain most of their components are considered to be of national importance.

The pottery manufacturing site at Brockley Hill is one of the earliest known examples in Roman Britain which, at its zenith in the late first century AD, was also one of the most successful ventures of its kind. Pottery from Brockley Hill supplied London and the south east and even reached into northern England, North Wales and the lowlands of Scotland. Small-scale excavations have demonstrated the presence of a wealth of archaeological evidence, often well-preserved, which provides significant information concerning the scale of production, the range of products and the technology involved in their manufacture. Of particular importance is the evidence for the major production of mortaria and the indications, provided by the potters' stamps, of a technological migration from Romanised Gaul shortly after the Roman Conquest. Sections of Watling Street, one of the most important roads within the Roman province, are preserved alongside the site of the pottery. These provide evidence for the means of transportation which allowed the pottery's products to reach such a large market. The later settlement, perhaps identified as the `Sulloniacis' mentioned in the Antonine Itinerary, may also have relied on the trade and transport afforded by the Roman road.

History

Legacy Record - This information may be included in the List Entry Details.

Details

The monument includes buried remains of an extensive Romano-British pottery manufacturing site, a contemporary and later Romano-British settlement and part of the Roman road (Watling Street) alongside which both industry and settlement developed. Also included is a section of the later roadway which perpetuated the route of the Roman road into the medieval and post-medieval period, prior to the formalisation of the present A5. The remains are in two areas of protection.

The centre of pottery manufacture originated near the summit of Brockley Hill (which must have provided all the necessary elements of suitable clay sources, natural springs and an abundant supply of wood for fuel) and developed along both sides of Watling Street around the area now occupied by the older part of the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital. Evidence for the manufacturing site cannot be seen on the ground, although numerous small-scale excavations since 1937 have revealed well-preserved remains extending across the grounds of Brockley Hill House (the former nurses' home) on the western side of the road, and along the eastern side of the road opposite the frontage of the hospital. Although the pottery manufacturing site and associated settlement almost certainly extended along the road frontage and into the area of the Orthopaedic Hospital, the remains in this area are not sufficiently understood to be included in the scheduling.

The earliest discoveries were located on the eastern side of the modern road opposite the junction with Wood Lane. Between 1947 and 1971 further areas were investigated within the grounds of Brockley Hill House and in the fields to the south and east, revealing the remains of kilns and workshops, clay extraction pits, puddling hollows, wells, preparation floors and large accumulations of kiln waste. Fourteen kilns have been discovered to date, demonstrating a variety of forms and a sequence of activity which began around AD 60 and reached a peak of production towards the end of the first century. The kilns produced a range of bowls, flagons and jars for use as everyday cooking, storage and table wares. Most significantly, the site has been identified as a principal production centre for mortaria (mixing bowls with granular interior surfaces) during the first century - a product which, prior to the early excavations at Brockley Hill, was thought to have been exclusively manufactured on the continent. At least 14 individual potters, or their workshops, have been identified from names stamped on vessels. Among these is the potter `Doinus', whose mortaria kiln was discovered immediately to the south of Brockley Hill House in 1971 and whose products have been unearthed on Roman sites as far north as Cumbria and lowland Scotland.

Pottery production declined from AD 120 and finally ceased around AD 160 as other centres, particularly in Oxfordshire, Warwickshire and the Nene Valley expanded. The area continued to be settled however, and there is evidence in the form of coins and pottery (not manufactured on the site) to suggest that occupation of a more domestic nature continued until the fourth century. The potter's workshops and huts appear to have been fairly flimsy structures, perhaps in keeping with the seasonal nature of the industry. Later buildings may have been more substantial. Excavations in the area around Brockley Hill House showed that some of the potters' waste dumps were levelled in the late third or early fourth century and overlain by cobbled floors. The remains of several buildings were found to the north of the tennis courts in 1950-51 accompanied, in one instance, by a tiled surface and fragments of rotary querns which indicate grain processing on the site. It has been suggested that this settlement was synonymous with `Sulloniacis', the estate of the family of Sulonios, which was noted in the third century Antonine Itinerary as lying 12 miles from London and 9 miles from Verulamium (St Albans). If this were so, then in order to merit inclusion in the Itinerary (which was intended as an official route map) the settlement is likely to have possessed still more substantial buildings, perhaps including a posting station or mansio.

The road alongside which the potteries and settlement developed was one of the principal routes within Roman Britain. Built for the use of the military and government officials (but immediately used for all manner of trade), construction is thought to have begun in the period AD 43-49, shortly after the Claudian invasion. The road ultimately linked the channel ports of Kent to London and continued northward through the West Midlands to North Wales, and the general route (now perpetuated by the A2 and A5) has remained in use ever since. Excavations at Brockley Hill have determined that the earliest version of the Roman road lay slightly to the west of the present carriageway, in part overlain by a later, medieval road which continues down the hillside to the south east (outside the area of the scheduling) in the form of a hollow way. A later road, constructed in the third century incorporating potters' waste, has been identified on the southern slope of the hill and is thought to continue along the eastern side of the present carriageway.

All standing buildings, walls, fences, gates and made surfaces are excluded from the scheduling, although the ground beneath these features is included.

MAP EXTRACT The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Selected Sources

Books and journals
Rivet, A L F, Smith, C, The Place Names of Roman Britain, (1979), 463
Swan, V G, The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain, (1984), 97-8
Applebaum, S, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in 1950 Excavations at Brockley Hill, , Vol. 10, (1951), 201-228
Braithewaite, G, 'Hendon and District Archaeology Society Report' in Report on a Month's Excavation and Fieldwalking, (1987)
Braithewaite, G, 'Hendon and District Archaeology Society Report' in Report on a Month's Excavation and Fieldwalking, (1987)
Braithwaite, G, 'Hendon & District Archaeological Society Report.' in Brockley Hill: Excavations and Fieldwalking, (1987)
Castle, S, 'Arch J' in Kiln of the Potter 'Doinus', , Vol. 129, (1972), 69-88
Castle, S A, 'Trans London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill 1970, , Vol. 23 pt 2, (1972), 148-151
Castle, S A, 'Tran London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Roman Pottery from Brockley Hill 1966 and 1972-74, , Vol. 27, (1976), 206-227
Castle, S A, 'Tran London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Roman Pottery from Brockley Hill 1966 and 1972-74, , Vol. 27, (1976), 206-227
Castle, S A, 'Tran London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Roman Pottery from Brockley Hill 1966 and 1972-74, , Vol. 27, (1976), 206-227
Castle, S, 'London Archaeologist' in Trial excavations in Field 410, Brockley Hill, , Vol. 2, (1973), 36-39
Castle, S A, Warbis, J H, 'Trans London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations on Field No.157, Brockley Hill. 1968, (1973), 85-110
Castle, S A, Warbis, J H, 'Trans London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations on Field No.157, Brockley Hill. 1968, (1973), 148-159
Castle, S, 'London Archaeologist' in Trial Excavations at Brockley Hill, , Vol. 2, (1973), 78-83
Castle, S, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill 1970, , Vol. 23, (1971), 148-159
Richardson, K, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill 1947, , Vol. 10 (1), (1948)
Suggett, P, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill 1953-4, , Vol. 19, (1956), 65-75
Suggett, P, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill March 1952 - May 1953, , Vol. 11, (1954), 263-5
Suggett, P, 'Transactions of the London and Middlesex Archaeology Society' in Excavations at Brockley Hill August-September 1951, , Vol. 11, (1954), 188
Other
discussion with SMR Officer, Whytehead, R, Field 157, (1997)

National Grid Reference: TQ 17363 93989, TQ 17475 93958

Map

Map
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End of official listing