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Occasionally whole vessels are found, particularly where they have been used as grave goods or cremation 'urns'.These are important in providing us with a type series of vessel forms, although broken vessels can be just as useful for this. The clay from which it is made often contains pieces of burnt flint or other stone and the pottery appears very coarse.

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Early Saxon pottery (5th to 7th century) was handmade, often locally produced and fired in clamps or bonfires.

Forms produced included simple cooking pots and bowls, lamps and highly decorated 'urns' with incised lines and stamps in panels.

The similarity between Iron Age and Saxon pottery, particularly in East Anglia, can cause problems where no other dating evidence is available.

There is a large amount of archaeological evidence for the pottery industry from the Middle Saxon period onwards, in the form of products and production sites.

However, in the Middle and Late Saxon period (mid-7th to 11th centuries), many potteries were based in towns.

Kilns are divided into single, double and multi-flue types. Several experimental kiln firings have been carried out.Multi-flue types were also used later, allowing greater capacity and needing peat or coal as fuel.Methods of stacking vessels in kilns are interpreted from excavated kilns which contain partial loads, but can also be reconstructed from kiln scars on glazed pottery and kiln bars, and from the direction of glaze drips on decorated vessels.Potters are very rarely mentioned in documentary evidence before the Late Medieval period, and were probably some of the lowest-status craftsmen.There is no direct evidence for type of wheels in use before the 13th century, after which a few illustrations survive.These have provided us with information on what could and couldn't work, and are useful for interpreting the remains of structures in the ground.

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