LON-1CD94C: A fragment of a Roman ceramic Lowther's Group 5 and Betts Die 13 relief-patterned flue-tile dating from AD 120-160.

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Unique ID: LON-1CD94C

Object type certainty: Certain
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A fragment of a Roman ceramic Lowther's Group 5 and Betts Die 13 relief-patterned flue-tile dating from AD 120-160. A similar tile is illustrated in Betts et al (1997:60 Fig.27h No.13). The front is decorated with relief-patterned rolled design in the "Diamond and lattice" group style. Betts writes "Keyed with wooden rollers applied when the clay was still damp, before they were put into the kiln to fire. This was added so the tiles could be more firmly mortared into place." The fabric is fully oxidised and red throughout. Betts et al (1997:82) write "At Winchester Palace example 13 was found associated with the robbing of Building 13 constructed after c120 and demolished c250 or later (B. Yule pers. comm.)."

Dimensions: length: 60.76mm; width: 38.23mm; thickness: 19.56mm; weight: 63.88g.

McComish (2015:12) writes "Box flues (tubuli) are hollow rectangular or square cross-sectioned tiles, with sanded interior surfaces, and they have vents in two opposing sides, while the other two sides are usually keyed. The keying can be incised, finger drawn, combed, or relief-patterned. There is no standard size for box flue tiles nationally (ibid., 74). Box flues were made by wrapping a slab of clay around a sanded former then joining the edges of the clay together with a single seam, and the vents were cut out after the tile was removed from the former (Rudling et al. 1986, 204)."

Mills (2013:461) writes "Die 13 splits at some point in its working life, and in fact, both the split and unsplit versions occur on Vine Street: some 0.5% of the unsplit form and 0.3% the split form of Die 13. Examples of both the split and unsplit versions also come from the public baths. Further evidence of the split version is found at the extramural site at the Royal Grammar school, Colchester; Bucklersbury House, London; and from Insula XIV, St Albans, representing places the tiler worked after Leicester."

Mills (2013:461-462) writes "In the case of the material from Leicester and Alchester, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that these stamps were used by itinerant tile makers. They were making flue tiles, a skilled specialism, alongside other tile makers, and using local tileries in conjunction with other tile makers, and so needed to differentiate their own batches from others by placing their stamped tiles in prominent positions, like potters sharing the same kiln. It seems likely that these tile makers retained responsibility until delivery, presumable under a contract for so many hundreds of tile. A number of different dies are found together in several locations, for instance Dies 13 and 9 are found together at: Colchester; St Albans and residually at Chatley Farm, Cobham, Surrey. It would appear that there was a community of tile makers, moving together in the civilian zone, supplying specialist products. It is also likely that such itinerant tile makers would not have been acting in a vacuum; they would be supplying the requirements of specialist architects and builders who were involved in the post Hadrianic construction boom."

Other box flue-tiles on the database are LON-801663, LON-6D895E, PUBLIC-29D515 and LON-1582B3.

Reference: Betts I., Black E. W.A and Gower J. 1997. Journal of Roman Pottery Studies Vol. 7. Corpus of Relief-Patterned Tiles in Roman Britain. Oxbow books, Oxford

McComish J.M., 2015. A Guide to Ceramic Building Materials. Report Number 2015/36, York Archaeological Trust.

Mills P., 2013. The Supply and distribution of ceramic building material in Roman Britain. L. Lavan (ed.) Local Economies? Production and Exchange of Inland Regions in Late Antiquity
(Late Antique Archaeology 10 - 2013) (Leiden 2013), pp. 451-469

Class: Relief-Patterned Flue-Tile
Sub class: Lowther Group 5 "Diamond and lattice", Betts Die 13

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: ROMAN
Period from: ROMAN
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: Circa AD 120
Date to: Circa AD 160

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 60.76 mm
Width: 38.23 mm
Thickness: 19.56 mm
Weight: 63.88 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Stuart Wyatt
Identified by: Mr Stuart Wyatt

Materials and construction

Primary material: Ceramic
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: London (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Greater London Authority (Greater London Authority)
District: City and County of the City of London (London Borough)
Parish or ward: Dowgate (London Borough Ward)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TQ3280
Four figure Latitude: 51.5035277
Four figure longitude: -0.09955492
1:25K map: TQ3280
1:10K map: TQ38SW
Grid reference source: Generated from computer mapping software
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Fieldwalking
Discovery circumstances: Eyes only
General landuse: Open fresh water
Specific landuse: Running water

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LON
Created: 7 months ago
Updated: 7 months ago

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