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This blog is a behind the scenes look at the Roman Baths in Bath. We hope you enjoy reading our stories about life surrounding the Roman Baths.



Friday, 2 September 2016

Tuesday Times Table: How did the ancients make pottery?

 Pottery is the most common archaeological find in most places, and the Roman Baths Museum has a great collection of pottery, from which various interesting points can be discovered. I focused on the techniques of making pottery and tried to connect pottery fragments with the processes of decoration and firing they had experienced.

 Prehistoric people collected clay from nearby, dried it in the sun, sieved and mixed it with water, and made ring-built or thumb pot vessels by hand. Firing was also quite simple. They use dried dung and brushwood on the ground and the firing process took only 30 to 60 minutes. Later people started to select the clay, remove impurities from it and then leave it to weather before using it. They also used several pools to wash clay and mix it with grit and sand for special use. Turntables were used in shaping and glazes were introduced as decoration. Various kilns and kiln furniture were designed to make firing more effective.
 
 Roman Samian ware from France compared to imitation Samian made in Britain


 In the activity, I chose different types of pottery to show the improvements in ceramic technology, from Iron Age coarse ware to modern fine ware. Many of them were manufactured in Europe while almost all of them were excavated in Bath, which shows the ancient trades of pottery. The spread of pottery techniques and the imitation of styles are my favourite points, thus I chose a British imitation of Samian. Compared with Samian made in continental Europe, this British samian is of grey and orange fabric, and its surface is variegated. This is due to the preparation of clay and the temperature in the kiln.




 During the display, people enjoyed feeling the decoration and glaze on the pottery, and many people were interested in the Roman finewares. Children were satisfied with their own pieces of clay decorated using stamps, sticks and ropes, just as the ancients did.

Chenxi Sun
University of Leicester MA Museum Studies
Placement with the Collection team




每周二文物触摸体验:古人如何制作陶器?

在巴斯罗马浴场博物馆,每周二晚上六点至八点都会有文物触摸的体验活动,这项活动旨在让更多文物走出库房,让观众有更多机会触摸历史。每周的活动会由不同的组织者制定多样的主题,作为藏品部门的实习生,我有幸组织了八月二十三号的活动:古人如何制作陶器?
从古至今,陶器制作都会经过选炼陶土、造型装饰、入窑烧造的过程。通过观察和触摸陶片,我们可以感知它们经历过的制作过程。早期人群从附近的区域取土,经过简单的晾晒筛选,调和陶土,使用泥条盘筑的方式制作陶器。烧造的过程也相对简单,在平地上堆起柴禾,将陶器没于其中,点火燃烧几十分钟就能获得粗糙易碎的低温陶器。之后的人们则逐渐开始精选陶土,反复过筛,使用轮盘来造型,施釉装饰,并设计了多样而高效的陶窑和窑具。


欧洲生产和本地生产的同类陶器比较


在活动中,我选择了自铁器时代到现代的多样的陶片来呈现陶瓷不断进步的加工工艺。这其中的许多陶器是欧洲生产的,但它们出土于巴斯本地,这反应了欧洲古代繁荣的陶瓷贸易。陶瓷工艺的传播和对流行风格的模仿是我最感兴趣的点,因此我选取了一件罗马时代的英国模仿萨默斯岛风格陶器的器盖进行展示。和当时南欧生产的精美抛光红陶相比,这件器物的胎体呈橘黄和灰色,表面斑驳。陶土的准备和窑内的温度是仿制失败的主要原因。

活动现场

活动过程中,我发现观众们都很喜欢触摸陶器表面不同的釉面和装饰,很多人尤其喜爱罗马时代的精美陶器装饰。孩子们似乎也对他们自己装饰的泥板非常满意。他们使用印章、绳子和木签,就像古人所做的那样。

孙辰希
莱斯特大学 博物馆学硕士
罗马浴场博物馆藏品部实习生




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