A group of black–burnished ware

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A group of black–burnished ware

In the pre-Roman Iron Age native potteries supplying local communities operated in South Dorset around Poole Harbour. The potters worked without the use of wheel or kiln, making highly competent hand-made wares fired in bonfires, typically black wares with burnished surface. These vessels were all found in Exeter.

The Roman army needed such coarse pot for everyday use, and, having gained control of Dorset, used or employed these native potters to supply the army. As the legion moved to Devon their wares were brought to Exeter, where sherds of such vessels form the most common artefacts found in the Roman fortress and town.

Many of the forms of vessel used by the Roman soldiers belonged to types of pottery used in prehistoric Dorset farms; others show that the Dorset potters soon began to make new forms of pot imitating those brought to Britain by the Roman army.

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