A Roman ceramic bowl, commonly referred to by archaeologists as a "Dog Dish". The bowl is Black Burnished Ware from the Wareham/Poole Harbour area in Dorset, England. It dates to circa. 200-410 A.D.
The vessel is a plain, straight sided bowl, of hard fired, dark grey fabric, with evidence of burnishing on both the internal and external surfaces. There is a museum collection number"307" painted on the inner bottom of the vessel. Some pitting on interior and exterior surfaces. There is a loss to the rim which has been repaired and painted over. Vessel similar to: Seager Smith & Davies' (1993: 234-235) form 20.
Condition: Part of rim restored otherwise rare to find one of these complete.
Dimensions: Interior diameter: 140mm, Exterior diameter: 152mm, Thickness at rim 6mm, Height 40mm approx.
Provenance: Ex. private collection, UK. Ex. UK auction house.
One of the most ubiquitous types of Romano-British coarseware pottery, Blackburnished ware 1 (BB1), was produced around the shores of Poole Harbour, in South East Dorset. Research has shown that this industry was already well established by the 1st century BC, while reports documenting excavations at earlier Iron Age sites in Dorset indicate that its roots can be traced back to around 700 BC.
BBW 1, as categorised by archaeologists, was distributed throughout Britain from Dorset in the first centuries of the Roman occupation. Originally hand made it was then wheel-thrown and contains iron ores, flint, quartz and other materials as inclusions to stop the bowls, dishes and jars from exploding in the kiln.
The early BBW was made in well established Iron Age kilns in Dorset using local clays and traditional techniques. After the invasion in AD 43 potters used the wheel-thrown technology brought in by the Romans and supplied the army and civilian settlements with finely made wares. It was also used as part of grave goods and we find many examples in that context, including the Maiden Castle cemetery and the Portesham 'Mirror' burial.
Poole Harbour had excellent seams of clay, fuel and water supplies and of course a huge and safe harbour for exports. Ecavations in Dorchester have produced large collections of fragments used for storage, domestic use and preparation of foodstuffs but no evidence that it was used for cooking over a fire.
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