Dr Peter Warry’s Talk

Pictures and tiles 004When you tell someone that you have been digging and then that you don’t mean working in the garden, 9 times out of 10 their next question is ‘what have you found?’  Their eyes light up expecting tales of treasure or weapons with a tale to tell. What they don’t expect is that the interest lies for many in the evidence of everyday lives lived in the past. Even the dedicated digger may not enthuse over the pieces of brick and tile found on Romano British sites, the ceramic building material usually referred to as CBM, does not excite in the way pottery or bones do.

But Peter Warry has changed that for Roman roof tiles. His detailed studies show the changing shape of the cut aways, the shaping where tiles overlap, has changed over time establishing the date of building and the phasing of sites.  This has contributed to research on sites all over England and into Scotland.

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And some tilers ’sign’ their work with finger impressions


There is also, quite literally, the personal finger prints of the tile maker

The tiles were made in wooden moulds as they were large and the wet clay heavy to handle. Where the maker has pressed the clay down in the angle in the mould he sometimes used his thumb or otherwise two fingers.

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Smooth edges where the clay has been cut can be seen

This was one of the most interesting and informative talks I have heard recently.

Patsy Jones – Trendles Project Volunteer