Seeing an ancient face staring back at you from a museum display is a real thrill. It is one of the main reasons that we adore replicating this sought-after style of Roman pottery. Head pots were widely used throughout Roman Britain and are some of the most striking ceramic items produced during Roman rule. They seem to have been a speciality of Romano-British potters.
Romano-British potters individually modelled the almost caricature-like features of these pots onto beautifully wheel-thrown jars. This hand modelling technique is a relatively unusual method of working for the Romans, who often preferred the quicker convenience of mould decoration.
Head pots are believed to have been introduced to Britain by the Roman army, with numerous examples being unearthed at Colchester, where Archaeologists found the original of this pot. Due to the sheer numbers of sherds found, there was likely to have been a prolific production site within the Colchester area for this pottery style.
Although a common find in Colchester head pots are not limited to Colchester, there have also been many head potsherds found along Hadrian's wall.
Their function and significance are, as of yet, not fully understood. Many, but by no means all, head pots have smith tools on them, suggesting a link to the God Vulcan. Many head pots have been found in burial settings lead some to believe that this was their primary usage. However, the majority have been found in settlement sites, so they were more likely to be used prominently in a domestic setting, perhaps for food storage.
Earthenware, reduction fired.
Approx. 190 mm tall, 185 mm diameter
We throw every jar on a potters wheel before having a drying period. After this, the unique decoration and features are hand modelled into every pot using similar tools, techniques and stamps as the original Roman potters.
Each pot has been wood fired in an authentic replica of a Roman Pottery Kiln at Vindolanda Museum, to a temperature of between 800°C & 1000°C, using the same techniques that the original potters would have employed nearly two thousand years ago. This process often results in variations of the surface colour and texture, emulating original Roman pottery and giving each pot its unique character.
Health & Safety
This pot is a Museum Quality Replica made using the tools and techniques that ancient potters would have used during this era. As this is an unglazed pot with a porous surface, it will absorb some of the flavours during the cooking process or when used as food storage, which does add to the taste of future dishes. However, it does also mean that this pot does not meet modern Health and Safety standards, and therefore, we do not advise that you use it for cooking or storing foodstuffs. When ancient cooks used these pots, they relied on applying sufficient heat to the pot and contents to ensure that the heat killed all bacteria. Heating to over 70°C for at least 10 minutes would have killed most disease-causing bacteria, and temperatures of 100°C would do even more.
All items are sent using a second class postal service; if you wish to have an item sent first class, please contact me for a quote. Many Thanks