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Metalworking crucibles in Roman Britain

Gardner, Carlotta; (2018) Metalworking crucibles in Roman Britain. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London). Green open access

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This thesis presents the results of a systematic study of Roman period crucibles in Britain. Detailed fabric and technical analysis were carried out on crucibles, from two major case study areas, London and Hadrian’s Wall. The ceramic fabrics of the crucibles were characterised through macroscopic, microscopic, and chemical analysis. The results have revealed two distinct technological traditions that appear to correlate with site type. The first tradition identified is wheel-thrown vessels made of white firing, refractory ceramic. These crucibles often have a second layer of clay applied to the exterior surface (EOLs). These crucible types appear to predominate at large urban centres, such as London—the provincial capital of Britain. The evidence collected indicates a high degree of standardisation in the fabric and form, both across sites and over considerable time periods. In contrast, the second tradition identified, predominates at military and periphery settlements. The crucibles found in these settings are handmade and show large variation in form and, to a lesser degree, fabric. These results have been used to explore how the structure of industry varied within different socio-economic environments and identify cross-craft interactions between the metals and ceramics industry. The degree of interdependency between the two is also considered. The practice of applying a second layer of clay to crucibles has been identified as a widespread Roman practice and the impact of these layers have been investigated through a series of material tests. The results have shown that the EOL afforded the crucible protection against catastrophic failure during use at high-temperatures. These results have been used to suggest that metalworkers had an empirical understanding of their materials and tools.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Metalworking crucibles in Roman Britain
Event: University College London
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10056167
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