Fabric and technology
A hard, high-fired granular ware with prominent quartz sand inclusions; varying in colour from dirty white through yellow to dark-red or grey. Wheel-thrown, with prominent wheel-marks on the inner surface and a whorl on the underside of the base, caused by the use of a string or wire to detach the vessels from the wheel.
A very limited range of forms:
|E2||Small carinated jar or beaker|
|E3||Carinated bowl with flaring rim|
|E4||Strap handled jug with pinched or tubular spout|
Table 1. Classification of E ware forms (after Thomas)
Associated with 6th cent. AD Eastern Mediterranean imports on some sites – perhaps commencing as early as c. AD 500 – but importation evidently continues much later than the Mediterranean material, into the 7th cent. AD.
No kilns are known, but the evidence points towards a source in western France, probably somewhere accessible from the Loire or Gironde.
South-west England, Wales, western Scotland and Ireland; a few specimens from the Channel Island and Britanny. There are reports of possible prototypes for E ware of late Roman date from the Bordeaux region.
For typology and description: Thomas 1959; the petrology is described in Peacock and Thomas 1967; Campbell 1984; for distribution: Thomas 1981. Thomas 1990 discusses the relationship of E ware to the historically attested trading contacts between western Britain, Ireland and Atlantic France.
Campbell 1984. Campbell, E., ‘E ware and Aquitaine: a reappraisal of the petrological evidence’, ScottArchRev, 3, 1, (1984), pp. 38-41.
Peacock and Thomas 1967. Peacock, D. P. S. and Thomas, C., ‘Class E imported post-Roman pottery; a suggested origin’, CornishArch, 6, (1967), pp. 35-46.
Thomas 1959. Thomas, C., ‘Imported pottery in Dark-Age Western Britain’, MedArch, 3, (1959), pp. 89-111.
Thomas 1981. Thomas, C., A provisional list of imported pottery in Post-Roman Britain and Ireland, Special report, 7, Institute of Cornish Studies, Redruth, (1981).
Thomas 1990. Thomas, C., ‘Gallici Nautae de Galliarum Provinciis’, MedArch, 34, (1990), pp. 1-26.