Potsherd: Atlas of Roman Pottery

North Kent shell-tempered storage jars

Large storage jars in coarse shell-tempered fabrics produced in northern Kent (GB) and distributed in south-east England and along the east coast during the 1st and 2nd centuries AD.

Fabric and technology

Fairly hard coarse fabric with irregular fracture; dark grey (7.5YR 4/0) or reddish-brown (2.5YR 5/4) surfaces, frequently with thick dark grey or black core; abundant inclusions of shell ‘plates’ (up to 4mm), which sometimes dissolves out leaving flat voids in surface. Examination of shell suggests derivation from fossil Woolwich Beds.


Principal form is large jar with rolled rim, with cordons and band of coarse slashed, impressed or incised decoration at the shoulder. Bead-rim jars and other forms also recorded in same ware.


In London, from Neronian period until mid- or late 2nd cent.


The Kent shore of the Thames estuary, probably from the Black Shore area, near Cliffe.


Principally the Thames estuary region; common in London. A scatter up the east coast as far as the Antonine Wall fort of Cramond (Rae and Rae 1974, fig.21, 7; Bidwell and Speak 1994, 230).


‘Thames Estuary shelly jars’. Monaghan 1987, fabric H1/4h.


Kent coarse fabric 23b.


Pollard 1988, fig.12, 16; Monaghan 1987, 32-3, class 3D1, 3D3; Green 1980, 80.


Bidwell and Speak 1994. Bidwell, P. T. and Speak, S., Excavations at South Shields Roman Fort. Volume 1, Monograph series, 4, Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne with Tyne and Wear Museums, (1994).

Green 1980. Green, C. M., ‘" The Roman pottery’ in Excavations at Billingsgate Buildings ‘Triangle’ Lower Thames Street, London 1974, ed. D. M. Jones, " LAMAS Special paper, 4, LAMAS, London, (1980), pp. 39-79.

Monaghan 1987. Monaghan, J., Upchurch and Thameside Roman pottery. A ceramic typology for northern Kent, first to third centuries A.D., British archaeological reports. British series, 173, Oxford, (1987).

Pollard 1988. Pollard, R. J., The Roman pottery of Kent, Monograph series of the Kent Archaeological Society, 5, Kent Archaeological Society, Maidstone, (1988).

Rae and Rae 1974. Rae, A. and Rae, V., ‘The Roman Fort at Cramond, Edinburgh. Excavations 1954-1966’, Britannia, 5, (1974), pp. 163-224.

Distribution of North Kent shell-tempered storage jars in Britain
Roman Pottery in Britain (Tyers 1996)
  • Fabric code: NKSH (p.193)
North Kent shell-tempered storage jars
URL: http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/NKSH • © Text 1996, 2014: Layout 2012, 2014. Some images may be linked to other web sites.