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The following is a basic introduction to pottery in archaeology, focusing particularly on the ceramics of the medieval period.
The bibliography at the end provides references to more detailed and comprehensive sources.
Occasionally whole vessels are found, particularly where they have been used as grave goods or cremation 'urns'.
Methods of stacking vessels in kilns are interpreted from excavated kilns which contain partial loads, but can also be reconstructed from kiln scars on glazed pottery and kiln bars, and from the direction of glaze drips on decorated vessels.Similarly, there is little evidence for tools used. were probably employed, but these would be difficult to distinguish from domestic ones.Also, specialized antler and bone tools and stamps were used to decorate pottery, and a few of these have been found.Inclusions in the pottery, to prevent shrinkage in the kiln, vary between geological regions.Differences in style and fabric helps pottery specialists to identify vessels which are not of local manufacture.
Stamford is the major exception, continuing into the 13th century.