Record Details

NHER Number:11843
Type of record:Monument
Name:Roman mortaria kilns


Two Roman pottery kilns have been excavated at Dairy Farm. The wall, flue, oven floor, fire chamber and stoke hole of the first kiln were recorded in 1976. The second kiln was excavated in 1996. Both excavated kilns had mortaria used in their construction. There is at least one other undiscovered kiln at the site. The kilns produced Roman mortaria. At least five potters worked here. One called Regalis was identified from stamps on the mortaria and is known to have worked in Colchester before moving to Ellingham. The kilns were in use in the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD.


  • A Roman mortaria stamp that belonged to a potter called Regalis. This example was found in Ellingham  © Norfolk Museums & Archaeology Service


Grid Reference:TM 3787 9156
Map Sheet:TM39SE

Full description

17 to 22 November 1976. Excavation. Dairy Farm. Contexts 1 to 39.
Pottery kiln 1.70m diameter. Stacking chamber floor of tile, mortaria and clay supported by central pedestal and multiple side buttresses, flue arch of clay and mortaria, oven chamber floor of clay, walls of clay. Apparently only one phase of construction. Stoke pit to the northeast, oval, 3.50m by 2.70m by 1.20 deep. No pottery in stacking chamber from last firing, but large amount of mortaria built into kiln structure also in flue and in stoke pit backfill. In latter also flagons in quantity and some bowls. Many mortaria stamped REGALIS, herringbone type (at least two varieties) and other as yet unidentified name stamps.
Excavated by A. Rogerson (NAU), N. Adams (NAU) and A. Gregory (NAU).
See published report (S1) for further details.
The archive associated with this work has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 1990.190).
A. Rogerson (NAU), 29 November 1976. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 28 April 2019.

May 1977. Geophysical Survey.
This survey was intended to examine the proposed site of a new farm building and the field immediately to the west.
Unfortunately the site of the new building was in use as a yard and impossible to survey due to the amount of metal debris. Scanning of the field up to a distance of 100m from the farm buildings revealed only weak positive anomalies that may have been pits but were equally likely to represent natural variations in the alluvial gravels.
See brief report (S2) for further details.
D. Gurney (NLA), 15 July 1996. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 8 March 2017.

1979? Dairy Farm (Boon's Farm on Ordnance Survey) on site of Roman kiln. Found in digging foundations for new sheds. Context 40.
16th century? Handle sherd from pitcher, and 13th century? Bung hole pitcher sherd in grey ware.
Information from [1].
A. Taylor (NCM), 1979.

May 1996. Casual Observation.
Narrow trench dug to find water pipe at [2].
Revealed much Roman pot including mortarium sherds, burnt clay and discoloured soil. South section of trench showed vertical edge of highly fired clay, part of a kiln in situ. Some pottery retained. For details and contexts see November 1996 work.
Reported by [1].
See (S3).
Visited by A. Rogerson (NLA) 2 May 1996.
A. Rogerson (NLA), 7 May 1996.

13 May 1996. Visit.
To plan and photograph, and to assess probable excavation requirements of the second kiln.
D. Gurney (NLA), 20 May 1996.

November 1996. Excavation.
Excavation funded by English Heritage of a Roman pottery kiln near to the kiln excavated in 1976 recovered further mortaria of four identifiable and named potters (Regalis, Lunaucis) and a fifth previously unknown. The cumulative evidence points to an earlier, undiscovered third kiln.
See report in (S4) for full details. The results of this work are also summarised in (S5).
The associated archive has been deposited with the Norwich Castle Museum (NWHCM : 2017.624).
D. Gurney (NLA), 1997. Amended by P. Watkins (HES), 27 April 2019.

August 1997.
Trademark stamp from Ellingham found at Wallsend.
D. Gurney (NLA) 15 August 1997.

Monument Types

  • POTTERY KILN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)

Associated Finds

  • ANIMAL REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • MORTARIUM (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • NAIL (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PIN (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • PLANT REMAINS (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • TILE (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • UNIDENTIFIED OBJECT (Roman - 43 AD to 409 AD)
  • POT (Medieval - 1066 AD to 1539 AD)
  • POT (Post Medieval - 1540 AD to 1900 AD)

Protected Status - none

Sources and further reading

---Photograph: ZF, ZQ, ZR, HJA 20-31, HMV - HMX.
---Record Card: Ordnance Survey Staff. 1933-1979?. Ordnance Survey Record Cards. TM 39 SE 16.
---Record Card: NAU Staff. 1974-1988. Norfolk Archaeological Index Primary Record Card.
---Monograph: Swan, V. G.. 1984. The Pottery Kilns of Roman Britain. Royal Commission on Historical Monuments Supplementary Series. 5.
---Secondary File: Secondary File.
---Slide: Various. Slide.
---Fiche: Exists.
<S1>Monograph: Gurney, D.. 1997. A Mortarium Kiln at Ellingham, Norfolk.. East Anglian Archaeology. Occasional Paper Vol 2.
<S2>Unpublished Contractor Report: Griffiths, P. 1977. Geophysical Survey Report. Dairy Farm, Ellingham, Norfolk. Ancient Monuments Laboratory. G 18/77.
<S3>Map: Finder's Map..
<S4>Monograph: Bates, S. and Lyons, A.. 2003. The Excavation of Romano-British Pottery Kilns at Ellingham, Postwick and Two Mile Bottom, Norfolk 1995 to 1997.. East Anglian Archaeology Occasional Paper. Vol 13. pp 1-27.
<S5>Article in Serial: Gurney, D. and Penn, K. (eds). 1997. Excavations and Surveys in Norfolk 1996. Norfolk Archaeology. Vol XLII Pt IV pp 547-564. p 551.

Related records - none

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