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Pottery use in Roman Britain

Most pots were multi-purpose containers, or were made for one use and subsequently used for another, so it is often pointless to try to define their exact function. Basically, they were used in great numbers for the storage, preparation and cooking of food, while some of the finer and more decorative varieties were designed for serving food at the table. As generalised containers, ceramic utensils served for the packaging and transport of many goods, and reused earthenware vessels were also typical containers for the concealment or storage of coins and other valuables and for the burial of cremated bones.

Specialised types of pottery show that people in Roman Britain adopted elements of the Roman lifestyle. Wine, prepared sauces and dried fruit were imported in large amphorae; and cooking ingredients were pounded and puréed in specially designed bowls (mortaria) to produce complex blends of flavours typical of Roman cuisine. Both these types of pottery started to appear in southern Britain before the Roman conquest of AD 43, demonstrating the increasing Roman influence at that period.

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