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Archaeologist recreates Roman kiln

A researcher from Standford has built a working kiln based on late Iron Age and Roman models found in Britain.

In the shadow of Hadrian’s Wall, Roman soldiers defended their empire’s northern borders in Great Britain, passed the time in their bathhouses and inevitably drank a lot of wine. They also made an awful lot of pots.

But how? Melissa Chatfield, a research fellow in ceramic geoarchaeology, was determined to find out. Hence, way out on the edge of the Stanford campus, a narrow column of pale smoke rose behind the Stanford Community Farm building last weekend.

The source was a 5-foot-high grass mound atop a 12-foot-square wooden box. It was modeled on several ancient kilns in England dating to the first century B.C. and the early Roman kilns that followed. Chatfield and her crew had been creating the mound for six weeks.

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Story: Stanford University | Photo: L.A. Cicero

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