A complex industry producing colour-coated and other wares in the traditions of the Lower Rhineland, Colchester and the Nene Valley was located at Pakenham. Three different surface treatments on one fabric are represented here and include colour-coated, mica-dusted and white-slipped wares. A variety of vessel types was produced in these fabrics, including rouletted and indented beakers, rouletted bowls and lids and painted bowls similar to Dragendorff 35/6.
Our fabric divisions are united by being pale orange-brown (5YR 7/6) or red-brown (10R 6/8–5/8). They are hard with an irregular fracture and a rough/powdery feel.
Essentially this is a well-sorted inclusion suite, mostly 0.1–0.2mm, set in a clean clay matrix containing common fine silver mica. Quartz is abundant, occasionally to 0.5mm, while black and red-brown iron-rich grains and limestone, to 1.0mm, are sparse. Larger red-brown argillaceous grains are infrequent, but may occur up to 1.5mm.
Due to their overall similarity, one sample of colourcoated ware was considered representative of these fabrics. In section well-sorted abundant quartz, frequently 0.1–0.2mm in size, with occasional larger grains (to c 0.5mm) is visible. The isotropic matrix is micaceous, consisting of abundant muscovite and biotite mica (to c 0.3mm). Opaques are sparse, but mirror the other inclusions in size. Also present, although never common, are polycrystalline quartz and flint, and smaller quantities of feldspar, quartzite and fine-grained sandstone. Rare amphiboles can also be identified. Streaks of anisotropic clay, equating to the argillaceous grains described for the hand specimen, are also visible.
The industry is known from kilns in and near a substantial ‘small town’ at Pakenham in north-west Suffolk (Smedley & Owles 1961).
Suffolk County Council, Bury St Edmunds
Suffolk County Council Archaeology Section, Bury St Edmunds; Ipswich Museum
Smedley, N, & Owles, E, 1961 Some Suffolk kilns: II. Two kilns making colour-coated ware at Grimstone End, Pakenham, Proc Suffolk Inst Archaeol Hist 28, 203–25
Slips on this ware are thin and matt, usually dark brown (5YR 4/1–3/1, 10YR 3/1) or red-brown (10R 5/8) in colour. Beakers were frequently produced in this fabric group.
The surface colour of our mica-dusted sample is close to the hue of the body, although slightly darker on the exterior surface (5YR 6/6) and covered with abundant flakes of gold mica up to 0.5mm. Bowls are the most common product of this fabric variant.
Our example has a slipped surface, cream (10YR 8/3) in colour. Jars and flagons are typical, often with horizontal bands of brown paint (7.5YR 4/2).