Brick and tile production in Roman Britain: Models of economic organisation

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Authors: Darvill, T. and Mc Whirr, A.

Journal: World Archaeology

Volume: 15

Issue: 3

Pages: 239-261

eISSN: 1470-1375

ISSN: 0043-8243

DOI: 10.1080/00438243.1984.9979904

The results of systematically sampling stamped Roman ceramic bricks and tiles from the Cotswolds and Lower Severn Valley, England, are brought together to provide an overview of production and distribution in the Roman tile industry. A general model of economic organisation is developed by combining expected patterns within the ‘heavy sector’ of the Roman economy with details obtained from accounts of recent brick and tile production. A series of idealised modes of production are identified and compared with the recorded archaeological evidence using variables drawn from the general model. It is concluded that the organisation of the Roman tile industry was more complicated than previously imagined, and that the variety of demands created by different types of consumer were met by a variety of responses including nucleated industries, rural workshops and peripatetic production. © 1984 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

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