Day Six at the Roman site on the Nailbourne

Tiles, tiles and more tiles.

Sally writes: One of the striking discoveries is how much Roman tile we have been unearthing, especially at Trench A. Much of this is for a Roman heating system for the villa, where hollow ‘box flue’ tiles were used to conduct hot air around rooms in a form of central heating. The patterning on these tiles is pleasing to the eye, but it is not there for architectural aesthetic reasons. The patterns are the keying, which makes the mortar adhere effectively to the otherwise smooth clay surface. Different keying patterns might be attributable to different tile suppliers, therefore a preliminary analysis of the patterning on some of the tiles was made. The patterned tiles from the Day 6 finds trays (contexts 1003 and 1005) were selected and photographed on a smartphone. The photographic background was the wooden floorboards of the pavilion. A standard 4″ trowel was used as a scale. A preliminary┬ávisual classification and naming system was devised, according to which the below photographs were classified:

Simple chequer-board
Simple chequer-board
Star-combed chequer-board.
Star-combed chequer-board.
Combed circular swirl and multi-criss-cross.
Combed circular swirl and multi-criss-cross.
Straight and diagonal combing.
Straight and diagonal combing.
Combed straight line with adjacent waves.
Combed straight line with adjacent waves.
Simple zig-zag
Simple zig-zag
Repeated zig-zag.
Repeated zig-zag.