by Sue Whitehouse - 17:00 on 07 July 2019
Left to right: John Crowe (Head of the Friends), Rob Perrin (President of the SGRP), Cameron Moffett (English Heritage Curator)
On Saturday 6th July 2019 we were very pleased to welcome over 50 members of the Study Group for Roman Pottery who came to visit us as part of their national conference. The SGRP was formed in 1971 to further the study of pottery of the Roman period in Britain. The group provides a forum for the presentation and discussion of the latest research, and of issues affecting the subject and its practitioners. The Group currently has over 170 members, from all over the British Isles, Europe and further afield. The Annual conference provides an opportunity for members to visit sites and to handle pottery from different regions.
The group arrived at 3.30pm, after exploring in Mancetter earlier in the day, and our volunteers were ready and waiting to serve refreshments (homemade scones with jam and cream, teas and coffee) in the Village Hall. Cameron Moffett, English Heritage collections curator who looks after our Wall site museum gave a short talk whilst refreshments were being enjoyed. Cameron spoke about new research she has been undertaking into English Heritage’s collections from Wroxeter and Hadrian’s Wall that shows mead (a honey based alcoholic drink) was being made in the Roman period in Britain. Once wine started being imported honey was also used to make mulsum, a popular sweetened wine drink. Evidence has also been found of mead being produced and stored at Tintagel Castle, Cornwall, in the 5th and 6th centuries AD for use in great feasting events. The evidence includes residues left in storage jars, including amphorae, and curious circular disks which were used to seal the jars for storage. Cameron bought some examples along from the Wroxeter collection for SGRP members and Friends of Letocetum to examine.
Suitably refreshed SGRP members then had the opportunity to visit the museum which was opened by the Friends of Letocetum especially for their visit. Many guide books were sold and many donations gratefully received! The group then moved on to a guided tour of the baths and mansio site hosted by Mike and John. Although the weather was cloudy, the rain from earlier in the day held off for the visit. Afterwards the group split into two with half going up into the village to explore the site of the earlier forts near the church and the others were taken for a look at the burgus site off Ashcroft Lane.
The two groups then met again for a last chance to look at the museum and left the site at 6pm. Talking to group members after we returned to the museum they all seemed to enjoy their visit and hopefully will spread the word about Letocetum amongst friends and colleagues.