The Spode project begins…

TP_1_decoratedA few days ago I dug a test pit in a derelict area of the Spode factory in Stoke on Trent. Next week we’ll carry out a small excavation not far from the edge of the long-filled-in Newcastle Under Lyme Canal as p[art of the British Ceramics Biennial. My test pit was aimed at finding what lay beneath the surface of what had been a clay-loading area and latterly a car park.

The initial answer was hard-packed brick and stone rubble. Much pickaxing was required. Eventually I reached a horizon which featured some fragments of sagger. A reinforced concrete pile had been drilled through the deposits, an indication of a building apparently associated with handling clay. I need to find its construction and demolition dates. Scattered throughout the rubble was a small amount of transfer-printed pottery, much white unglazed waste and various fragments of kiln furniture.

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