Money v bartering

Some aspects of life under the Romans were very different to the local Iron Age culture. The Romans used coins as a way of standardising purchasing. By contrast, in the Iron Age people probably bartered for goods. Another major impact of the Roman arrival in Doncaster, for which there is a lot of archaeological evidence, was the creation of a large-scale pottery industry. 


Pots were few and far between in the Iron Age. This was not because people didn’t know how to make them but because they preferred other materials such as leather, wood and metal to make cooking, eating and storage vessels. Those Iron Age pots that are found were made by building up coils of clay. We do not know what people used these pots for, but they may have had a special significance. One almost complete pot found in pieces at Brodsworth has been put back together and is now on display at Doncaster Museum. 

Local potteries

Less than 50 years after the Romans arrived in the region, pots were being made and used in large numbers. These were made by turning clay on wheels, which produced a better quality ware. Potteries have been found at Auckley, Blaxton, Cantley and Rossington. Dishes, jars, bowls, cooking pots and colanders were manufactured there, including oven-to-table wares for cooking and serving food. Mortaria were another common product. These were heavy bowls with a gritty surface and spout used to grind and mix ingredients for meals. 


Doncaster's first named people

Local potters are the earliest named people we know of in Doncaster, because some stamped their names on their products, especially on mortaria. Sarrius, Secundua and Baro are some of the names that have survived on pieces of pottery lost to the soil for almost 2,000 years. They lived and worked in Rossington between 135 and 190 AD. Other potters included Virrinus who worked at Cantley, and Reditas and Sace based somewhere near Doncaster. 

Sarrius was the most productive potter we know about. He moved from Warwickshire to set up his potteries in Rossington in 135 AD. After 35 years he returned home, where he continued to make pots. The names of Secundua or Setibogius were sometimes stamped on mortaria alongside that of Sarrius. They may have been his business partners or apprentices.

For further information, please contact us:

  • tel: 0114 273 6354
  • address: South Yorkshire Archaeology Service, Howden House, 1 Union Street, Sheffield, S1 2SH


Last updated: 01 October 2018 08:22:15

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