Methods of dating archaeological evidence
Potters are very rarely mentioned in documentary evidence before the Late Medieval period, and were probably some of the lowest-status craftsmen.
Middle Saxon pottery in East Anglia and Northumbria was made on a slow wheel, but elsewhere in Britain it was still handmade.
Early Saxon pottery (5th to 7th century) was handmade, often locally produced and fired in clamps or bonfires.
Forms produced included simple cooking pots and bowls, lamps and highly decorated 'urns' with incised lines and stamps in panels.
The similarity between Iron Age and Saxon pottery, particularly in East Anglia, can cause problems where no other dating evidence is available.
There is a large amount of archaeological evidence for the pottery industry from the Middle Saxon period onwards, in the form of products and production sites.
However, in the Middle and Late Saxon period (mid-7th to 11th centuries), many potteries were based in towns.