Butser Ancient Farm

Director Christine Shaw

Firing Pottery in a Clamp Kiln

The following pictures show the stages involved in firing Iron Age type pottery in a clamp kiln. In the first picture, a pit has been dug, and the bottom filled with kindling. The kindling is then lit.

In the second picture, a raft of freshly cut green logs is placed over the kindling and the pottery is stacked onto the log platform.

Sticks are piled over and around the pottery.

The sticks are built up into a pyramid shape.

The pyramid of sticks is covered with earth and turf to seal it in.

After burning for anything up to 24 hours, the clamp collapses in upon itself. Once it has been allowed to cool, the fired pots can be removed from the ashes.

All photographs courtesy of Hannah Dunsterville

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Created 18 January 2002 - Updated 23 November 2003