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Last Updated: Sunday, 1 April 2007, 11:48 GMT 12:48 UK
Historic pottery found in river
Archaeology Barnstaple
Pottery has been produced in Barnstaple since medieval times
Changes in water erosion while work takes place on a new bridge over a north Devon river has led to the discovery of centuries-old pottery.

Archaeological enthusiast Mike Palmer was among the first to find it on the River Taw in Barnstaple, where the tidal river has scoured the sand bank.

Pottery has been produced in Barnstaple since the medieval period.

Now the finds, some from as early as the 13th Century, will be displayed at the Barnstaple and North Devon Museum.

Complete vessels

The newly-discovered site lies on an isolated sand bank just downriver from Barnstaple Castle.

Mr Palmer has found some complete vessels, including forms that have not been seen before and some so-called wasters - over-fired or unfinished pieces - that were thrown into the river.

Mr Palmer said: "I was surprised that I haven't had to dig anything there, the river does the work and this just washes up."

"The 17th Century pieces show that most of it was waste and the nearest place to put it was in the river, but there's a lot of pottery there from the 13th and 14th century too."

Once the finds, being collected by experts and volunteers, have been washed and sorted they will be studied by pottery expert John Allan of Exeter Archaeology.




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