A police fingerprint expert has been helping archaeologists track the work of a 1st Century Roman potter.
Specialist Charlotte Thompson and David Goodwin, fingerprint expert
David Goodwin, head of Northamptonshire Police's Fingerprint Bureau, was drafted in to help prove fragments of pottery found in London were cast by the same man.
A ceramics specialist at the Museum of London, approached the police for help after discovering prints on the ancient Roman relics.
It is thought to be the first time that criminal fingerprinting techniques have been used to assist an archaeological dig.
I think David was disappointed because as a fingerprint expert, he is used to dealing in certainties, but in archaeology, there are no certainties
Archaeologist Charlotte Thompson
Mr Goodwin said: "It was very interesting for me to look at such an old item and broaden my experience of the history of fingerprints.
"The oldest fingerprints I knew of previously dated back to the 16th Century."
He studied images of the nine pieces of pottery, but was unable to determine how many people were involved in making the items.
"Because the detail on the marks is quite poor, all we can say is that on two of the pieces, the prints looked similar," said Mr Goodwin.
Archaeologist Charlotte Thompson, of the museum, had hoped to discover whether the
pottery had been made by one person, or by a group of potters working under a
She said: "The results were quite frustrating, but I can see there is quite a lot of potential for the technique to be used on pottery if there was a bigger sample.
"I think David was disappointed because as a fingerprint expert, he is used to dealing in certainties, but in archaeology, there are no certainties."