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A History of the World: Roman pottery in Ribchester
Roman pottery
Ken found the pottery in his garden

As part of the BBC's A History of the World project, Ken Ford shares the story of a discovery in the garden of his home in Ribchester.

The house backs on to the site of a Roman bath house and Ken has found many pieces of Roman pottery in the grounds.

"Soon after moving in I found the first piece of pottery whilst gardening," he says.

"It was confirmed as Roman by archaeologists who at the time were excavating the bath house."

Ribchester, by the River Ribble, was the site of a Roman fort, Bremetennacum veteranorum.

'Roman graffiti'

"Over the years, I unearthed dozens of shards, tiles and other items, and learned to recognise the different types - Samian ware, black-burnished ware, rusticated ware, amphorae, flagons, mortaria, floor tiles, roof tiles and flue tiles," says Ken.

"Some pieces I was able to stick together; in one case making an almost complete bowl.

"However the shard that has always intrigued me the most is this piece that has incised graffiti on it.

"Why did a Roman, about 1800 years ago, do this? I have read that sometimes it was done simply to identify it as belonging to the owner.

"What is it supposed to be? I see it as a human figure carrying a long spear - but I'm sure there are other interpretations.

"I would be interested to hear other people's interpretations of the Roman graffiti."

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