A Ceramic journey through the Ages…


Students at Ancaster have been benefiting from the Collection Art Gallery  Loan Service designed to bring museum and archeology to the wider community.


A fragment of a Roman pouring vessel found in Lincoln and loaned to the group for research

The service is coordinated by Dr Erik Grigg, Collections Access Officer at the Collection. WEA tutor Jane Howlett spent some time at the Collection researching and selecting which items would be brought to the group.

The ceramics group began by looking at some authentic fragments of Anglo Saxon and Roman pottery found in and around Lincoln.


It was a unique opportunity for students to get to actually handle some real archaeology…


The potter has left his fingerprints in the clay of this shard of earthenware!

Jane the tutor explained how the potters used hand building techniques to create these pots and a special mixture of sand, grit and ground shells to make the clay more strong and to bind it together during the firing process.

this mixture is known as ‘grog’!

Jane explained that, as the people lived a very basic existence in Anglo saxon times there was often no need to have a flat base on a cup (beaker) or bowl, as they would rest these directly on the ground or hold them!


The students then looked at pictures of the kilns which would at one time have been dotted around central Lincoln.

Everybody agreed they looked either like something out of Star Wars or like igloos!

Jane then encouraged the group to have a try at making some  ‘pinch pots’..


making pinch pots

These are formed by using fingers to build up a bowl shape by easing out the sides carefully, exactly as early potters did.

Students used’ grog’, just as the Anglo Saxons would have done.


Shards of authentic  pottery with the grog clearly visible

As the course progresses students are learning to improve their hand building techniques and will look at how designs were stamped into clay vessels in the bronze age, alongside creating their own stamping tools.








The blog plans to revisit their progress soon!


Exctiting NEWS!

The WEA has a new course in pottery at the Sleaford Hub, Navigation Wharf, beginning in September.

More details to follow on the blog soon, or ring 01522 522 472 for details.

To search all WEA adult education courses, click here

For further details about the Collection Art Gallery and loan service click here


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