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Archive of Anglo-Saxon Pottery Stamps
(AASPS)

 

The classification has been compiled over some 30 years and many Categories, Types, Sub-types and Variations have been added since the Archive came into being. It currently includes some 632 motifs. The classification is by shape, to which have been added other special categories, such as animal and jewellery stamps. Every effort has been made to keep the whole as logical as possible, but in some instances this has proved to be impossible. I am in the process of reviewing the entire Classification and removing some of the most obvious inconsistencies.

  The classification was first published in BAR 92 (1981), but it is hoped to publish an up-to-date version giving a complete description of all motifs, in the foreseeable future.

  As a result of using the classification, we have found that it can be used to encode any pot-stamp from Iron Age to Post-Medieval periods. It also provides a shorthand method of referring to individual stamps, which eliminates a long-winded and detailed description.

Categories define the basic shape of the motif; Types provide a first breakdown; Sub-types define it further and Variations provide the final differentiation. In certain Variations, there are so many stamps that Sub-variations have been introduced to subdivide the motifs further.

 

CATEGORY DESCRIPTION

A

Circles

B

Crosses and X-Shapes

C

Squares and Rectangles

D

Ovals

E

Triangles and Chevrons

F

Diamonds

G

Half-Circles, Horseshoes and Crescents

H

S-shapes, Z-shapes and Figure-of-eights

J

Swastikas and Triskeles

K

Animals, Birds and Insects

L

Runes and Rune-type stamps

M

Jewellery and Miscellaneous Metal

N

Impromptu Tools (mostly combs and teeth)

O

Indecipherable

P

Other Geometric Shapes

Q

Trees, Bushes and Leaves

R

Rouletted

Grid Stamps Variations

Grid stamps are classified by how many negative squares they have in each direction. These include the Sub-types A 3a, C 2a, D 2a, E 2a and F 2a.

2 x 2 +
i
3 x 3
ii
3 x 4 +
iii
4 x 4
iv
4 x 5 +
v
5 x 5
vi
6 x +
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Changes in the Classification

As stated above, the Classification grew organically (and not necessarily logically). As part of the exercise of putting it online, certain Type numbers have been revised in order to provide a more consistent hierarchy.

As a result, if you have received classifications of stamps from the AASPS before September 2009, they should be updated as follows:

Old
New
B 2
B 3
B 3
B 2
D 3
D 4
D 4
D 3
L 2
L 3
L 3
L 2

The R Category (Rouletting) was completely revised in February 2010; the H 4 Type was revised in June 2006; the M Category was completely revised in January 2011.

In all cases, if your classifications have been altered, please contact the AASPS to have them updated as a free service.
Please email: archive@aasps.org.uk

 

 

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Archive of Roman Pottery Stamps