Whilst it is possible to fully appreciate the human endeavour which is required to make any artefact, be it fashioned in glass or metal or wood, there is something properly elemental about early pottery.
It’s wholly plausible that the majority of the items listed in this category were hand-crafted in their entirety, from the extraction of the raw materials out of the ground, through the formation and decoration of the piece to the construction and operation of the kiln in which they were fired.
This, of course, is because such artefacts pre-date any sort of industrialisation, with the influence of mechanical intervention of any kind being limited to the use of crude moulds or perhaps hand-tooled implements to impress designs or motifs on to the items.
The production process was still, essentially, a craftsman sat with a piece of clay - or whatever refinement of that basic resource he may prefer - in his hands, fashioning what would be pretty much the finished form using little more than his own dexterity, assisted by perhaps not much more than a treadle-driven wheel at best
Even when we reach the middle ages, some millennia after the crudest of oil-lamps or sculpted artefacts from classical times, the addition of salt-glazing to Bellarmines, flagons or other stoneware items involved little more than salt being thrown in to the kiln during the firing process, and trusting to luck (and the immutable laws of chemistry).
Although the processes may have been primitive, the scale on which some of these items were produced was prodigious in some instances; one only has to see the footage from the discovery of ship-wrecks in the Mediterranean, laden with row after row of amphorae, or consider just how many oil lamps would have been required to service even a small settlement, let alone larger conurbations, to appreciate that such items were produced in their hundreds of thousands.
But still, each and every one of them would have passed through the hands of their makers, not on conveyor belts or by way of hydraulic pick-ups or on palletised containers, just a team of manufacturers, following their routines, performing their part of the production ritual.
And so although these items may look crude, or rustic, or primitive – call it what you will – they all have an immeasurable depth of affinity with those that made them, however many years ago that may have been – and therein lays their value.
Obviously, not all of these efforts were expended on simple domestic wares, although there was an endless requirement for jugs and storage jars, lamps, bottles, flagons and beakers. Less utilitarian items were also made from the same material, with decorative pieces and those relating to iconography or worship surviving, though you are perhaps more likely to see such exalted articles in a museum than in our small corner of Britannia - with one or two very notable exceptions...