Multi-flue types were also used later, allowing greater capacity and needing peat or coal as fuel.
Methods of stacking vessels in kilns are interpreted from excavated kilns which contain partial loads, but can also be reconstructed from kiln scars on glazed pottery and kiln bars, and from the direction of glaze drips on decorated vessels.
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Potters are very rarely mentioned in documentary evidence before the Late Medieval period, and were probably some of the lowest-status craftsmen.
There is no direct evidence for type of wheels in use before the 13th century, after which a few illustrations survive.
In Britain, pottery was made from the Neolithic (New Stone Age) period onwards, although some parts of the British Isles were aceramic (did not produce pottery) at various points in time. This crudeness is related to the function of the vessels, which had to withstand thermal shock when placed on a fire for cooking.
Imported wares, such as fine red samian from Gaul, were popular, and wheelmade pottery was manufactured in Britain.
It was a family industry, continuing through generations.
Clay pits were usually dug quite close to the kiln, on the peasant's croft or common.
However, in the Middle and Late Saxon period (mid-7th to 11th centuries), many potteries were based in towns.
Kilns are divided into single, double and multi-flue types. Several experimental kiln firings have been carried out.