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Kent Archaeological Review extract

CL BR Tiles at Boulogne.
by Doug Crellin.

Following the reference to CL BR tiles at Boulogne (KAR Number 27), it is of interest that a report on the Boulogne tiles was published by Messrs C I Seillier and J Y Gosselin of the Cercle Archaeologique de la Cote d'Opale.

The report states that the first CL BR tiles were found in a suburb of Boulogne in 1862 and that between then and 1890, fifty tiles were found either in Boulogne (Bononia), or in the neighbouring village of Sainte Gertrude. Among the tiles in the Boulogne Museum referred to in the notice in KAR Number 27 are many from these locations. The sites on which the tiles were found; i.e. the Val Saint Martin and the old port of Gesoriacum, are considered to be probable sites of installations of the Classis Britannica.

Since 1967 there have been regular excavations in the old town of Boulogne and up to 1969 when the report was published, a further forty stamped tiles had been found. The finds since 1967 are listed, fully described and illustrated by the authors who record that some of them bear additional marks imprinted either accidentally or deliberately. It is recorded that animals have left paw marks on drying bricks and that workmen have imprinted an arc of a circle on some of them.

The authors state that earlier attempts to determine the chronology of the tiles by means of the type of lettering have been abandoned and that dating can only be determined by the archaeological context. Unfortunately most of the tiles were found in disturbed layers, although it was possible to give approximate dates for certain imprints. However, the dating was so imprecise and the number of dated tiles so small that it was not possible to draw from them any conclusions on the evolution of the style of the imprints, but the authors are able to classify a limited number of tiles as "earlier" or "later."

The report points out that many types of imprint existed concurrently and that minor variations were due to the short life of the dies which were frequently repeated. It is also suggested that because of the many different sites from which they were recovered, it is possible that the tiles were used on buildings other than those of the Classis Britannica.

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