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Kent Archaeological Review extract

A Tilemaker's Score from Dover.
by R P Wright.

The lower part of a flat building tile, 20 centimetres wide by 13 high by 3.6 thick, with upper portion lost, was found in 1971 in the Roman 'Painted House' off Market Street, Dover. Before the tile was fired the tilemaker used a stick to cut the letters deeply. He probably started his text with his name and ended it: tubulos]|os (stop) D (with cross bar) Lf(eci). "I, ..... , have made 550 box-tiles (?)." A second writer, using a cursive, or running hand, more skilfully has added in shallower lettering: quassiavi LI, 'I have shattered 51 (tiles).' In the third and fourth lines the space has been filled up in the main by the letter S, placed forwards or in reverse. The symbol resembling delta, when intersected by a horizontal bar, indicates 500, as on the tilemaker's score from:

  1. Wiggonholt, Sussex (JRS xxx (1940) 187 number 20,
  2. Winbolt Sussex Archaeological Collections lxxxi (1940) 66 with figure)

As the verb in line 2 indicates extensive breakage the incomplete word in line 1 has been restored as tubulos (box-tiles), of which 560 were recorded on the Wiggonholt tile. Quassiare (with the letter S reversed in both cases) is a by-form of quassare, and is a form hitherto only conjectured from derivatives in Old French and Italian. The interest of the text lies chiefly in the admission made by the writer of the second line that there had been a wastage of about 9%.

DRAWING: A view of the site.

The building tile showing the writing.

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