Ceramic Finials


Finial 732
Finials have been found in the excavation of more than 30 Romano-British sites. Variously called chimneys or lamp chimneys, fragments of at least 4 of these intriguing objects have been found at Easton Maudit, all wheel thrown and in four different shell / grit tempered fabrics. There is some doubt that these objects were always roof-mounted and the author is of the opinion that they were not always intended to vent smoke. No evidence of heat and/or sooting has been noted on any of the examples here. If roof-mounted, we should perhaps be inclined to consider them air vents rather than smoke vents, particularly since modern examples are still used in mediterranean countries for that purpose.

The finial fragment reconstructed above measures 40 cm in height and 27cm in diameter at the base, making it among the largest ever found in the U.K. Four tiers are evident, each having 7 windows consisting of oblongs topped by a 45degree isosceles triangle. The top of the uppermost is missing but the pinnacle was found and is shown to the right.


Finial 732 pinnacle


Finial 731
The finial fragment reconstructed on the left measures 40cm in height and 28.4cm in diameter at the fragmentary lower extent, placing it alongside 732 among the largest ever found in the U.K. Several more fragments were found, indicating the presence of a second tier of windows below that illustrated. Supposing that another tier was present, the height of the whole finial would have been well in excess of 50cm. The top appears to be lacking a pinnacle, being formed by gathering of the clay and incorporating a rim-like opening. The windows are of an arched design, spaced such that the tier shown could have incorporated eight.
The flanges on these finials appear to be designed for the purpose of throwing off water running down them. All the flanges incorporate drip-grooves and are configured so as to discharge run-off onto the flange below, rather than onto the body of the finial. Finial 732 has a radial depression on the upper surfaces of each flange, the slope of which is biased outwards towards the edge.