Archer Beakers Firing June 2006
Bill made a batch of replicas
of the Amesbury Archer Beakers, this page shows images of their firing,
with some notes.
here to return to the main page about the Amesbury Archer Beakers, which also has a YouTube video clip of the firing.
This batch of beakers were made
by Bill and some of his evening class students and fellow Upwey Potters.
They were laid out in a shallow trench - the turf was removed and replaced
A very small fire was built at
one end and then gradually build up around the pots about a foot away,
with large timbers radiating heat from their glowing edges. The timbers
were rotated as the heat died, with smaller pieces of wood burning behind
them and underneath. Radiant heat is better at this stage of drying the
pots - as it reaches them in a controlled fashion. Flames would just waste
heat upwards and might overheat the pots if too close.
Over a period of several hours
the pots are dried out and start to change colour. If this is done too
quickly the dampness would turn to steam within the body of the pot which
might blow it apart.
More wood is then piled around
the pots and the flames start to lick their bases - a moment of truth!
The tops of the pots are then given a while to dry out.
Then more branches are laid across
the top, resting on the side timbers to avoid crushing the pots, which
are very fragile at this stage.
More branches are added, until
a good blaze is going.
A couple of close-boarded pallets
were placed across the top, acting like lids to keep the heat in and build
up the temperature within the fire.
More branches were placed over
the burnt out pallets and then a couple more put on top.
By then the pots were glowing red,
having reached about 800 deg.
Then the fire is left to burn out,
leaving the pots sitting in the ash.
When cooler the pots are moved,
using a stick, out of the fire. The idea is to turn them over so that
the traces of unburnt carbon can burn away, this time they cooled too much
before this was done and so some smudging was left.
to main Amesbury Archer Beaker Page