Roman shipwreck pots used for puddings

Contributed by Canterbury City Museums

Roman Samian ware pots from the Pudding Pan shipwreck off Whitstable. Copyright Canterbury City Museums

These pots - caught by local fishermen in their nets - were once used by Whitstable families to cook a special pudding!An unusual catch off the North Kent coast

For countless years Whitstable and Herne Bay fishermen have been catching more than just fish in their nets. Hundreds of shiny red-coloured pottery dishes, many complete and in an excellent state of preservation have been recovered from the seabed.

These became prized items in the homes of fishermen, and in Whitstable were used by the womenfolk to make a special kind of pudding - and so the pots and the place where they were found offshore got given the name Pudding Pan!

When families emigrated in the 19th and 20th centuries many took the Pudding Pan pots with them, and so there are examples all over the world from Australia and New Zealand to Canada and the USA. The pots are from at least two Roman cargo ships, either wrecked or the cargoes jettisoned at sea in a storm.

The pottery (Samian ware) was imported from Roman Gaul.

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