The earliest inhabitants of Herefordshire did not have pottery. It was first used in the Neolithic (New Stone Age) about 5000 years ago and pottery of many periods is found on archaeological excavations and scattered on the fields of Herefordshire.
Prehistoric pottery tends to have been made fairly locally, as indeed did most pottery until comparatively recent times. Some fine pottery began to be imported towards the end of the Iron Age and this trade increased considerably during the Romano-British period.
No pottery appears to have been made in the area in the early medieval period (from when Britain ceased to be part of the Roman Empire in 410AD to the 10th century) and very little used. The only pottery found (and found only rarely) was imported.
There are various systems for classifying pottery, evolved over many years of archaeological research. The classifications used on these pages are generally those developed and used within Herefordshire and adjoining areas. Essentially this is the system developed in the 1980s by the late Alan Vince, who was for many years the leading authority on local pottery, particularly in Hereford City. His original system of several groups reflected the supposed origin of the pottery - A to D were locally or regionally produced while E was pottery from elsewhere in the British Isles, F from the European mainland and G was used for pottery the source of which was at the time unknown. Some of this has changed and the source of fabric G1 is now known to be Stafford
With the exception of the Romano-British Severn Valley ware (A1). Group A is locally made medieval and early post-medieval pottery, much of which we now believe was made in Hereford City.
On these pages, where appropriate, other systems which have been used locally have been cross-referenced; in particular, reference is frequently made to the pottery classification used by the Historic Environment and Archaeology Service of Worcestershire County Council.