Lead glazing was never widely used in Egypt and Mesopotamia, although it originated in these areas. This may be due to the difficulty of both preparation and manner of firing, which was technically complex. There is also evidence that much of the hard work that went into the production resulted in failure, making the effort not worth the end results.


Roman red-gloss wares were commonly made by dipping the pot or vase into prepared slip, often accompanied by a green lead glaze. Moulds with impressed designs or motifs were normally used to make the actual vessels, although many were wheel-thrown. This procedure was later adapted in various regions and became the beginning foundation of several subsequent pottery innovations, and was in practice up to around 100 BC at Tarsis (Asia Minor), as well as at Alexandria in Egypt. Many of the vessels from these regions were based on metalwork.

Pottery centres were established all throughout the Roman Empire, as it was far easier to create the wares needed ‘on site’, as opposed to transporting breakable vessels. These centres were often near camps or along trade routes, where local and indigenous styles influenced design slightly, but most often Roman techniques were used, thus ensuring their spread throughout Europe.