Medieval Pottery Research Group

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Newsletter No. 37 - August 2000

Editorial

This edition of the newsletter sees the introduction of our new logo, kindly designed for us by Ivan Cumberpatch (Chris' dad), to whom Council is very grateful. This has inspired a new look, which I hope members will like.

I am always interested in receiving information for inclusion in the newsletter. News about members' work, forthcoming meetings, and short articles are all particularly welcome.

Council would like to hear from students undertaking research into medieval pottery, and we would like to include information on this in the newsletter. A thesis abstract could be sent if appropriate. It is hoped to include thesis titles in the Medieval Ceramics bibliography in future.


Secretary's Notes

Council met on 13th June at the offices of MoLSS in Eagle Wharf Road, London. As usual the agenda was full, and much of the meeting was devoted to editorial matters. The most important of these was the publication programme for Medieval Ceramics. This has slipped over the last two or three years, and in order to get back on track the Editorial Committee has proposed that the next two volumes (22 and 23) should be published together in a joint volume, to appear by the end of the year. Some items already submitted for Vol. 23 will be held over to Vol. 24, which will be the 25th Anniversary issue, and will include papers from the 2000 Oxford conference, as well as the 1999 Bibliography. This volume should appear in time for the 2001 annual conference. The perennial problem faced by the editors of lack of contributions to Medieval Ceramics was discussed; it was suggested that short contributions from regional group meetings could be published, and individual members are again reminded that proposals for contributions are always welcomed. Progress is slow on our other proposed publications (Ipswich Ware and Trondheim Redwares), but the Minimum Standards document is currently going through its final editing.

On the subject of publicity, we now have a new logo, courtesy of Chris Cumberpatch's father (to whom grateful thanks), which will adorn this and future Newsletters, and which will be used in any other publicity we issue. Following recent discussions on the need for a permanent web address for the Group (our current web address is excellently maintained by Paul Miles, courtesy of the Oxford Archaeological Unit), Council has decided to proceed with acquiring such an address ('www.medievalpottery.org' was suggested as the most obvious), and to see how this works for a year or two. The costs of acquiring a web address fluctuate, but the average is about £50 per year. The advantages of a permanent address are that it doesn't have to be maintained by one individual, and it guarantees wider inclusion on web search engine lists. It was suggested that back numbers of Medieval Ceramics, particularly those which are now out of print, could be made available on the Web.

We have as yet no news of the proposed conference in Raeren in 2001, but meanwhile an alternative venue has been offered in Edinburgh for spring 2001. This would be a two-day conference, probably over a weekend in May. No theme has been arranged, but a less formal approach than usual was proposed, with a combination of papers and pottery viewing. Clare McCutcheon has confirmed the offer of Dublin as a venue for 2002. The conference could either be in spring or autumn; firm proposals and costings will be presented to the next Council meeting in the autumn. Members who remember the last conference in Ireland (and those who are too young!) will be looking forward to this event.

The President announced that he had been looking for ways in which he could make an input into Council, and in a wider sense find a direction for the Group. He proposed that Council should regularly discuss a broad policy topic that has a bearing on the work of the Group. As the first of these topics, he suggested the relationship of ceramics with other artefactual and environmental categories. Have we as ceramic specialists diverged too much from other specialists? Recent work on prehistoric sites, for example, has demonstrated the success of a more integrated approach to both fieldwork and post-excavation analysis. Council will be discussing this at the next council meeting, and a report will appear in the next Newsletter.

Lorraine Mepham, Secretary


Medieval Ceramics: update on volumes 22 and 23

At the AGM in March, the editorial team outlined their plan to produce two volumes of Medieval Ceramics this year in order to make up for the recent slippage in publication of the journal. Following the suggestion of the typesetters, Avon Dataset, Council has agreed to the publication of volumes 22 and 23 together in one journal. This is intended to be a one-off, combined volume for the years 1998-1999, and will make a considerable saving in production and distribution costs. According to the proposed publication schedule, we will be aiming to distribute the journal early in December - a bumper Christmas offering for members!

We also welcome Lucy Whittingham as the new co-editor and look forward to a profitable working relationship over the next few years. Lucy was elected at the AGM this year as Mike Hughes and Katherine Barclay stood down after completing their term of office. I am sure members would like to thank them for all the hard work, dedication and long hours they have put into the journal, continuing the high standards which were handed on to them when they were elected to office. We wish them both well in all their post-editorial work.

Finally, we welcome contributions from members and non-members alike, subject to peer review, and encourage you to get in touch with the editorial team about any matters relating to Medieval Ceramics.

Jacqui Pearce and Lucy Whittingham, Co-editors

Please contact us at: MoLSS, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7ED. Tel: 020 7566 9325 (Jacqui Pearce) or 020 7566 9312 (Lucy Whittingham)


Regional Groups

SEMPER

Saturday 16th September, West Stow, Suffolk.

The next SEMPER meeting will be on the theme of 'Saxon pottery' and will be held at West Stow Anglo-Saxon Village. The morning session will cover Early Saxon pottery in the South/East Midlands and East Anglia. In the afternoon, there will be short papers on Ipswich Ware and Late Saxon pottery. There will be plenty of time to look around the Saxon village and new displays at lunchtime, and pottery will be laid out for handling. The cost should be about £5 per head, including entrance to the village. Lunch can be taken at the café on site, but is not included in the price. Transport can be arranged from Bury St. Edmunds station if booked in advance. For further details, contact Sue Anderson (see back of newsletter) or Anna Slowikowski (Tel. 01234 270009, email bcas@dial.pipex.com)

London Group

Saturday 14th October, Museum of London.

The theme of the meeting, provisionally, is 'Medieval Mediterranean and Near Eastern Imports in South-East England. There should be a flyer for this meeting included in this mailing. If not, please contact Nigel Jeffries for information, tel. 020 7566 9312.


Postcards

Batches of cards are held by the Secretary, the Treasurer and Alison Turner-Rugg. These are available at a cost of 50 pence each, or 3 for £1. See contacts.


Meetings and Conferences

Society for Clay Pipe Research - Annual Conference

16–17 September, Stockton-on-Tees.

The sixteenth annual conference of the Society for Clay Pipe Research will be held on the 16th and 17th September 2000 at Stockton-on-Tees. As usual, the formal proceedings will take place on the Saturday with displays and a programme of lectures.

The conference will concentrate on clay tobacco pipes and pipemaking in the North-East and papers have already been offered by Peter Hammond on the nineteenth century Gateshead pipemakers, Rex Key on a recently rediscovered collection of Armstrong moulds from Middlesborough and Susie White on the seventeenth and eighteenth century Yorkshire industry. The displays will include pipemaking tools and equipment held by the Stockton Museums Service. Other papers will include an update by Allan Peacey on the latest discoveries from his research excavation at Pipe Aston in Herefordshire. There will be a conference meal on the Saturday evening and, for those wishing to stay on for the Sunday, a tour of local sites of historical and archaeological interest. The conference fee is £6.50 (excluding food) and all are welcome.

For further details, to book a place or to offer a paper please contact David Higgins at 3 Clarendon Road, Wallasey, Merseyside, CH44 8EH, tel 0151 637 2289 by the end of August.

Finds Research Group meeting - The 14th Century

23rd October, Socociety of Antiquaries, London.

This seminar, at the Society of Antiquaries, will examine the material culture of the 14th century. The programme currently includes: History and economy (Chris Dyer), Art/precious metals (Marian Campbell), Base metalwork (Geoff Egan), Pottery (Maureen Mellor), Glass (Rachel Tyson), Treen (Carole Morris), Numismatics (Nicholas Mayhew), Leather (John Cherry), Technology (Justine Bailey).

For further details contact Geoff Egan, MoLSS, 46 Eagle Wharf Rd, London N1 7ED, tel 020 7490 8447.

British Archaeological Association Meetings 2000–2001

Society of Antiquaries, London.

Meetings are held in the rooms of the Society of Antiquaries of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London from 4.30pm. Non-members are welcome, but should sign the visitors' book.

  1. 4th Oct. 'The settlement at Portmahomack, Easter Ross, and the conversion of the Picts', Prof Martin Carver.
  2. 1st Nov. 'Society Ladies: women in archaeological societies 1840-1940', Dr Linda Ebbatson.
  3. 6th Dec. 'Channel Island Churches: their architecture and archaeology', Dr Warwick Rodwell.
  4. 3rd Jan. 'Apocalypse Illustration in 13th- and 14th-century England', Prof Nigel Morgan. Followed by the Association's Twelfth Night Party.

Ceramics Courses

The Archaeology of Ceramics - from Prehistory to 1900

Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke, Ten Saturdays from September 2000 to June 2001, 10.30am–3.30pm.

Tutors: Catherine Banks, Debbie Ford, Jonathan Goodwin, David Barker, Miranda Goodby, and Daryl Baxter.

  1. Introduction to the course (16th September)
  2. Prehistoric to Iron Age pottery (23rd September)
  3. Greek Pottery (21st October)
  4. Roman Pottery (18th November)
  5. Saxon and Medieval Pottery (16th December)
  6. Transition/early post-medieval wares (20th January)
  7. Field Trip: Walking Tour of Burslem and Factory Tour (17th Feb)
  8. Slipwares and salt-glazed stoneware (17th March)
  9. Refined earthenwares and porcelain of the 18th century (21st April)
  10. High status earthenwares and porcelain of the 19th century (19th May)
  11. Domestic and export ceramics of the 19th century (16th June)

For further information, please contact: Dept of Continuing and Professional Education, University of Keele, Keele, Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5 5BG, tel 01782 583436.

A practical guide to Staffordshire (and related) ceramics of the 17th–19th centuries

It is hoped that English Heritage will support further training days of post-medieval Staffordshire ceramics in the late Autumn 2000 or early 2001. The proposal is for two two-day practical training sessions to be held at The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Stoke-on-Trent, with tutors David Barker, Miranda Goodby, Deborah Ford, Katey Banks.

Last year's courses focused upon the identification, dating, terminology, and significance of Staffordshire earthenwares and stonewares of the 17th to late 19th centuries. These wares came to dominate the world markets and are consequently common finds on all post-medieval archaeological sites. Participants had ample opportunity to handle examples of the wares and to contribute to discussions.

Last year's price was £30.00, including 1 night's accommodation, lunches on two days, teas/coffees, all tuition and information packs. If support is forthcoming, it is hoped that a similar format and price will be possible.

For further information please contact: David Barker, The Potteries Museum and Art Gallery, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, ST1 3DE, fax 01782 232500.

MA History of Ceramics

Staffordshire University, Stoke-on-Trent

The course covers issues relating to the history, design, production and consumption of ceramics, with a significant emphasis upon handling and interpretation within a museum environment. The MA Course can be pursued full- or part-time.

For further information please contact Dr Graham McLaren, Staffordshire University, School of Art and Design, College Road, Stoke-on-Trent, ST4 2DE, tel 01782 294565.


MPP Shortlist: Clay Extraction

Angela Simco is preparing a shortlist of clay industry sites as part of English Heritage's Monuments Protection Programme. This covers all aspects of the subject - extraction and all forms of processing, including pottery production. If you would like to make any suggestions of sites which may be worth considering for statutory protection, please contact Angela Simco, 13 Green Lane, Clapham, Bedford, MK41 6EP, tel 01234 354130.


Websites and email

Alan Vince Archaeological Consultancy (AVAC) includes lots of pottery slides taken at last year's Medieval Imports course, information about thin-sectioning, and other useful pottery stuff: see www.postex.demon.co.uk.

Spoilheap Archaeology is my personal website and is still very much 'under construction', but includes information on pottery, human skeletal remains and burial archaeology. Pottery reports will be added soon, as will pictures of local pottery types.

East Anglian Archaeology now has a website which gives details of all reports and the Occasional Papers series.

A new email group, arch-pot, has been set up for discussion of all archaeological pottery from Britain, prehistoric to post-medieval. At present, it is flourishing with over 100 members and lots of postings. You can look at the message archive at the group's website, and also join from there.


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