No. 34 – August 1999

Council News

Council met on 7 June at the Institute of Archaeology in London. This meeting was the first since the appointment of a new President (Clive Orton) and a new Secretary (Lorraine Mepham). Council expressed their thanks to the outgoing President and Secretary for their hard work over the past few years.

The report from the Editorial Committee was as full and varied as ever. Volume 21 of Medieval Ceramics is published and all members should have received their copies by now. Volume 22 is well advanced and should be published later in 1999. Several items have already been submitted for Volume 23, which may also contain an Index to Medieval Ceramics, one of the ideas mooted to celebrate our 25th Anniversary. Our first Occasional Paper, The Guide to the Classification of Medieval Ceramic Forms, is selling well – about 240 after the Sheffield Conference.

Other Occasional Papers, such as the volumes on Ipswich Ware and Trondheim Redwares, are still in progress. The Bibliography is well in hand. Council has promised to investigate the points raised at the AGM in Sheffield regarding the MPRG web-site, which some members have experienced difficulty in accessing.

Ann Jenner reported on the joint conference in Sheffield in May. This was a very successful event, and we should make a clear profit from it. Feedback so far, from both MPRG and Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group members, has been very positive and Anne is to be congratulated on the organisation of the Conference. It is hoped that the proceedings will be published, although the precise format remains to be decided.

Forthcoming conferences promise to be just as interesting. We have received invitations from both Dublin (via our Irish representative Clare McCutcheon), and Raeren. Council will be pursuing both these invitations, and various options have been suggested for our conference in 2000.

Preparations for our 25th anniversary celebrations continue, with the co-ordination of the ‘Pottery Supergroup’ postcard, and a competition for a new logo.

On the subject of Minimum Standards, there was nothing to report on the MPRG document, but following the presentation of a paper at the Sheffield Conference advocating joint minimum standards for all three national, period-based ceramic research groups (MPRG, PCRG and the Study Group for Roman Pottery), a working party will be formed to formulate a joint minimum standards document. Anna Slowikowski is the MPRG representative on this working party.

Members should note that in Beverley Nenk’s absence from the British Museum, our address has now been changed to “The Department of Scientific Research” at the Museum.

Our next council meeting will be in the autumn. This may be combined with an Extraordinary General Meeting, which will need to be called in order for the accounts for the last two years to be presented to members. It may be best to combine this with a suitable regional meeting. Members will be advised in due course of the date for such an EGM.

Lorraine Mepham, Secretary


The EGM (see above) will probably be combined with the autumn meeting of SEMPER in October or November. Members will receive firm details nearer the date. SEMPER is organised by Anna Slowikowski, St. Mary’s Archaeology Centre, St. Mary’s Street, Bedford, MK42 0AS, tel 01234 270002.

Regional Groups


See news on EGM above.


A meeting of the North-West Region MPRG was held on 10th July in the pleasant and interesting surroundings of the Maritime Museum in Lancaster. The day started with a discussion of recent MPRG matters and Chris Cumberpatch’s letter re regional surveys and fabric reference collections detailed in the last MPRG newsletter. Alan Vince described his recent work on whitewares in the north-east and the rest of the day was spent looking at and discussing pottery from production sites at Silverdale, Ellel and Bilsborrow as well as excavated assemblages from Lancaster and Kendal. Thanks go to Andrew White, Lancaster Museums for hosting the day.

Julie Edwards (NWRMPRG).

New Editorial Team

At the last AGM of the MPRG, held during the group’s annual conference in Sheffield in May, a new editorial team for Medieval Ceramics was elected. This heralded an arrangement which represents something of a new departure for the journal, whereby the ‘transfer of power’ from the outgoing co-editors to the new incumbents is staggered over an interim period of one year. This will allow the valuable experience gained from production of the previous five years’ worth of journals to be passed on to the newcomers in a way which we hope will benefit Medieval Ceramics and its readers. The new ‘team’ consists of Jacqui Pearce as co-editor, with Mike Hughes and Katherine Barclay remaining as joint co-editors until the next AGM of the group in May 2000, when we will be looking for a new full co-editor. Jennie Stopford was elected as the new Assistant Editor.

Production of Volume 22 has been rather delayed, but, as the last journal for which Mike Hughes and Katherine Barclay are responsible in their term of office, is continuing under their editorship. They are continuing to regain lost ground and between them Volumes 22 and 23 will attempt to bring the journal back to a regular publication date in the late Spring of each year. Therefore, the deadline for copy for Volume 23 is September 1st 1999 (main articles). Notes, reviews and conference reports should be with the editors by November 1st. Copies of the Notes for Contributors may be obtained from the editors and their use is strongly urged.

We are keen to encourage a wide range of contributions from members and others, dealing with all kinds of ceramics from the Saxon, medieval and early post-medieval periods (up to c1700). This includes production and building materials, as well as vessels of an infinite variety of forms (as demonstrated by the MPRG Guide to the Classification of Medieval Pottery Forms). All contributions will be considered on their own merits, and main articles will be subject to peer review. If, however, you have a smaller contribution to make, you might like to consider submitting it for inclusion in Compendiario. This provides an ideal forum for the exchange of ideas and information on individual items and groups of interest, or for the publication of interim notes and even offers the opportunity to draw attention to unusual pots which may be difficult to identify and parallel. The editors welcome all contributions, although they reserve the right to direct authors elsewhere when appropriate.

Please direct all texts for and correspondence regarding volume 23 to Jacqui Pearce, Hon Editor Medieval Ceramics, c/o Museum of London Specialist Services, 46 Eagle Wharf Road, London N1 7EE, tel 020 7566 9325

Meetings and Conferences

Archaeological Ceramic Building Materials Group

The inaugural meeting of the group will be on Saturday 9th October at Carey Baptist Chapel Rooms, Hackleton, Northamptonshire. It will include papers on medieval roof furniture, Piddington Roman Villa tiles, and Essex brick, as well as an afternoon session on recording standards. Cost is £2 members, £5 non-members, and £3 for buffet lunch (cheques payable to ‘ACBMG’). For further details contact Sandra Garside-Neville, Secretary ACBMG, 63 Wilton Rise, York YO24 4BT, web

Society for Clay Pipe Research Annual Conference

The 1999 annual conferece will be held on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October at Ludlow, Shropshire. Following the usual format, the Saturday will be devoted to displays and lectures by members on various aspects of their current research. Full details are yet to be finalised, but the papers and displays will include details of recent research in the Ludlow area; recent excavations at a communal late 17th to early 18th century kiln facility at Pipe Aston, Herefordshire; a Civil War assemblage from Pontefract Castle in Yorkshire; an early 17th century kiln from Chester and a 17th century industry at Bugbrooke, Northamptonshire.

Delegates are encouraged to bring along material for discussion and identification. For those staying until Sunday, there will be a guided tour of the history and archaeology of the town and further opportunity for informal discussion.

There is a small fee of £5 to cover the conference costs – all are welcome. For further details and bookings please contact Dr Allan Peacey, 110 Cainscross Road, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL5 4HN.

7th International Congress on the Medieval Ceramics of the Mediterranean

At Thessaloniki from 11th to 16th October. Seventy papers and over 40 posters have been offered under the main themes of: Between East and West: Byzantine ceramics C10th-15th, methods of production and distribution; From Rome to Byzantium, from Fostat to Cordoue: C5th-9th; Maghreb, Machrek and West. Contact BP 17517, GR-540 09 Thessaloniki, Greece, tel 30 31 868 570.

5th European Meeting on Ancient Ceramics (EMAC 99)

The main scope of the meeting, to be held in Athens on 18th-20th October, is the presentation and discussion of recent developments in the field of ceramic studies, with special emphasis on integrated approaches of scientific and archaeological/typo-logical methods. There are also five proposed topics: methodological considerations; chemical, physical and mineral-ogical characterisation for provenance and techno-logy; study of kiln material and reconstruction of kiln function; data handling; developments on dating.

Contact: EMAC 99, c/o Laboratory of Archaeometry, Institute of Materials Science, NCSR Demokritos, Aghia Paraskevi, 15310 Attiki, Greece, tel +30-1-6503392, fax +30-1-6519430

Textile Working Implements

A one-day seminar of the Finds Research Group AD700-1700, to be held at Queen Anne’s School, Bootham, York on Monday 25th October.

For further information, contact Penelope Rogers, Textile Research in Archaeology, 8 Bootham Terrace, York, YO30 7DH, tel 01904634585.

Current Approaches to Medieval Archaeology

Department of Archaeology, University of Durham, 15th-16th April 2000. There is a call for abstracts for papers based on current research on the following themes: Archaeology and History; Scientific methods and applications in Medieval Archaeology; Architecture; The Construction of Identity; Landscape and Settlement; Artefact Studies. Offeres are also invited from anyone wishing to organise a session on any other topic.

Please send paper abstracts and session proposals to: Current Approaches to Medieval Archaeology, Department of Archaeology, Uiversity of Durham, The Science Site, South Road, Durham, DH1 3LE, email, web

Volunteers required to help with sale of books

Volunteers would be welcome to take copies of The Guide to Medieval Ceramic Forms, Medieval Ceramics volumes etc to conferences. If you are going to an archaeological or medieval history conference and can carry a few copies, please contact Alison Turner-Rugg on 01727 751819.

Stamped Romano-Saxon pottery: information wanted

1. Do you know the whereabouts of William I Roberts IV and have an address for him – email, snail-mail, telephone or fax? He wrote a book called Romano-Saxon Pottery, published as No.106 in the BAR British Series in 1982.

2. Are you aware of any stamped Romano-Saxon pottery lurking in museums / unit archives / private collections / unpublished excavations? I am particularly interested in anything that has been discovered and/or published after 1980. Obviously I am aware of everything that appears in Roberts’ book, and I also have casts of the pots in Moyses Hall, Bury St Edmunds. I am interested in Romano-Saxon pottery wherever it is now, but its original provenance must be from Britain, so I’m not looking for information about Romano-Saxon pottery from the continent. By stamped, I mean where the decoration has been impressed into the wet clay using a die and subsequently fired. My dissertation will not (I think) cover freehand, “graffiti”-type decoration or “intaglio”-type stamps, such as are found on Samian ware. The aim of the dissertation is to compare the stamps from the earlier period (pre AD 410 and the departure of the Roman administration, if one must put a date on it), with the stamps from the same locale from the main Anglo-Saxon period to see if there is any correlation and/or continuity. The Archive of Anglo-Saxon Pottery Stamps has been able to demonstrate that certain stamp designs do have a regional bias. I want to see if (pace Richard Reece) the Britons are reverting or if it’s a whole new fashion/trend.

Please reply to me, Diana Briscoe, Archive of Anglo-Saxon Pottery Stamps, 124 Cholmley Gardens, London NW6 1AA. Many thanks in advance for any help you can give me.


20,000 Pots sous les Mers Рle commerce de la c̩ramique en Provence et Languedoc du Xe au XIXe s

An exhibition organised by the Laboratoire d’Archéologie Médiévale Méditerranéenne d’Aix-en-Provence (CNRS) and the Département de Recherches Archéologiques Subaquatiques et Sous-Marines, will be on display from 27th May to 28th November at the museum, Place du Puits neuf, 13800 Istres (tel 04 42 55 40 08). It covers 1000 years of ceramic history on the Mediterranean, including both rare and everyday objects imported long-distance or from nearby villages.

A catalogue, by H Amouric, F Richez and L Vallauri, of about 200 pages and costing about 200F, will be published by Edisud, La Calade, RN 7, 13090 La Calade, Aix-en-Provence, France, tel 04 42 21 61 44.

New Books

Maiolica in the North: The Archaeology of Tin-Glazed Earthenware in North-West Europe c1500-1600.

David Gaimster (ed). British Museum Occasional Paper No. 122, A4, 194 pages, £25.

A flier about this book should be enclosed with your newsletter. Papers in Part 1 cover the background to Italian maiolica and its influence on the Low Countries, production in Antwerp and North and South Netherlands, scientific analysis, documentary evidence, and 16th century imported material in Britain and Ireland. Part 2 consists of eleven case studies of archaeological finds in England, including London, Hampshire and the South-West. Papers cover not only pottery but also floor tiles and a stove. Contributors include David Gaimster, Timothy Wilson, Hugo Blake, Claire Dumortier, Michael Hughes, John Hurst, Jan Baart, Johan Veeckman, Julie Edwards, Alejandra Gutiérrez, Duncan Brown, John Allan, John Cotter, Chris Gerrard, Ian Betts and Jean Le Patourel.

Medieval Imports – brief report on a course

Imported Medieval Pottery, an English Heritage sponsored course at the Dept of Archaeology, University of Southampton, April 1999.

This two-day course, with tutors Duncan Brown and Alan Vince, was the perfect introduction to the medieval pottery of the Rhineland, Low Countries, France, Iberia, Italy and the Mediterranean. There were introductions to the geology of the relevant areas by David Williams, and plenty of hands-on sessions with fine examples of most wares readily available from Southampton Museum’s collection. Company, course dinner and accommodation were all excellent as well.

If you want to attend a course of this type (I strongly recommend it!), write to Sarah Jennings at CAS, Fort Cumberland, Eastney, Portsmouth, PO9 4LD, fax 01705 838060.

Sue Anderson

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