No. 42 – April 2002

Secretary’s Notes

Council met on 24th January at the offices of MoLSS in London. Unfortunately few Council members were able to attend. Amongst the absentees was the Treasurer, Bob Will, who at least had the good excuse of being in Egypt for four months! Before he left, however, Bob did circulate the latest accounts to Council, and reported that our current financial position is not very healthy. In order to remedy this, Council have been discussing the possibility of raising subscriptions, which was finally agreed in January. The matter will now be brought to members at the AGM in May.

The Editorial Committee reported good progress with the forthcoming volumes of Medieval Ceramics. Volume 24 is now with the printers and will appear in the spring, hopefully in time for the May meeting. Of the papers promised for Volume 25, just over half have been received, and it is hoped to get this volume out before the end of the year. Liz Pieksma, who has recently taken over the organisation of the Bibliography from David Higgins, will be contacting researchers shortly to arrange for a ‘double’ bibliography in Volume 26 (the tight deadline precludes the feasibility of preparing an annual bibliography for Volume 25). The Minimum Standards document (Occasional Paper 2) continues to sell well. Some progress has been made with the Ipswich Ware volume, although the Trondheim Redwares volume will be subject to further delay.

The new All-Party Parliamentary Archaeology Group (APPAG) was mentioned in the last Newsletter; MPRG has made a submission to the Group, drafted by the President.

The website has proved very popular, and has resulted in an increased number of membership enquiries, as well as a growing number of pottery-related enquiries, some of a very diverse nature, to the President.

With this newsletter you should receive publicity for our two meetings this year – first the one-day meeting in London on May 18th, with the theme of Late Medieval and Early Post-Medieval English Slipwares; and second our annual conference in Dublin from 2nd-4th September. We hope that as many members as possible will be able to attend at least one of these events, and we look forward to seeing you there. The AGM will be held at the London meeting in May (details of agenda, minutes etc are enclosed with this Newsletter); please try and attend if you can. Meanwhile ideas for meetings in 2003 are invited.

The next Council meeting is scheduled for 20th June 2002; if you have any comments or wish to raise any issues, please contact me before then.

Lorraine Mepham, Secretary

MPRG Conference – Dublin, 2nd-4th September

We are looking forward to welcoming many members and non-members to Ireland in September. As noted in the August 2001 newsletter, the conference venue is Trinity College Dublin, in the heart of the city, on the site of a former priory, east of the Viking and Norman settlement. The National Museum is close by, and houses a wide range of outstanding displays of prehistoric (lots of gold), Viking (lots of silver) and now a new medieval exhibition (lots of pottery). The National Gallery, with a new wing with Impressionist paintings is also close by. There are many excellent bookshops but we have also secure the services for one day of the primary suppliers of archaeological books in Ireland, publishers of the quarterly magazine Archaeology Ireland and veterans of Wood Quay!

The Director of the National Museum of Ireland, Dr Patrick F Wallace, has invited the conference to a special reception and viewing of the new exhibition ‘Ireland 1150-1650: those who pray, those who fight and those who work’.

Bed and breakfast has been pre-booked in Trinity for c40 people and the cost will be 52.50 euro per night on a first-come-first-served basis. The cost of the conference for members will be 20 euro and for non-members it will be 30 euro. We would very much appreciate it if those travelling could let us know as soon as possible by contacting Clare.

Speakers already confirmed include Peter Francis, whose recent publications are on Irish Delftware and Irish Creamware, primarily on the Belfast potteries. He will speak on Irish delftware both in Belfast, Dublin and further afield. Prof Terry Barry, TCD, will introduce the historical and archaeological setting of medieval Ireland; Rosanne Meenan will give a paper on post-medieval pottery found in recent excavations in Ireland and Clare McCutcheon will give a paper on the medieval continental pottery in Ireland. Several other speakers have been asked to speak on vessels other than pottery and on a variety of subjects of interest to a wider audience. As already noted, the third day will be spent on some more specific pottery projects including handling and identifying some of the later 10th and 11th century pottery from the later Viking levels in the Dublin excavations.

While no catchy theme title has been coined as yet for the conference, for those of you who know the Irish interventions at various conferences, we would like to be able – gently – to show our many friends in the wider world of pottery studies, that there are many interesting parallels and divergences to be found in the study of post-Roman pottery in Ireland, not least the curious case of why the majority of Roman pottery is found in 11th and 12th century levels!! We are open to further speakers and would welcome the wider MPRG membership offering papers to the conference. The only request is that papers should touch even briefly on the island of Ireland.

Clare McCutcheon

Regional Groups


27th April, West Stow, Suffolk

The next SEMPER meeting will, with any luck, be held at West Stow on Saturday 27th April. The theme will be Anglo-Saxon pottery in the region (Early through to Late Saxon). There will be time to visit the Anglo-Saxon village and the new museum. Speakers will include Paul Blinkhorn, Alan Vince/Jane Young, Anna Slowikowski, Sue Anderson and Sue Tyler. The cost will be £5, including tea, coffee and entrance to West Stow.

SEMPER members should receive a mailing soon, or contact Sue Anderson if you want to come. For further details about the group and its activities, contact Anna Slowikowski, tel 01234 270009.

Meetings and Conferences

Post-Medieval Archaeology Society: Cities in the world, 1500–2000

18th-20th April 2002, Southampton

A conference organised by the Society for Post-Medieval Archaeology, to be held at the Dept of Archaeology, Southampton University. The conference will examine all aspects of urban life during the last five hundred years, with particular attention to international contexts and comparisons and will include opportunities for looking at the post-medieval and historical archaeology of Southampton, a seaport of world importance in the nineteenth century, and of Portsmouth, the city, naval dockyards and harbour.

For further details contact Adrian Green, Dept of History, University of Durham, 43 North Bailey, Durham DH1 3EX.

Medieval or later rural settlement in Scotland

20th-21st April, Edinburgh

The Spring Conference of the Medieval Settlement Research Group in association with Historic Scotland will be held in the David Hume Tower, University of Edinburgh. Speakers include Olivia Lelong (GUARD), Steve Boyle (RCAHMS) and Robin Turner (National Trust for Scotland), John Atkinson (GUARD), Ross Noble (Highland Folk Museum), Piers Dixon (RCAHMS), Fiona Watson (University of Stirling), Strat Halliday (RCAHMS), and Tim Yarnell (Forestry Commission).

On Sunday Dave Cowley (RCAHMS) will lead a field trip to examine the well-preserved and well-documented pre-Improvement landscape in Menstrie Glen, Perthshire. The trip will depart Edinburgh at about 9.00 am, return by about 4.00 pm. Thanks to a generous grant by Historic Scotland there will be no additional charge for the field trip, but numbers will be limited and places allocated on a ‘first come first served’ basis.

Further details are available from Peter Corser, 2/3 Newhouses, Stobo, Peeblesshire, tel 01721 760377.

Getting more for your money: coins for archaeologists

10th June, Colchester

This one-day conference of the Finds Research Group AD700–1700, organised by Philip Wise and to be held at Colchester Castle Museum, aims to provide non-numismatists with a detailed overview of the information that can be obtained through the study of Anglo-Saxon, medieval and post-medieval coinage. In particular it is intended that speakers will explain what makes a coin important during these periods, and how it should be published. Tokens and non-official issues will be included. This is a day not to be missed if you want to gain an insight into this specialist field.

For further information contact: Philip Wise, Museum Resource Centre, 14 Ryegate Road, Colchester CO1 1YG, tel 01206 282928.

Medieval Europe 2002

10th-15th September, Basel, Switzerland

The theme of next year’s conference is ‘Centre – Region – Periphery’. There are eight themes, which are as follows:

  • Cultural regions, economic areas
  • Innovation, communication, interaction
  • Sovereignty and territory
  • Structure and topography of the ruling powerIdentity and demarcation
  • Settlement in inhospitable regions
  • The Regio TriRhena
  • New studies of medieval and later archaeology in Europe (poster session)

The detailed programme and the (final) registration forms will be sent out in Autumn 2001 to all who have enrolled by 1st October 2001 via email, fax or post. Contact Medieval Europe Basel 2002, c/o Archaeologische Bodenforschung, Petersgraben 11, PO Box CH-4001 Basel, Switzerland. Fax +41-61-267 23 76, web

Prehistoric pottery: people, pattern and purpose

12th–13th October, Bradford

The Prehistoric Ceramics Research Group and the Ceramic Petrology Group will be holding a joint conference entitled Prehistoric Pottery: People, Pattern and Purpose. at the University of Bradford. The conference is open to all. Further details are available from Alex Gibson, Chairman PCRG, Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford, BD7 1DP, web


David Gaimster has a few copies of his book, German Stoneware, for sale at £20 including postage. Contact him at 5 East Arbour Street, London E1 OPU.

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