No. 51 – April 2005

Secretary’s Notes

The group met at the British Museum on 27th January 2005. News was relayed that the JG Hurst travel fund has got off to a good start, with several donations coming in since January. It was suggested other organisations with which John Hurst was associated might like to promote the JG Hurst travel fund so their members could contribute. It is hoped details about the fund will be included in the newsletters of other societies.

It had been decided previously that a bibliography of JG Hurst’s work on ceramics should be included in Medieval Ceramics. The brief for compiling the bibliography has now been completed. This will build on the bibliography in D Gaimster and M Redknap’s Everyday and exotic pottery from Europe c650-1900: studies in honour of JG Hurst. The bibliography will follow the same format as that employed in Medieval Ceramics and will include an acknowledgement of contributors at the end. A preamble will be added to the bibliography to put it into context.

Work on reviewing the procedures required by the online bibliography has also been completed. Guidelines on how the bibliography is maintained have been produced, as has a search list of journals (compiled by region); an electronic form for submitting the information is currently being devised. Contact has been made with those individuals who previously contributed to the bibliography in the hope they will be willing to continue in this role.

It was reported that a steering group had been put together to oversee the European Production Centres initiative: This comprises of Clive Orton (Director), Derek Hall (Secretary to the European Working Party), Phil Marter, Helena Hamerow and Maureen Mellor. A workshop for all those connected with the working party is being organised by the steering group on 28–29th April 2005 in Oxford. The meeting is open to all and details are available on the MPRG website on the News page.

Nominations for the upcoming vacancies on the council this summer (president, editor and ordinary member) have been received and nominees are being approached. This year’s conference (at the Museum of London, 18th June 2005) has seen a number of early bookings and a final programme is soon to be confirmed.

The next council meeting is to be held in the Maiolica Room at the British Museum on Thursday, 7th July 2005. Any comments or issues to be raised at that meeting should be directed to me before then for inclusion on the agenda.

Anne Boyle, Secretary

A new MA in Medieval Archaeology

University of Reading

The MA in Medieval Archaeology is for students who wish to develop their knowledge of the Middle Ages (AD 400-1500) through the advanced study of medieval archaeology. The programme is distinctive in emphasising social archaeology. The value of interdisciplinary approaches is central, and particular importance is placed on the dissertation. The focus of study is Britain in the context of Northern Europe, and it is possible to choose both thematic and chronological modules. The University of Reading has one of the largest concentrations of medievalists in the UK, and this flexible modular MA gives an opportunity, through the Graduate Centre for Medieval Studies, to follow an option in medieval Latin and palaeography, or history, or literature. Students choose three options and one technical module. All students take two core modules – Research resources and skills, and Issues and debates in medieval archaeology – and complete a dissertation of 20,000 words.

Programme structure

Students take three specialist options offered in the department or GCMS, such as The Archaeology of Early Anglo-Saxon England; Environment and Landscape in the Historic Periods; Archaeology and the Twelfth Century; Burial Archaeology; Gender Archaeology: sex, sexuality and gender in the study of the past; The Archaeology of Later Medieval Religion and Belief; Medieval Latin and Palaeography; An Introduction to Byzantine Archaeology; The Late Medieval Crisis: an archaeological review. They also take three modules on research skills, including Research resources and skills, Issues and debates in medieval archaeology and one Technical research skills module, such as Archaeological graphics, Archaeological theory, and Soils and geoarchaeology. The Dissertation represents 50% of the total mark. The MA is taught by lectures, linked seminars and workshops and is assessed entirely by coursework.

Entrance to the MA degree programme

This MA is designed for students with a good honours degree in archaeology or a related discipline.


Overseas students are invited to apply for bursaries of £1000.

The Department of Archaeology, University of Reading

The Department of Archaeology has an international reputation for its teaching and research and was awarded the highest possible mark, 5*, in the last Research Assessment Exercise. It was also graded as ‘excellent’ in the Quality Assurance Agency Review of Masters and Undergraduate teaching.

Reading medieval archaeologists specialise in interdisciplinary research:

  • Professor Grenville Astill: urban & rural landscapes, technology and monasticism
  • Professor Roberta Gilchrist: religious communities, buildings archaeology, gender and spatial theory
  • Dr Heinrich Härke: migrations, ethnogenesis, burial, Anglo-Saxons, Sarmatians and Alans
  • Gundula Müldner: isotope analysis & the reconstruction of medieval diet
  • Dr Mary Lewis: palaeopathology, particularly children, historic-period diet & migratory patterns

Further information, including a prospectus, from the Departmental website and from Grenville Astill, Department off Archaeology, The University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6AB. The MA can be taken as either a full-time (1 year), or part-time (2 years) degree.

Medieval Ceramics Volume 26/27

The Editorial Committee would like members to know that the next volume of Medieval Ceramics will be printed in September 2005.

Ceramic resource disc for Reid’s Pottery, Newbigging, Musselburgh

George Haggarty has just completed the catalogue of the products of this 19th century pottery. This project which was funded by the National Museum of Scotland and Historic Scotland has produced a visually illustrated catalogue of the assemblage from this site and should be seen as the way forward as regards the archiving of industrial ceramics. The disc is available from at the price of postage.

Regional Group Reports

Scottish Redware figure jug
Scottish Redware figure jug from production centre at Stenhousemuir, Falkirk

Scottish Group

Sourcing Scottish Redwares

The project team of Dr Simon Chenery, Derek Hall, George Haggarty, Lis Thoms, Charlie Murray and Alison Cameron have just submitted the results of the first year’s ICPS analysis and a draft vessel typology to Historic Scotland. Amongst the 268 samples submitted this year are groups of floor tiles from Melrose Abbey, Inchcolm Abbey, Newbattle Abbey, Jedburgh Abbey, Glenluce Abbey and Linlithgow Palace.

Possible production centre at Ceres, Fife

Recent metal detecting of a field near Ceres in Fife located a moderate assemblage of Scottish White Gritty Ware which included at least one waster. Thanks to Fife Council and the National Museum of Scotland a geophysical survey and thin sectioning of some of the sherds has been carried out. Further pottery retrieved from the same field by Dr Colin Martin includes a kiln prop and it is possible that some fieldwork may take place on this potential production centre later this year.

Wharram Percy – Life in a Medieval Village

Special Exhibition 2005

From July 16th a new exhibition at Malton Museum will allow visitors to find out about one of the most important excavations of the 20th century. Discover what is revealed about medieval life. Learn about the people who lived at Wharram Percy, see the objects they used and get an insight into their lives. See the village come to life through a new digital reconstruction and have fun discovering archaeology through hands-on activities. Guided tours around Malton Museum and Wharram Percy will be on offer on certain Sunday afternoons during the summer – please ring the museum for details. Contact Malton Museum, Old Town Hall, Market Place, Malton, North Yorkshire, YO17 7LP, tel 01653 695136.

Open Easter Saturday – 31st October 05 Mon – Sat: 10am to 4pm
Admission Prices: Adults £1.50, Children and over 60s £1.00, Family (2+2) £4.00

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