No. 52 – August 2005

Secretary’s Notes

The group’s AGM was held on the 18th June during the one-day conference held at the Museum of London. Reports on the MPRG’s finances indicate they are currently in a healthy state and that the group has seen an increased turnover this year. The vast majority of low or non-paying members have been chased up and the number of members the group has currently stands at 305. Of concern are the increasing costs of producing the newsletter; it was suggested that these could be limited by emailing it to members. Equally, the increasing costs of publishing Medieval Ceramics is something Council must consider. The Editorial Committee reported that they had met twice in the last year and thanks were offered to the British Museum for the use of the Maiolica Room on the 27th January. It was reported that feedback received on the style of Volume 25 of Medieval Ceramics was positive and the volume had been well received. A double release of Medieval Ceramics (Volumes 26 and 27) is planned for this autumn.

Details of the 2006 conference were aired. This will be a three-day conference held at Trafford Hall, Chester between 12th and 14th June. The theme will be ‘Pottery From Medieval Institutions’.

The AGM also voted new Council members into position. Both the AGM and Council extended many thanks to all those Council members who have ‘retired’, namely: Maureen Mellor, Barbara Hurman and Lucy Whittingham (who is remaining on the Editorial Committee until Medieval Ceramics is published in the autumn). Victoria Bryant was elected President. Derek Hall has moved roles to become Editor, with Andrew Sage taking over the Assistant Secretary position. Jenny Vaughan and David Dawson were also elected as Ordinary Members.

The London conference on ‘Pottery in Public’ was a huge success with over 35 participants. Many thanks to Duncan Brown for organising the 2005 conference and thanks also to the Museum of London and Beverley Swain for free use of the facilities.

The MPRG Council was due to meet at the British Museum on the 7th July 2005. However, the tragic events of that day prevented the meeting from taking place. The meeting has now been rescheduled for the 29th September.

Anne Boyle, Secretary


University of Hull, Cottingham Road, Hull, HU6 7RX

Part-Time Study to Certificate, Diploma, and/or Degree level, in the Department of History

Each study level takes 2 years, one evening a week (during term), based on the University campus.

No previous qualifications needed.

You may qualify for free or reduced fees.

  1. Archaeology
  2. Regional and Local History
  3. British Maritime History (based at Blaydes House)

Contact: Dr John Walker, tel 01482 465490.

Courses start in early September 2005

Can You Help?

The following photos attempt to illustrate an unusual fragment of pottery from excavations in Newcastle upon Tyne. The fabric is fairly coarse and the date could be anything from 13th to15th century, the broken edge is shown by the broken line. Anybody out there have a clue what this could be? And yes, Steve Moorhouse has seen it!

If anyone has any ideas can they contact Jenny Vaughan (Northern Counties Archaeological Services).

broken rim with pattern
External view of broken rim

broken rim with ?spur
Section of broken rim

Firing Experiments Sought

Cathy Batt and Assunta Trapanese at the Department of Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford are conducting an evaluation of a variety of sampling and orientation methods for archaeomagnetism as part of an EU project on archaeomagnetic dating.

Ideally they want to try these methods out on burnt clay features of recent known date, so they can see whether they give the expected results.

They would be very grateful to hear of any experimental firing of hearths, ovens, furnaces and other structures over the next few months or that have recently taken place. They are happy to travel anywhere in the UK to take samples. The sampling is fairly destructive so it needs to be a feature that is no longer needed. If you can help please get in touch with Cathy Batt.

Burning Issues

If you have any news, problems or information that you feel would be of interest to any other members please do not be afraid to think about getting it included in the next edition of the newsletter. To do so just write to or email Andy Sage.

Regional Group Reports

South-West Group

There will be a Joint Meeting of the Medieval Pottery Research Group (South West) and the Somerset Archaeological and Natural History Society by Courtesy of the Trustees and Managers of Wells Museum and Wells Archaeological and Natural History Society

POTTERY SYMPOSIUM – to explore recent developments in medieval and later pottery studies in the south-west, examine the assemblages from Wells and discuss regional priorities. Please bring any pottery for discussion or identification.

Anticipated break for lunch 12.45–2pm, close by 4pm. Small charge for coffee/tea

All welcome – enquiries to David Dawson.

Mike Ponsford, SW Group Secretary

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