Medieval Ceramics 22-23, 1998-1999

Medieval Ceramics 22-23

A4, 212 pages, including 6 full-page colour plates


K Barclay, M Hughes and J Pearce
When Did Pots Become Domestic? Special Pots and Everyday Pots in British Prehistory
Ann Woodward
A Late Saxon Pottery Industry in Staffordshire: A Review
Debbie Ford
The Trials of Being a Utensil: Pottery Function at the Medieval Hamlet of West Cotton, Northamptonshire
Paul Blinkhorn
A Medieval Pottery Kiln in Hallgate, Doncaster, South Yorkshire
CG Cumberpatch, AM Chadwick and S Atkinson, with contributions by A Vince and N Walsh
London’s Earliest Medieval Roofing Tiles: A Comparative Study
Terence Paul Smith
Sixteenth-century Pottery from St Albans
Alison Turner-Rugg
Irish Medieval Pottery: a Proposal
Caroline A Sandes
Brickware Objects of Low Countries Origin in the Collections of Hull Museums
D Evans and F Verhaeghe
Jan Emens Menneken of Raeren: Auf der Pfau and far off?
Wolfram Giertz
Reduction and Oxidation in English Medieval Kiln Practice
RW Newell
Minimum Standards: Sampling and Statistics
Clive Orton
Minimum Standards for Quantifying Pottery
Patrice Arecelin and Marie Tuffreau-Libre


A medieval pottery kiln from Stead Lane, Thorner, Leeds
CG Cumberpatch and I Roberts
An Early Medieval Pottery Production Site at Bury Hill, Melton, Suffolk
Sue Anderson and John Newman
Platform Wharf Imported Pottery: Potter’s Inspiration or Stock-in-Trade?
Roy Stephenson
Left-leaning handles
RW Newell
Four Zoomorphic Roof Finials from Worcester
Laura Jones
Some Early Clay Roof Tiles from Bishop’s Waltham Palace, Hampshire
Nicholas JE Riall
Medieval Europe Brugge 1997: an Inside View
Frans Verhaeghe
Corrigendum 162
Obituary: Richard Kilburn 163
Obituary: Bernard Watney 164

Review Articles

CG Green, John Dwight’s Fulham Pottery. Excavations 1971-79 (Robin Hildyard) 165
A Ray, Spanish Pottery 1248-1898 with a Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Hugo Blake) 168

Reviews Articles

CG Cumberpatch and PW Blinkhorn (eds), Not so much a pot, more a way of life (C Orton) 171
J Cotter, A Twelfth Century Pottery Kiln at Pound Lane, Canterbury. Evidence for an Immigrant Potter in the Late Norman Period (Duncan Brown) 172
P Miller and R Stephenson, A 14th-century pottery site in Kingston upon Thames, Surrey (Alan Vince) 173
M Archer, Delftware: The Tin-Glazed Earthenware of the British Isles, a Catalogue of the Collection in the Victoria and Albert Museum (Leslie Grigsby) 173
JM Lewis, The Medieval Tiles of Wales. Census of Medieval Tiles in Britain (Jennie Stopford) 174
Mallorca i el comera de la ceramica a la Mediterrania (Alejandra Gutierrez) 175
C Tonghini, Qal’at Ja’bar Pottery: a study of a Syrian fortified site of the late 11th to 14th centuries (Carolyn Perry) 176
S Gelichi and S Nepoti (eds), Quadri di Pietra. Laterizi rivestiti nelle architetture dell’Italia medioevale (Susan Pringle) 176
M Bartels (ed), Steden in Scherven: Cities in Sherds (F Verhaeghe) 177



When did pots become domestic? Special pots and everyday pots in British prehistory

Ann Woodward

This wide-ranging review considers the social roles of pottery vessels in prehistoric Britain from the beginning of the Neolithic through to the Middle Iron Age – a period of four millennia. The results of recent research, particularly that involving the consideration of vessel capacities and contextualisation, are woven together in order to substantiate a novel and provocative hypothesis, that prior to the Middle Iron Age, most pots were made and used for the consumption of food, drink and hallucinogenic substances in the context of communal gatherings and feasting. It was only from the Middle Iron Age onwards that larger assemblages of ceramics included a wide range of everyday cooking and eating vessels.


A Late Saxon pottery industry in Staffordshire: a review

Debbie Ford

This paper is a review of pottery production in Staffordshire during the late 9th- to 11th-century. It is based on a lecture given at the Medieval Pottery Research Group conference in London in May 1998. Within Staffordshire the main type of pottery of the Late Saxon period is Stafford-type ware. Stafford is the only place where evidence for its production has been found – almost a metric tonne of pottery and the remains of four kilns and their associated pits and structures. However, Stafford-type ware was first characterised in Chester, and is known by other names: Chester ware, Chester-type ware, Stafford ware and West Midlands early medieval ware. The variety of names may cause confusion and it has never been confirmed that they all apply to pottery made at the same production source. These issues are not addressed here. Until the industry has been fully researched archaeologists should be wary of applying undue significance to the identification and dating of a Stafford-type/Chester-type/West Midlands early medieval sherd.

The pottery produced in Stafford has a sandy, hard-fired fabric. Small jars and bowls with convex bases were the main forms. Large jars, pedestal cups, lamps and bowls with socketed handles also occur. The vessels show a range of techniques of manufacture and finish; some are decorated. Stafford-type ware was well-made, but there are variations in quality and finish.


The trials of being a utensil: pottery function at the medieval hamlet of West Cotton, Northamptonshire

Paul Blinkhorn

The excavation of the deserted medieval hamlet of West Cotton in Northamptonshire produced over 100,000 sherds of medieval pottery, much of which was stratified in yard middens. The function of pottery within the hamlet was analysed, using a combination of comparative and correlative statistics, organic residue analysis, spatial distribution and the historic record. The results suggest that different vessel forms within the same functional taxonomy may have had quite different uses that were related to form rather than quality of manufacture, whilst others had additional functions which were quite different from those usually assigned to them by archaeologists.


A medieval pottery kiln in Hallgate, Doncaster, South Yorkshire

CG Cumberpatch, AM Chadwick and S Atkinson with contributions by A Vince and N Walsh

Excavations between Hallgate and Wood Street, Doncaster, South Yorkshire, revealed a medieval pottery kiln and small waster dumps. The site was close to that of a later kiln excavated in the 1960s by the staff of Doncaster Museum. The new kiln (Hallgate 95) proved to be somewhat earlier in date (mid 11th to early 12th century) and to have been used for firing vessels in a range of different fabric types, probably simultaneously.


London’s earliest medieval roofing tiles: a comparative study

Terence Paul Smith

Roofing tiles were used in London from the 12th century and in early decades three systems were employed; they are here compared to suggest why peg tiles superseded their rivals to become the ubiquitous form of ceramic roof covering in later medieval London.


Sixteenth-century pottery from St Albans

A Turner-Rugg

Pottery from eight late medieval and Tudor pit groups excavated in central St Albans is considered here and integrated with that considered in a previous article. Most of the pottery appears to be of local origin, with smaller quantities of wares from surrounding counties and the continent.


Irish Medieval Pottery: a proposal

Caroline A Sandes

This paper begins with a short introduction to medieval pottery studies in Ireland which is followed by a brief overview of Irish medieval pottery research to date. A number of key areas requiring further study are identified and a recent research proposal completed in Wales is examined as a potential model for Ireland. Based on all this, a proposal for future research on medieval pottery in Ireland is then made.


Brickware objects of Low Countries origin in the Collections of Hull Museums

Dave Evans and Frans Verhaeghe

Five brickware objects in the collectionsof Kingston upon Hull City Museums and Galleries have been identified as being of Low Countries origin; these are the first examples known to the authors of a class of brickware objects, dated conventionally from the 13th to the early 16th centuries (with a floruit in the 14th and 15th centuries), to be recognised in Britain. Four of the Hull examples appear to be fragments of candlesticks, whilst the fifth is a spit-support; however, a wider range of contemporary objects was produced by the same brick- or tile-makers.

The purpose of this paper is to draw attention to these finds, and to place them in their wider European context. Such finds are now known from a wide area of North-Western Europe, stretching from Scandinavia to Northern France; the Hull finds are unlikely to be the only British examples in existence, and the publication of this paper may help other researchers to recognise further examples of such brickware objects, particularly in the ports and settlements adjoining the eastern coast of Britain.


Jan Emens Menneken of Raeren: Auf der Pfau and far off?

Wolfram Giertz

In obscurity since its undocumented excavation from 1878-85, the probable workshop site of the master potter Jan Emens Menneken has recently been rediscovered at Raeren-Neudorf, Belgium. An assemblage of signed and dated waster sherds still remaining on site hints at Emens’ activity there from at least 1566 until about 1586/87. The remarkable absence of any wasters assignable to his so-called late work of the period c1588-1593/94, the year of his alleged death at Raeren, is explained by Emens’ possible emigration to the Westerwald region. Supported by archaeological data, art-historical and technological aspects and a reassessment of the archival records, it is suggested that Emens established several consecutive workshops in neighbouring Westerwald villages. Under the name of Johann Mennicken from Raeren, from 1588 until well into the 17th century, he hypothetically became influential in the development of Westerwald-style cobalt-blue stoneware.


Reduction and oxidation in English medieval kiln practice

R.W. Newell

Although the effects of reduction and oxidation on medieval pottery are easily recognized, the technical means of producing them are less well understood. The present paper will look at some aspects of body and glaze reduction and reduction firing in open-topped kilns. Grimston reduced glazed pottery, medieval unglazed greywares and Cheam whitewares will serve as illustrative examples.


Minimum standards in statistics and sampling

Clive Orton

The purpose of statistics is to detect and/or verify patterns in data, and to suggest possible sources of such patterns. Interpretation of patterns so revealed is a matter for archaeological theory. Standards are needed to ensure that interpretations are based on patterns that exist at the level at which the interpretation is to be made (for example, comparison of assemblages in use at a locus; or the effects of site formation processes). The purpose of sampling is to reduce the cost (time, money or opportunity cost) of detecting and/or verifying such patterns. Standards are needed to ensure that the process does not (a) reduce the evidence to a level at which it is not safe to interpret, (b) introduce spurious patterns, or (c) result in redundant effort.


Minimum standards for quantifying pottery

Patrice Arcelin and Marie Tuffreau-Libre

This paper presents a summary of the results recently published of a national conference which was held in France, in Mont-Beuvray, in April 1998. The aim of this conference was to discuss the different methods used for quantitative studies of pottery and to confront the methods used in contemporary studies. We needed a common method which would be accepted by most archaeologists, which was scientifically as sound as possible, and which would also be the simplest, the most efficient, and the least time-consuming. This approach is not new. It is simply the adoption of minimum common standards to permit relevant comparisons between different regions, periods and settlements.