Saturday, December 19, 2009

Warming the Soul with Suds

I was sorting through some artifact photographs from the 2009 excavations and found this one (left). This is a piece of Rhenish stoneware and, more specifically, a shoulder fragment from a bulbous drinking mug.

Archaeologists recover fragments from these vessels on sites throughout the region in contexts dating from the middle of the 17th century through the first quarter of the 18th century.

Rhenish stoneware mugs (named for the region in which they were made) were relatively inexpensive, sturdy enough to survive the trip from Dutch ports to English ports to the Chesapeake, and ideally met demand for individual servings of beer.

These mugs appear on house sites as well as tavern sites. I find it interesting that the colonists saw these vessels as a necessary part of their equipage. Did they regard them the same way present-day Pilsner lovers treasure their special glasses? Were they used for drinking locally-made small beers and ciders? Imbibing minds want to know.


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