Wednesday, May 5, 2010

More early ceramics

Hi all!

Our last blog took a quick look at 18th-century Westerwald stoneware. This blog features another early ceramic found in one of our units next to the Burch House and that type is...North Devon!

North Devon is a brown lead-glazed earthenware dating to the mid-late 17th Century and early 18th Century. The paste is generally coarse, with a pinkish orange color over a gray core. The gray core is the result of reduced oxygen during firing. This ceramic comes in a few different varieties including gravel-tempered, gravel-free, and Scgraffito. Scgraffito may be the most distinguishable with an incised brown slip on a yellow background, as shown in the image to the above right.

Our large rim piece from Port Tobacco is North Devon gravel-free and some of the smaller sherds are gravel-tempered. The gray core is not particularly visible on the large gravel-free rim(see above for front and back views), though it is quite clear on a side profile of the gravel-tempered sherds (image below). It should be noted that the term "gravel-tempered" is a bit of a misnomer, as while I was cataloging these sherds Jim pointed out that North Devon ceramics were actually tempered with sand, not gravel.

In this region North Devon wares date to the late 17th Century. I have to admit, with a wonky two-toned paste and a yellowish/greenish to brown lead glaze I do not find North Devon to be the most attractive ceramic, but it sure is fascinating to find! These wares usually came in the form of milk pans or butter pots, though other wares for food preparation and consumption are also common. North Devon scgraffito wares were gradually replaced with white tablewares such as tin-glazed earthenware, and the more utilitarian gravel-free and gravel-tempered were phased out as Buckley-type wares became more common.

As always, please click on the images for a better, clearer view--especially to get a look at the two-toned paste. Also, thanks to Jefferson Patterson Park for the information and Scgraffito image.

Tomorrow we return to our excavations at the Burch House in Port Tobacco. Hope to see some of you there!


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