Monday, May 3, 2010

Return of the blog!

Hi folks!

I am happy to report that we are returning to the blog more regularly as we continue our work at the Burch and Swann houses in Port Tobacco. It has been wonderful to have volunteers helping out each day we have been working, and their screening sure has produced some great finds!

One of these finds is a piece of 18th-century Rhenish stoneware. Now, I know we have blogged about Westerwald many times, but this is the first time we have found a sherd with an identifiable "GR." These letters stand for "George Rex," King George I, II, or III, and were stamped on vessels exported to the colonies from England. Since our blogging has surely helped you all become experts on Westerwald instead of repeating dates, names, and styles I will try to clear up some confusion regarding the terms "Rhenish" versus "Westerwald."

Rhenish broadly refers to an early salt-glazed stoneware that is either categorized as brown or blue and gray. Both types were exported to the colonies, though the blue and gray variety dominated the market from the late 17th into the 18th Century. Rhenish blue and gray stoneware was first made in Raeren, Germany in the mid-16th Century, but by the end of the century the majority of its production had been moved to Westerwald, also in Germany. These wares were called Westerwald, and happen to be the most common type of Rhenish found in the Chesapeake region.

So now, instead of just showing you this photo from Jefferson Patterson Park as an example...

I can present to you Port Tobacco's very own partial "GR!"

We plan on being back out in the field tomorrow from 9 to 3--look for us over near the Swann House foundation. I hope to see some of you folks there!


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