FROM THE PREFACE: The subject of this volume is the growth and development of ceramic production in the Northeastern United States and its relation to changing consumption patterns and more general cultural processes. It is an examination of domestic pottery manufacture in the Northeast from its beginning as a small, family-based enterprise in the 1620s to the entrepreneurial, mechanized mass production of wares in many communities by 1850. Major themes considered include the cultural, social, and economic significance of the domestic ceramic industry as indicated by the extent and nature of regional production in the Northeast; the relation of these production patterns to consumption, distribution, and trade with settlements along the colonial Eastern seaboard and in Europe; and the recognition of patterned cultural variation and change in the Northeast as revealed through ceramics in the archaeological and historic record.
One major theoretical orientation dominates the volume: the relevance of ceramic studies to the anthropological concept of tradition. After an introductory description of specific external and internal mechanisms of change that operate on all traditions, we consider archaeological ceramics in their temporal and spatial contexts as material correlates of human behavior. Patterns revealed in the archaeological record of the Northeast are viewed as suggestive of more general cultural processes operating in the region. The conservative, emulative nature of ceramic traditions initially transplanted to the Northeast is detailed, and subsequent transformations of these traditions are explored. The eventual emergence of a distinctive American industry that was nevertheless still subject to continuing nondomestic influences is also addressed.
By concentrating on domestically produced earthenware--in addition to other domestic ceramic classes such as stoneware--for cultural interpretation, we stress an artifact class that was of great importance in the Northeast, where it usually comprises upward of 80% of the total ceramic sample from typical early colonial sites. Yet, due mostly to lack of available documentation, red-bodied earthenwares in particular have been underemphasized or ignored in many historical archaeological studies of the Northeast. Here, considerable emphasis is placed on these poorly documented wares. The authors integrate recent archaeological and historical considerations of specific domestic ceramic types, varieties, forms, and functions, documentary research, and kiln excavation data for the entire Northeast. We also compare these wares to their European antecedents and to contemporary European and colonial Southeastern wares to interpret their significance in colonial lifeways.
The volume is organized into an Introduction and three thematic Parts. Largely for clarity of presentation, each Part is introduced with an overview. In the chapters of each Part, trends in the development and growth of the domestic pottery-making industry are described and interpreted. Chapters are ordered in a topical and loosely chronological way according to the thematic emphasis of each Part. Part I, "Transplantation: Early Regional Production," is a consideration of the conservative, emulative nature of many of the ceramic traditions that were transplanted initially from Europe to colonies in the Northeast. In Part 2, "Transformation: Access to Local and World Trade," we define subsequent transformations of these ceramic traditions in terms of specific external and internal mechanisms of change common to all types of traditions, interpreting evolving ceramic traditions in relation to changing cultural processes and also considering the impact of continuing in-migration of European potters, techniques, forms, and influences on the budding domestic industry. In Part 3, "Legacy: Emergence of an American Industry," the development of a distinctively American industry by early Industrial Revolution times is addressed. This nineteenth-century achievement is viewed as mainly entrepreneurial and specifically American. Yet, it still bears marks of a persistent, on-going, identifiable European influence.
This volume will be most useful to those archaeologists and ceramic historians working with colonial pottery from the eastern United States. However, it also provides a theoretical, analytic, and interpretive framework for considerations of domestic ceramics and comparable wares produced elsewhere. This treatment, additionally, should serve as a model of general approach, method, and theory for discussions of tradition and the mechanisms of change that operate on all types of traditions. Consequently, this book should be a helpful reference for scholars and researchers working in other regions and with later sites and comparative data, as well.
Historic-period potters and their wares in the Northeastern United States receive long-due attention in this analytical, interpretive, and theoretical synthesis. The volume focuses on the growth and development of ceramic production in relation to changing consumption patterns and more general cultural practices, as well as marketing and world trade patterns between 1625 and 1850.
The editor views archaeological ceramics, in their temporal and spatial contexts, as material correlates of human behavior. Ceramic traditions are explored and defined in terms of their initial transplantation to the Northeast, subsequent transformation, and eventual emergence as a distinctively Americanized industry in which Old World influences persist.
The book gives further attention to other important aspects of ceramic study, including:
domestically produced red earthenwares -- an area often neglected in other works;
comparable wares produced elsewhere;
domestic pottery manufacturing from the beginnings of small, family-based enterprises in the 1620's to the entrepreneurial, mechanized mass-production of wares by the 1850's;
cultural, social, and economic role of the domestic ceramic industry and the nature and extent of regional production;
examination of patterned cultural change in the Northeast as revealed through ceramic research.
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
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