Find of the Month-August North Devon pottery from a recent GGAT excavation

GGAT archaeologists working at the Urban Village excavation site Among ceramic material recovered from a large infill deposit at the Urban Village development in High Street Swansea were two vessels with external slip decoration. One is a jug en sgraffito, of which almost the whole profile survives, that had been used as a container for limewash or a similar material, and probably dating to the end of the 17th century.

Vessels with sgraffito design, together with the much more numerous ‘gravel tempered’ plainwares, were imported in great quantity into the ports of south Wales in the 17th and 18th centuries from the production centres of north Devon, principally Barnstaple and Bideford, when transport by sea and water was the only viable method of moving large quantities of heavy goods such as pottery. The other is a small goblet with splayed base, similar to stoneware types imported from the continent during the 16th century, and probably of somewhat later date. It may also be a product of the North Devon industries, but otherwise may have originated in south Somerset, whose pottery industries also exported widely to south Wales before the trade with north Devon became predominant, or perhaps it is a local product.

The small jug having just been excavated

Both vessels have been carefully and painstakingly restored by Sue Hughes, the GGAT Conservation Officer, and will be on display at Trust Headquarters until their long-term future is determined.

North Devon pottery from a recent GGAT excavation

North Devon pottery from a recent GGAT excavation

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