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New Paper on Technology, Landscape and Biography in Viking-Age Ceramic Production

New paper by York's Dr Gareth Perry tracks the activities and movements of individual potters in Viking-Age central England.







Gareth's paper 'Situation vacant: potter required in the newly founded Late Saxon burh of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire' published in Antiquaries Journal, presents an extraordinary case study, demonstrating the power of contextualised technological analysis to tell us about both the fine details of the lives of individuals, and the big patterns and processes that characterised the Viking Age.



Abstract: The potters’ wheel was reintroduced to England in the late ninth century. It spread rapidly throughout eastern England, yet little is known about the mechanisms that facilitated its dissemination and success. This article presents the results of multidisciplinary research into the diffusion of this technology. Focusing on pottery production in late Saxon Newark, Nottinghamshire, an industry thought to have been founded by a potter(s) who had relocated from Torksey, Lincolnshire, this study offers a rare opportunity to examine the movements and craft practices of an individual artisan(s). By considering their manufacturing choices in the context of pottery distribution networks and the contemporary political, social and economic climate, it is demonstrated that the supply of pottery to Newark from regional production centres was restricted, creating a gap in the market and providing an incentive for a potter to relocate, encouraging the spread of the potters’ wheel throughout eastern England.



Images from Perry, G.J. 2019. Situation vacant: potter required in the newly founded Late Saxon burh of Newark-on-Trent, Nottinghamshire The Antiquaries Journal 99: 33–61.

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