Artifact of the Day

Artifacts of the Day: North Devon and Red Border Ware

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Left to Right: Fragment of the base of a North Devon jar or jug, Body Fragment of a North Devon Vessel, Body Fragment of a Red Border Ware Vessel

Today’s artifacts of the day come from the Eutaw Manor excavation from the Spring of 2015. While testing in the west yard of the 1762 manor house, volunteers recovered several pieces of ceramic that date to the earliest European occupation of the park. The two artifacts in the left of the picture are fragments from a North Devon jar or jug.

North Devon are lead glazed coarse earthenwares  vessels commonly found on mid to late 17th- and early 18th-century sites in the Chesapeake region. The particular pieces of North Devon earthenware recovered from excavations in Herring Run Park are of the gravel-tempered variety and can be distinguished by the presence of small gravel fragments intermixed into the fabric of the body.  North Devon gravel-tempered ware became available in the Chesapeake by 1650 and are generally attributed to sites with occupations dating to the last quarter of the 17th century and the first part of the 18th century.

The popularity and availability of of North Devon earthenware corresponds particularly well to date of when John Broad first purchased and occupied this part of Herring Run Park from 1692 to 1709.

The artifact in the right side of the above photograph is a fragment of a Red Border Ware vessel, likely from a dish or bowl. Like North Devon, Border Ware is a type of course earthenware and are found on archaeological sites dating from the late 17th to early 18th century. A distinctive trait of Red Border Ware is the light reddish paste and apple green lead glaze.  Other Border Wares recovered from the Chesapeake region have also been found with lead glazes ranging from yellow, olive green and brown.  The particular piece of Red Border Ware recovered from Eutaw Manor appear nearly identical to other pieces recovered in Maryland, particularly at the King’s Reach Site in Calvert County. The King’s Reach Site dates from 1690 to 1715, mirroring nearly the same period of time this site was occupied by John Broad.

While the majority of the artifacts recovered from Eutaw Manor date to an occupation spanning the mid 18th to early 19th centuries, the presence of these and other early colonial period artifacts suggest Eutaw Manor was not the first home built on the site.  It would seem Eutaw was simply the last in a series of homes built on this very proporty which began in the last part of the 17th century. Hopefully as our investigation continues this spring, we can shed more light on this early history of Herring Run Park.

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