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News and events related to post-Roman ceramics in archaeology. Please submit relevant items for inclusion to Comments may be posted by readers - for example if details of events have changed.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

Ceramics in Circulation

Medieval Pottery Research Group  Annual 1st–4th June 2018, University of Brussels

Call for Papers

In June 2018 the Medieval Pottery Research Group will hold its annual conference at the University of Brussels, on the subject of ‘Ceramics in Circulation’.

The examination of patterns of pottery distribution forms a major part of ceramic studies. For the medieval and post-medieval periods, pottery distribution has informed discussion of trade and production, the transmission of cultural influences and technical knowledge, and patterns of discard. 

This conference aims to move beyond dots on maps and the enumeration of imported goods to explore the dynamics behind the movement of pottery. How and why do pots end up where they are found? And what does that tell us about the societies in which they were circulating?

The committee invites 20-minute papers addressing any aspect of the circulation of ceramics in north-west Europe and beyond, in the medieval and post-medieval periods. 

Possible themes include:
  •  The movement of ceramics between Britain and the Continent 
  •  The means of distribution both by sea (ports, emporia, coastal redistribution, marine trading networks, etc) and by land (transport, marketing, etc) 
  •  Non-trade-related means of distribution (gifts, souvenirs, personal possessions, etc) 
  •  The impact of patterns of discard on spatial distribution 
  •  Distribution of ceramic technologies and fashions (e.g the influence of imported ceramics on indigenous wares, and how technology is learnt and passed on) 
  •  The historical evidence for pottery distribution 
  •  The circulation of pottery within and between households, related to behaviour and use

Please submit an abstract of no more than 150 words to Lorraine Mepham, MPRG Meetings Secretary, by 1st February 2018 (

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Next year's MPRG conference will be held in Brussels over the weekend of 2nd-3rd June 2018, the final schedule taking in either the Friday before or the Monday after is to be decided. The theme and call for papers will be circulated before the end of the year. Watch this space for more details.

The MPRG newsletter was emailed on Friday 8th September, if you have not received your copy it may be because we have an incorrect email address for you. Please contact Sian Iles the Assistant Treasurer to update your contact details and ensure you receive the newsletter and MPRG notices.

Monday, 1 May 2017

Registration for our 2017 conference in collaboration with the Centre for Historical Archaeology is now open.

We have a full and exciting programme including demonstrations by potter John Hudson and a drinks reception at the beautiful Leicester Guildhall.The programme is below, click on link for booking form:

Please return the booking to Lorraine Mepham by 26th May 2017. We look forward to seeing you there.
The programme:
Friday 2nd June
1 pm
Registration (foyer of the School of Archaeology and Ancient History)

2 pm
Welcome: Dr Ian Whitbread, University of Leicester (introduced by Alice Samson)

Session 1 (George Porter Upper Ground Floor Lecture Theatre B – opposite Archaeology building)
2.15 pm
Gaëlle Dieulefet: Between land and sea: archaeological studies on circulation and consumption of ceramics of drink and storage on the French littoral, 13th-15th centuries

2.40 pm
MiglėUrbonaitė-UbėKlaipėda: Between innovation and tradition: case study of drinking vessels from medieval Vilnius

3.05 pm
Yvonne de Rue: Roman Catholic fathers drinking tea

3.25 pm

Chris Jarrett: Bed and breakfast (lunch and dinner) in post-medieval London

3.55 pm


4.15-5.15 pm
Practical session by potter John Hudson, who will demonstrate various throwing techniques, including that of handles; slip-decorating and also tile-making. This session will be repeated on Saturday.

6 - 8pm
Evening reception at Leicester Guildhall
Saturday 3rd June

Session 2 (George Porter Upper Ground Floor Lecture Theatre B)
9.30 am
Craig Cessford: Form, fabric and function: ceramic choices at Clapham’s Coffeehouse, Cambridge

9.55 am
Rachel Askew: ‘It comes in pints?' Measuring capacity in early modern ceramics

10.20 am

Paul Blinkhorn: Working up a thirst: medieval drinking pottery in non-domestic contexts

10.45 am

11.10 am
Julie Edwards: A 16th century tin-glazed ware owl cup and cover from Chester: origins and function

11.35 am
Stephanie Rátkai: Bacchus’ Cup: a look at glass and stoneware usage in the West Midlands

12 noon
Cameron Moffett: Post-Roman amphora reuse at Tintagel, Cornwall: the evidence of paraphernalia

12.25 pm

12.40 pm

1 pm

LUNCH (provided)

Session 3 (George Porter Upper Ground Floor Lecture Theatre B)
2 pm
Arianna Briano& Elena Casalini: Islamic water jug filters: old studies and modern questions

2.25 pm

TâniaCasimiro& Sarah Newstead: 600 years of water drinking: medieval and early modern pottery cups in Portugal

2.55 pm


3.15 pm


Practical session by potter John Hudson, repeated from Friday.

There will also be an opportunity to view drinking wares from local sites, including tea sets and brandy bottles from the recently excavated Southgate site in Leicester.

Conference closes

Monday, 27 March 2017

New Council members needed

Our Treasurer, Imogen Wood  as well as Council member Bryn Morris are retiring at the 2017 AGM. We are therefore looking for people to replace them. In addition, there is also a second vacancy for an Ordinary Member of Council. If you would like to become more involved in the running of the Group and are interested in standing for election to any of these positions nominations please contact the Secretary, Andrew Sage before the 8th April 2017

Reduced price copies and free downloads of Medieval Ceramics

MPRG is offering copies of its journal, Medieval Ceramics, for the bargain price of £1 a copy plus p&p. Volumes 1-7 and 10 are out of print but all others up to Volume 32 are available at this reduced price. 

If you prefer to view the journal on line or would like to see before you buy, Volumes 1-25 and Volume 29 are also available as free downloads from:

For ordering details please contact Sian Iles:

 The Group has recently collaborated with the Prehistoric Ceramic Research Group and Study Group for Roman Pottery to produce 'A Standard for Pottery Studies in Archaeology'  which has been funded by Historic England. The Standard is available free as a PDF from:

or in a free paperback format, please contact Sian Iles if you would like to order a copy p&p free.

MPRG Conference 2017 Leicester 2nd-3rd June

This year’s conference, the ‘Ceramics of Drink’, will be held in Leicester in collaboration with the Centre for Historical Archaeology (CHA) on 2nd-3rd June 2017. We have not abandoned the pattern of a one-day conference alternating with a three-day but we thought the subject and collaboration with CHA may attract more papers and people than could be accommodated in one day. The AGM will be held on Saturday 3rd June and there will be a day rate for those who wish to attend for just one day. 

‘Ceramics of drink’ form a significant part of archaeological assemblages in Europe and beyond throughout the medieval and post-medieval periods. Pottery containers were a preferred way of producing, storing, transforming, and consuming liquid beverages. They are associated with a wide range of human activity from large-scale transnational trade, to ceremonial consumption, to intimate daily rituals within the home. They materialized drinking and social practices, with some undergoing significant transformations, and others staying the same.

This conference aims to explore the important social and economic roles that ceramics of drink filled and how they can be effectively studied by specialist and non-specialist researchers.

There is still room in the programme for papers please contact Meetings Secretary Lorraine Mepham ( as soon as possible.