by Samantha Woodstock – Archaeological Intern
As a new intern at CART, so far, I have experienced water screening, picking, and then categorizing artifacts that have been found at the Site 44FX0704 at Old Colchester Park and Preserve. To start the process of going through the bags of fill, the dirt needs to be washed off by water screening. Once the material has dried, picking involves going through what is left and searching for items of historical value. For example, ceramics, straight pins, leads shot, beads, and more are found throughout. These tiny items are extremely difficult to distinguish from the pile of small gravels and other debris. Once bagged and labeled, the artifacts are categorized into specific data tables that incorporate the type, color, what it could have been used for, and from what time period it was most likely originated. One of the most common ceramics found at Old Colchester Park and Preserve is fragments of creamware.
Creamware is a refined white earthenware ceramic with a clear glaze that was used mainly for table and teawares. The body is semi-porous with thin walls and the glaze of the ceramic is from a lead oxide. The color of the ceramic can range from ivory to a yellow tint to a tan color. Creamware pieces can include molded designs as well as other decorative styles such as overglaze transfer print.
In 1740, a cream-bodied earthenware was introduced by Enoch Booth and Great Britain started to manufacture it with variations on the decoration. In 1762, when Josiah Wedgewood set up his own pottery workshop in Burslem, England, he developed a cream-bodied earthenware with a lead glaze. Wedgewood’s creamware became known as “Queen’s ware” because Queen Charlotte enjoyed it and appointed Wedgewood as the supplier of her dinnerware. In 1768, he produced a second factory with tools and ovens of his own design. Early creamware was a more pronounced shade of yellow. The softer yellow color started around the 1780s. Creamware can be identified by a yellow or green pooling in the crevices of the pottery. For decoration, Wedgewood often used a feather-edge molded rim pattern. By the second half of the 18th century creamware was the most common type of tableware.
The Wedgewood Museum (n.d.) Queen’s Ware. Electronic, http://www.wedgwoodmuseum.org.uk/learning/discovery_packs/pack/lives-of-the wedgwoods/chapter/queens-ware, accessed November 13, 2015.
Maryland Archaeological Conservation Lab 2015 Creamware. Electonic, http://www.jefpat.org/diagnostic/ColonialCeramics/Colonial%20Ware%20Descriptions/Creamware.html, accessed November 13, 2014