Panelists/Speaker: Deborah Miller
“The Potter Hath Power Over His Clay: Slip Decorated Earthenware from Philadelphia”. Deborah Miller, Archaeologist and Senior Materials Specialist for AECOM in Burlington, NJ, and consulting Archaeologist at Stenton in Philadelphia, PA. She previously served as an Archaeologist for the National Park Service at Independence National Historical Park and the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Debbie specializes in the management and analysis of historic period artifact collections, and early American ceramic production, specifically ceramics made in Philadelphia. She is a grant recipient of an American Ceramics Circle research grant on Philadelphia manufactured ceramics of the nineteenth century, and has several forthcoming publications on ceramics production in the Delaware Valley and imported ceramics from Philadelphia archaeological sites.
The recent discovery of the first true American-made porcelain in Philadelphia highlighted the important role that archaeology plays in substantiating and, in some cases, refuting, long standing beliefs about pottery manufacture in early America. Such is the case with archaeologically recovered earthenware from Philadelphia, where new evidence is similarly changing our understanding of these humble, locally made ceramics. While scholars, collectors and museums have largely focused on highly decorated Pennsylvania German examples from Philadelphia’s hinterlands, archaeology has shown that earthenware made in the city in the eighteenth century was the first to exhibit strong European roots that linked the old world to the new. This lecture will explore the archaeology of local ceramics in Philadelphia, their distinctive characteristics and decoration, and the English, German, and French pottery traditions that merged into America’s first unique ceramic style.