Jugs at the Edge of the World: The Production, Trade, and Significance of Pottery in Medieval Ireland, 1169- The Mid 14th Century

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Arts and Humanities | European History | History


Martha Blauvelt, History


The Anglo-Norman invasion of Ireland in 1169 changed the island more than nearly any other event in its history. The Anglo-Normans had a completely different lifestyle than the native Irish inhabitants. The use of pottery was one such difference. Unlike other more ephemeral materials, pottery lasts indefinitely, and it is destroyed only though purposeful human action, or the weathering of geologic time. Further, pottery is part of the greater context of material culture and it can tell us a great deal about the material culture as a whole. As political boundaries shifted rapidly in a complex patchwork, in some areas the invaders and natives began to integrate. If their social cultures interwove, so too, must have their material cultures. Through the evidence left by the production, use, and trade of pottery, we can determine, to what degree the native Irish, Anglo-Irish, and Anglo-Norman colonists' material cultures integrated as the groups moved closer to homogenization.