Sunday, May 20, 2012

Early French Ceramics 1

This is probably one of the earliest pieces of French pottery from documented contexts in Illinois. It was found during the 1950s atop Starved Rock, site of La Salle’s 1682/83 Fort St. Louis. The top of the rock, however, was also the site of a significant Peoria Indian occupation during the first decades of the eighteenth century. It is unknown which component this artifact was affiliated with, but in either case, it was probably in the ground before ca. 1720.

The artifact is a fragment of a distinctive green glazed jug (made in western France) known as “Saintonge”, from the region where such pots were produced. Potters there made these lead glazed jugs for centuries, and they were exported across western Europe, as well as the French colonies. Pictured is a non-archaeological example of a similar jug, made around 1800.