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Place Made:
Edgefield County South Carolina United States of America
Date Made:
stoneware –alkaline-glazed
HOA: 16″; WOA: 13 1/2″
Accession Number:
This wheel-thrown stoneware jar is characteristic of pottery produced in factories operated largely with slave labor in the Edgefield area of South Carolina. On this jar are a series of dots below the rim, a shorthand system indicating which potter created the piece. Patterns in various forms, including punctate marks and other small stamps, reveal that certain workers likely created particular designs. Two slashes incised on the shoulder of the vessel denotes the capacity of the jar, around two gallons. On opposite sides of the shoulder are lug handles. This jar has a rim with an angled underside; its design allowed for covering the jar with a cloth and tying it off after filling it with potted meat, pickled meat, or pickled vegetables. The shape of the handles, overall form, and tucked-in neck are characteristic elements of jars made in the Edgefield area. The jar is glazed with a light brown alkaline glaze. Alkaline glaze is a mix of clay and ash or lime that acted as a flux.

MAKER: This piece was probably produced at the Pottersville site, which was first professionally excavated and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2011. The 2011 excavation revealed a 105 feet-long, tunnel-style kiln used at the site to fire the alkaline-glazed stoneware. In his 2013 dissertation archaeologist George Calfas discusses the kiln and what it suggested about production: “In the Edgefield District, pork was the main staple of the enslaved laborer diet. In order to pickle enough pork to feed approximately 12,000 laborers in a 6-week period of time, an excess of 10,000 6-gallon vessels were necessary for storage.” He also notes that at least two other kilns likely of this scale operated in the Edgefield District of South Carolina in the first half of the 19th-century. The implications of labor force and production, using primarily enslaved workers, are historically very significant. (266)

Baldwin, Cinda K. “Great and Noble Jar: Traditional Stoneware of South Carolina.” Athens, GA: UGA Press, 1993.

Calfas, George.” NIneteenth Century Stoneware Manufacturing at Pottersville, South Carolina.” Ph.D. Diss., Department of Anthropology, Univ. of Illinois, 2013.

Wingard, Philip. “From Baltimore to the South Carolina Backcountry: Thomas Chandler’s Influence on 19th-Century Stoneware.” CERAMICS IN AMERICA, 2013, 38-76.

Credit Line:
The William C. and Susan S. Mariner Collection