Children and the ceramic industry in medieval England

Author(s): Kelly Green

Year: 2016


This paper discusses the role of children in the ceramic industry in medieval England, using the work of medieval ceramics specialists Maureen Mellor and Stephen Moorhouse as a starting point from which new evidence relating to this subject can be assessed. Children’s involvement in pottery production manifests itself in a variety of ways, including fingerprints on ceramic sherds, decorative qualities on pots and tiles, and documentary references. Similar studies relating to pottery production in Roman, post-medieval, and contemporary European societies provide context through which the evidence for medieval England can be analysed. As such, this paper draws on a range of ethnographic and documentary evidence to inform our understanding of the archaeology of child labour in the sphere of pottery production in the English Middle Ages, with a particular focus on the later part of this period. It will be shown that children formed a significant (if not always highly visible) part of the work force in many domestic-based industries, and that play formed an important component through which children learned various tasks relating to ceramic production.

Cite this Record

Children and the ceramic industry in medieval England. Kelly Green. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403756)


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min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;