In small things remembered; the sponge decorated ceramics from Inishark, Galway.

Author(s): Franc Myles

Year: 2013


In recent years excavators along the western seaboard of Ireland and Scotland have recovered extensive evidence on domestic sites for the presence of Spongewares and other mass-produced ceramics dating to the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The recovery of this material has opened the debate on the ‘marginal’ nature of such landscapes which has fostered divergent theoretical approaches questioning consumer choices in post-Famine Ireland at odds with received subaltern narratives of poverty and political oppression. Yet such overtly theoretical approaches have served to gloss over more normative interpretations of how the pottery arrived on these sites and the uses to which it was put.

This paper examines the excavated assemblage from Inishark along with surviving intact examples on public display on neighbouring Inishbofin, positing a connection between the vicarious social memory of the islands and the materiality of the seasonal movement of agricultural labourers to Scotland and England.

Keywords: Social memory; Spongeware; Inishark; seasonal migration.

Cite this Record

In small things remembered; the sponge decorated ceramics from Inishark, Galway.. Franc Myles. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Leicester, England, U.K. 2013 ( tDAR id: 428386)


Temporal Keywords
19th-20th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -10.463; min lat: 51.446 ; max long: -6.013; max lat: 55.38 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 588