Artifact Spotlight — Annular Ware

Kristi Nichols, Director of Archaeology, Collections and Historical Research
September 9, 2019
Ceramic sherds, the top with a tri-colored cat’s eye design
Approx. Date of Artifact: 1850s — 1920s

These ceramic sherds were located during the excavation of the archaeological units in and around the Long Barrack. The ceramic sherds are a type of refined white earthenware that was mass produced in both Europe and the United States.

The decoration of the sherds indicates that they are from a type of white earthenware ceramic called Annular Ware or Banded Slip Ware. After the initial throwing of the vessel, the potters would apply the colored slips to the biscuit-hard vessel before firing. In some cases, designs would be cut into the biscuit-hard vessel with an engine-turning lathe before the application of the slip which results in a three-dimensional geometric design.

One of the sherds exhibits a tri-colored cat’s eye design likely applied using a three-chambered slip cup. The use of the slip cup appears to have picked up during the early 1800s as patent applications for the tool appear in the archival records about that time.

It is more likely that these sherds represent a vessel that was manufactured in England because there was a high demand from British potters during the early to mid-19th century in United States. All three of these sherds are possible from the same vessel.