Document Type



Date of Award


First Advisor
John M. Bryan

In September 1765, an advertisement in the South Carolina Gazette announced the establishment of a potworks near Charleston. The gentleman in question was John Bartlam, a resident of Stoke-on-Trent Parish in Staffordshire, England, who had been in the potting business for roughly twelve years before immigrating to Charleston. The full impact of Bartlam' s potworks on the colonial ceramics trade is still unknown, as Bartlam's kiln has not been found. But archaeological excavations at Cainhoy, South Carolina (38BK1349), the site of his pottery from 1763 to 1769, have revealed many ceramic artifacts including some that archaeologist Stanley South identified as possible Bartlam products. In his analysis of the 1992 excavations at Cainhoy, Dr. South discussed over 80 distinct pottery types on the site, consisting of imported European ceramics, Native American pottery, colonoware, and the proposed Bartlam wares.

Several of the Bartlam pieces so closely mirror the imported wares that a distinction can scarcely be made. Subsequent excavations on the same location (38BK1349A) provided clearer evidence of Bartlam's success as a potter, but the number of wares attributable to the potter was still unclear. In 1993, excavations revealed nearly 17,000 ceramic sherds, providing a broader representation of the contemporary ceramic market in the greater Charleston area during the mid-eighteenth century. Although the preliminary analysis was completed in 1994, subsequent research is still needed to separate the wares being made locally by Bartlam from those which were being imported from England and continental Europe. A complete analysis of Charleston ceramics would provide a much-needed baseline with which we could compare Bartlam's locally-made wares.

The documentary and archaeological evidence summarized in this report presents a picture of Charleston's consumption patterns and of the quality of wares arriving in the colonies annually during the 1760s. The intent of this thesis is to analyze the Charleston ceramics market, paying special attention to documentary and archaeological evidence which may help to delineate the Charleston profile as distinguishable from other colonial centers. My conclusions will serve as the basis for a reanalysis of archaeological samplings at Cainhoy, and may provide a comparative database for historical and archaeological research on historic ceramics in other Charleston sites.