Date Awarded


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)




Frederick Smith


This dissertation will examine the James River stoneware tradition, which encompasses parts of Henrico, Dinwiddie, Prince George, and Charles City Counties, south and east of the Falls of the James at Richmond, Virginia. This area has one of the richest histories in American ceramics. The essential elements of stoneware production will be examined. This dissertation will provide the only comprehensive overview of this regional industry with in depth descriptions of the relevant potteries, potting families and their environment. Detailed description of ceramic forms and decorations specific to individual potters will be provided. The archaeological research done at the potting sites, much of it participated in by the author will be presented. This will allow future attribution and dating of James River stoneware.;Landscapes of the 19th century James River stoneware industry will be explored and the nature of the potters' craft and community will be analyzed within the Meshwork as used by Tim Ingold. Through applications of both structural and semiotic approaches the production, relationships, and landscapes of the potteries will be organized and problematized. An effort will be made to provide as deep and broad a context as possible including social, political, and economic conditions. Archaeological, historical, and oral data will be used to understand the potters' habitus and the roles of artisans, their neighbors, landscapes and artifacts in actively creating that world.



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