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---------------- Begin Forwarded Message ----------------
Date:        09/15  6:51 PM
Received:    09/15  11:53 PM
From:        Cathie Zusy, [log in to unmask]
To:          Robert Sloma, [log in to unmask]

Please Post

August 23, 1998
                        PRESS RELEASE

MUCH FOUND DURING RECENT EXPLORATORY EXCAVATION OF
U.S. POTTERY CO. SITE, BENNINGTON, VT (USA)


Much was found during last week's exploratory excavation of the U.S.
Pottery
Co. site, now the location of Bennington Elementary School.  Volunteers
under
the leadership of archeologists Victor Rolando and David Starbuck dug ten
pits
to the south of the school.  Project Director Catherine Zusy estimates
that
over 20,000 ceramic objects were found, at least as many sherds and bits
of
kiln furniture as were excavated during the May 26-30, 1997 dig (in the
southwest corner of the schoolyard).

The United States Pottery Co. (1847-1858) was not only the earliest and
largest 19th-century pottery in New England, but also the first American
pottery to produce figures in parian. While much is known about the
Pottery
itself -- it was the subject of some of the earliest monographs on
American
ceramics -- less is known about the firm's production, and particularly
its
parian porcelain production.

Finds from last week's dig include thousands of fragments of bisque
yellowware, parian porcelain, Rockingham, flint enamel, agate ware, glazed
yellow and white wares, and kiln furniture.  Fragments of the following
known
parian pitchers were found:  tulip & sunflower, charter oak, pond lily,
wild
rose,  palm tree, Paul & Virginia, cascade, and the design Richard Carter
Barret illustrates on p. 81, the bottom right hand corner, in his
Bennington
Pottery and Porcelain.  While formal analysis of artifacts has not yet
begun
-- this will happen after all of the objects found are washed and sorted
--
Zusy reports the following "significant" finds:

--fragments of a parian pitcher decorated in relief with lily of the
valley
flowers and small clusters of grapes (a design not previously identified
with
Bennington)
--a fragment of a parian figure of a dog
--several parian cane heads, with and without mustaches  (as illustrated
in
Barret, p. 327)
--fragments of a parian curtain tie-back, similar to one illustrated in
Barret, p. 137
--several parian sherds of the Paul & Virginia pitcher.  We knew the
Pottery
made this form because marked examples exist, but fragments of these
pitchers
were not found during May 26-30, 1997 and April 20-22, 1998 digs
--several fragments of known Bennington parian pitcher designs in
yellowware
--bisque yellowware faces and fragments of various Toby forms
--bisque yellowware head of a cow creamer
--more yellowware fragments which appear to bear relief decoration not yet
associated with the Pottery

Fragments of parian vases and trinket boxes were not found at the site,
but
Zusy says that this is not conclusive evidence that the Pottery did not
manufacture these items.  Many fragments of other known U.S. Pottery Co.
forms
have not been unearthed during the twelve days total of exploratory
digging
(in 1997 &1998) at the Pottery site.  Furthermore, says Zusy, "the
exploratory
excavations have concentrated in the area to the south of the Pottery.
Digging under the pavement that surrounds the school and under the school
itself could yield fragments of other forms and decoration.  Other
locations
in Bennington -- where the Pottery dumped materials or where soil from the
site was moved during the erection of the schools on the site in the
1870s and
1950s -- could also reveal significant sherds."

Over thirty volunteers assisted with the excavation and washing, sorting,
and
cataloging of finds.  Much more work remains before the significance of
these
objects is understood.  Volunteers are now being recruited to help wash,
sort,
and catalog artifacts in Bennington during the weekends of September 19 &
20
and 26 & 27.  Please contact Cathie Zusy at 617-868-0489 (or
[log in to unmask])
to learn more about this volunteer opportunity.
_______

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