This fragment is a ceramic archaeologists refer to as North Midlands/Staffordshire type slipware. The word “type” is used here to denote the fact that coarse, slip decorated wares were actually produced in several regions of England throughout the seventeenth and eighteenth century. One feature that unites these traditions is the technique of applying slip, or a very liquid clay, to the vessel for decoration. During production vessels would be formed on the wheel or a mold, allowed to dry to a leather hard state, and then dark brown and white slips might be applied in a variety of stylistic elements to the vessel before it was dipped into a clear lead glaze and fired.

The decorative elements often took advantage of the unique properties of slip. For example, simple trailed lines or shapes could be made through careful pouring of the slip onto the vessel surface. More complex decorations required a greater application of slip, or multiple slips to the vessel. For example, the combed decoration on this vessel required the application of a both a base colored slip (brown or yellow) upon which lines of a second color would be trailed. Then before both slips dried, a special combed tool would be pulled perpendicularly through the lines to create a feathered appearance. The rims of these vessels were often further embellished with an impressed or molded “piecrust” or crenellated edge.

This fragment is a dish or plate form. Such vessels likely would have been used for both the preparation and serving of food at the table. Slipware vessels were ubiquitous in eighteenth century homes and shops, and have been found at nearly every eighteenth century site at Mount Vernon.

Measurements taken from largest sherd.

Object Type

Has it Been Conserved?


Where Was It Found?

Project Site: House for Families    [more details]


Coarse Earthenware



Manufacturing Technology

Press Molded


Unid: Tableware



Decorative Technology


Decorative Patern



Country of Origin



35mm x 0.0000mm x 40mm (W x H x L)

Illustration shows object in comparison to the size of a quarter


5.3 gram(s)

Object Number

1722283. SS V.3

DAACS Number


Project: House for Families

The structure identified as the “House for Families” on the 1787 Vaughan plan likely housed the majority of the enslaved population living at the Mansion House Farm for much of the second half of the eighteenth century. The building was in existence from circa 1760 until it was demolished in late 1792 or early 1793. The archaeological evidence for the structure consisted of a brick-lined storage cellar (44FX762/40-47) measuring roughly six feet by six feet. Historically the cellar served as a handy trash receptacle once it ceased to be used for its original storage function, and through extensive excavation has yielded an extremely rich assemblage of household refuse. The analysis of these remains offers the opportunity to study important aspects of the daily lives of Mount Vernon's enslaved community.

See All Objects From this Dig


Mount Vernon's object research is ongoing and information about this object is subject to change. For information on image use and reproductions, click here.
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