Refined earthenware ceramics produced in the Staffordshire region of England are among the most ubiquitous artifacts recovered from late 18th- and 19th-century archaeological sites in Maryland. The plate to the left, molded with a rim motif known as shell edge, was made of creamware, a type of ceramic first produced in the 1760s. Thanks largely to the ingenious marketing savvy of its creator, Josiah Wedgwood, creamware was a huge commercial success in England, Europe and the American colonies (Towner 1978).
Creamware’s rise to popularity coincided with rising economic tensions between England and the thirteen American colonies. To raise funds to support the defense of the American frontier, the British government passed in early 1765 The Stamp Act, a tax on printed materials like newspapers, legal documents, ship’s papers and more (Brugger1988). American colonists viewed this act, which was passed without their consent, as an ominous precedent for future taxation. Continue reading