Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


Historical Archaeology

First Advisor

Christa M. Beranek

Second Advisor

Stephen A. Mrozowski

Third Advisor

John M. Steinberg


Redware ceramic sherds are frequently found in New England historical archaeological sites; however, detailed data has not always been published regarding excavated New England earthenware pottery production sites. The goal of this thesis is to contribute to the small body of research on New England redware production through the study of the life and ceramic production techniques of the Bradford family pottery. Their workshop operated in Kingston, Massachusetts, from the 1780s to the 1870s, a time when stoneware production and industrial scale ceramics manufacturing took hold in America. Documentary study of the Bradford family and the ceramics industry shows that they operated a small, family workshop very much in the traditions of redware potteries. A description of the chemical processes which affect lead-glazed redwares in a wood fired kiln provides insight to the physical appearance of excavated sherds. Analysis of the kiln furniture illuminates the technical aspects of pottery production, including methods and scales of production. Nearly 2,000 pieces of kiln furniture were examined and a selection of eight kiln furniture types was studied for function through use marks and color. The Bradford kiln furniture was also compared to those from the redware pottery workshops of two contemporaries: Hervey Brooks of Goshen, Connecticut and Joseph Hazeltine of Concord, New Hampshire. These archaeological remains can help us understand how the practices of a family business did or did not respond to changes in their trade and determine that the Bradford pottery was representative of the common experience of New England redware producers.