The Early Medieval shell-tempered pottery

In autumn 2023, the German Research Foundation approved funding for a project whose aim is to gain new insights into shell-tempered pottery, which has been discussed for decades as an indicator for Frisian trade routes. In particular, the Early Medieval find inventories of the southern North Sea coast are clearly dominated by this fabric group, which is characterized by fragments of shells as part of the tempering. But even outside the main area of distribution, finds of shell-tempered pottery can be found at numerous trading places in the North and Baltic Sea regions. It is generally assumed that these vessels were part of the personal equipment of Frisian traders. Therefore, the pottery can provide important information about the travel and trading routes of the Frisians. To clarify these questions, the ceramic expert hired for the project Dr. Katrin Struckmeyer will use scientific analysis methods that enable her to identify the raw materials used by the potters and to describe the production process. The expected result is the identification of specialized pottery workshops in which the shell-tempered pottery was produced. Since the project started on April 1st, 2024, sherds have now been selected in the depot of the NIhK and numerous other institutions, which will be analyzed in detail in the coming months.