jose luis solaun, ceramics and society: “medieval pottery production in the Basque Country”
The purpose of this conference is to show the evolution of the pottery craft in the Basque territory during medieval times (from the 8th to the 13th century), making reference to the various models of ceramic production and distribution. We will do this using the ceramic record, based on the different archaeological excavations carried out in recent years, mainly in the province of Álava. This approach is the only option available, since no medieval written sources describe the structure of a potter’s workshop, its production, the commercial relations that existed and the royalties that had to be paid in exchange for the right to extract the clay, the regulations that must have existed in the trade, and so on.
At the most, we find occasional toponymic mentions showing the existence of specific pottery activity in a host of towns and villages in which, without a doubt, this trade would have been practised. The interpretative proposals presented in this conference are therefore based on the conception of ceramics as a tool for historical knowledge, capable of providing information on the human groups that produced and consumed them, and producing, in summary, a social history of ceramics.