Peddling pots: Determining the extent of market exchange in eighteenth-century Jamaica through the analysis of local coarse earthenware

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)




Douglas V. Armstrong


Pots, Market exchange, Jamaica, Coarse earthenware, Eighteenth century

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Archaeological Anthropology | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology


Little is known of the mechanisms of internal trade in Jamaica, especially amongst the poorer segments of its population, in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Various authors proposed a structure of Sunday markets and itinerant traders, but the extent to which goods were produced and distributed remains relatively unknown. One form of material culture represented in the archaeological record, local coarse earthenware, allows us to trace the system of trade found on the island. These earthenware have been recovered from a majority of post-seventeenth century archaeological sites on the island, and their distribution suggests an island-wide trade system. Using a typology based on manufacture and form and a physical analysis of the clay making up the pottery, this dissertation focuses on the distribution of low-fired earthenware amongst Jamaica's free and enslaved populations. Specifically, I employ multivariate analysis and ceramic petrography to establish the relative provenance of local ceramics dating to the eighteenth century. Results from this analysis suggest mechanisms of ceramic distribution that, in turn, provide us with a firmer understanding of internal trade found on the island and its intersection with broader economic systems.


Surface provides description only. Full text is available to ProQuest subscribers. Ask your Librarian for assistance.