Tudor and early Stuart vessel glass : an archaeological study of forms and patterns of consumption in England, 1500 to 1640
The aims of this thesis are twofold. The first is concerned with the establishment of a typology for vessel glass in England between 1500 and 1640. There has been no morphological classification for glass of this period and one is constructed in this thesis from museum collections, published and unpublished material derived from archaeological excavations. The second aim of this thesis is to explore the way that glass vessels were used in Tudor and early Stuart society. The rise of consumerism and role of consumption in early modern Europe has been explored by a number of scholars, but there has been little attempt to link these ideas with excavated material culture. To achieve these aims twelve groups of glass from a variety of well contexted sites have been examined. The glass from these, in conjunction with seventy-four published excavation reports, forms the basis for the vessel classification. Although classified primarily by their form the typology considers questions concerning the manufacturing provenance and the decorative techniques used on the vessels. Likewise the twelve study sites are used as the basis for a more contextualised material culture study. Differences between assemblages from urban and elite sites are considered, as are their relative forms of disposal. Further questions concerning the role of glass during dining and the importance of vessel decoration as a means of conveying social messages are addressed. Finally contrasting patterns of repair and conspicuous consumption are considered. Whilst providing a framework for future research into the glass used in Tudor and early Stuart England, this thesis advocates a new methodological approach for material culture studies. It has demonstrated that through a more contextualised study of artefacts, a greater understanding of material culture use can be achieved.