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UMM Home > Faculty Center> Thursday Afternoon Seminar Podcast > December 7, 2006

December 7, 2006

Seminar of December 7, 2006 Jimmy Schryver
Art History

"Crusader Ceramics and What They Can Tell Us About Cultural Interaction in the Latin East."
Among the pottery from the Danish excavations carried out in the 1930s at Hama, Syria is a relatively large corpus of Port St. Symeon ware. Since its initial publication in 1957, this important collection has remained relatively unstudied and scholars’ knowledge of it has remained quite general. For example, in the original report, only select pieces were photographed and most simply referred to in a comparative manner by inventory number. Meanwhile, our knowledge of both Port St. Symeon ware as a “family"? or group of pottery, specifically, and our knowledge of pottery in what is known as Greater Syria, in general, has increased. Prof. James Schryver (UMM, Art History) and a colleague, Dr. Tasha Vorderstrasse (Independent Scholar) are currently working with the staff of the Antiquities Department of the National Museum in Copenhagen to bring this knowledge to bear on this collection. By drawing and publishing a catalogue of each individual piece of what the original excavators grouped together as Port St. Symeon ware and imitations, Schryver and Vorderstrasse hope to provide a more complete and more correct view of this ceramic corpus. As part of this process, they also hope to refine the original grouping laid out in 1957. The second phase of this project looks to study the chemical composition of these pots in order to determine whether they were made locally or were imported to Hama from another site. The results of such tests have the potential to tell us a great deal about the interactions between a city outside of the direct influence of the Franks and its Frankish neighbors, as well as help us to further refine our understanding of the production and distribution of Port St. Symeon ware.