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Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center

Historic Ceramics – Transfer Printing

March 8, 2016

THistoric Ceramicsransfer printing is a form of ceramic decoration that originated in Staffordshire, England, in the 1700s and grew in popularity in the 1800s. Applying decorations with reusable, patterned copper plates and paper allowed for almost perfect replication of even the most complicated designs, and mass production of nearly identical vessels. Colors and motifs on transfer print pieces can help to establish the date and location of production. Archaeologists can use this information to evaluate the chronology of a site from that era. For more about historic ceramics, check out “Romantic Staffordshire Ceramics” by Jeffery Snyder. (Reconstructed transfer print vessels from excavations at a historic site in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin.)