Late Medieval and Early Modern Period stoneware production is often found in archaeological excavations around the world. The identification and analysis of these objects provides information about technical innovations, long-distance trade, and social and economic changes in societies. Stoneware vessels were used for pouring and storing liquids, and thus indicate changing drinking habits. Vessels are dated and classified by their surface treatment, the colour of the stoneware, and their decorative motifs, and are then associated with specific manufacturing centres by using a comparative method. The stoneware in Vilnius was produced at production sites in Siegburg, Cologne, Frechen, Raeren, Westerwald and Waldenburg. The earliest stoneware vessels could be associated with newcomers to the town; while in later periods their distribution indicates higher demand and usage in town dwellers’ households.
A settlement was established by English merchants in Šventoji in the second half of the 17th century. The rich collection of artefacts and historic documents distinctly suggests the daily life of merchants. In this paper, the artefacts are assessed as indicators of the cultural and personal identity. Most of the finds were imported, and not locally produced. Their provenance, if possible, was identified and associated with manufacturing centres by using a comparative method. Ceramic dishes, glass vessels and cutlery represent merchants’ dining traditions and habits, while personal belongings can be associated with the presentation of social status or individual expression.
The paper analyses maiolica ceramic dishes from the late 16th and early 17th centuries found in Vilnius’ Old Town. The items in question were the first imported maiolica dishes in the town. They are classified and their production sites are identified on the basis of their technical and stylistic characteristics, and in accordance with foreign analogies. Thus, five plates are assigned to the Antwerp production centre, while the stylistic and manufacturing characteristics of another plate are found to be similar to the Haarlem and Antwerp maiolica production centres. One small bowl with religious inscriptions is assigned to the Faenza production centre in Italy. A fragment of a berrettino-type plate is associated with the Liguria region or Venice. The paper attempts to assess the significance of the first maiolica dishes in daily life in Vilnius in the late 16thand early 17th centuries. The relationship between the find spots and historical data suggests that four dishes could be associated with Catholic monasteries. During the period in question, maiolica ceramics were a rarity: they performed both an aesthetic and a luxury function; on three pieces of bottoms of plates, holes were found for hanging the plate on the wall. The information presented in the paper provides an opportunity to deepen our knowledge about maiolica dishes in Vilnius’ Old Town, which have not been investigated much, and to identify the prospects for further research.