Monday, January 12, 2009

Society for Historical Archaeology Annual Meeting

I've just returned from the 2009 Annual Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology.  This year we met in Toronto, Canada, an historic and vibrant city.  The research reports and presentations that I heard inspired me, particularly those that explained other major efforts at community-based archaeological research.  I talked at length about the developing plans and partnerships in Utah, particularly about the Davenport dig and museum exhibit.  I'm already looking forward to the 2010 meeting next year-- not only because it is in Florida in January, rather than northern latitudes!

While on the plane, I had uninterrupted time to read.  As a result, I "checked-off" one of the items that had been high on my priority list.  I read Nancy J. Andersen's essay about Horace Ephraim Roberts, his family, and his pottery-making activities in Illinois, Iowa, and Utah.  Horace built the first operative pottery in the state, probably to the embarrassment of the Staffordshire potters that tried to get a factory operating in Salt Lake City.  Horace built his pottery in Provo and began selling ware in 1852, before anyone else was really successful at the business.  The other thing that makes Horace Ephraim Roberts among the most important potters in the history of Utah is that he was the head of what became the most significant "craft dynasty" in the region.  Horace married Harriet McEvers and they had many children who, along with Horace's male relatives and their children, became potters.  All in all, the Roberts family operated pottery shops in Provo, Logan, Mona, Vernal (near Naples), and Panguitch.  Horace married two other women, Mary Jane Bigelow and Jane Eliza Graves, but neither of the two children born from those marriages (by Jane Eliza) went into the pottery business.

Perhaps we'll get to do some survey at the site of Utah's first operative pottery this spring, before we get down to business at the Davenport site in Parowan!


  1. I forgot to include the full reference for Nancy Andersen's essay:

    Andersen, Nancy J. (2008). Horace Ephraim Roberts: Pioneering Pottery in Nauvoo and Provo. Utah Historical Quarterly 34(2):63-81.

  2. Horace's Great Great grandson lives around Murray, Ut. He is 97 yrs old named Lorell Eugene Roberts. He is on Facebook. His son Glenn lives in Mapleton, Ut. I am Glenn's son. Nice to see this info.