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Ceramics from an urban palace in a fishing village in the north western part of the Iberian Peninsula: La Casa del Cercáu in Llanes (Asturias, Spain)

Poster

Ceramics from an urban palace in a fishing village in the north western part of the Iberian Peninsula: La Casa del Cercáu in Llanes (Asturias, Spain)

Abstract

2021, The 13th AIECM3 Congress on Medieval and Modern period Mediterranean Ceramics During 2020 and 2021, MSarqueo Estudio de Arqueología S.L. has been working to document and excavate in the Casa del Cercáu (declared BIC in 1991), located in Llanes (Asturias, Spain). A study of the evolution of the whole complex has been carried out from a constructive point of view, using archaeological and architectural techniques, together with the execution of archaeological surveys. Archaeological excavation brought to light an interesting ceramic assemblage that begins in the 13th century and continues until the present. The Casa del Cercáu is an urban palace located in the village of Llanes, in the north-eastern area of the Principality of Asturias (Spain). Llanes originated from the lands granted by the king of León Alfonso IX around 1225 in the so-called territory of Aguilar. This came as a response to the founding of San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria) by the Castilian king Alfonso VIII. The village of Llanisca still retains its Medieval fortification, the Castle Tower, as well as much of the layout of its old wall, which forms the eastern and northern perimeter of the Casa del Cercáu. The origin of the Cercáu is in the last quarter of the sixteenth century, although the palace reached its prominence at the end of that century and the beginning of the next. During this period, Pedro Junco de Posada y Valdés, Bishop of Salamanca, Counselor of Inquisition, and President of the Chancillería de Valladolid inherited the house. He turned it into a palacemausoleum, and was buried in his chapel in 1603. The ceramic materials found here indicate a ceramic consumption of European taste. Despite being highly fragmented, these materials offer an important and diverse amount of information. Along with the local Asturian productions used in the kitchen and at the table, Portuguese tiles, French jugs, German stoneware, and Chinese porcelain co-existed in this palace. The heterogeneity of the material clearly shows how the Asturian trade network changed at the end of the Middle Ages and during the Modern Age, conditioned by economic and political events. The ceramic makes clear that the palace and its people actively engaged with this international network. Los trabajos arqueológicos han sido financiados por Paisajes de Asturias S.L., empresa que en la actualidad proyecta la rehabilitación el edificio.
CHINESE JINGDEZHEN WARES: a small number of specimens correspond to Chi-
nese porcelain, probably produced in Jingdezhen during the Ming period. 16th
century.
GERMAN GLAZED WARES: produced in central Germany, in the region of Werra.
This is the first time these wares are found in Asturias. 16th-17th centuries. GER-
MAN STONEWARE: produced in Germany (Westerwald and Frechen). They are
salt glazed in grey, with blue to highlight the moulded decorations
(Westerwald), or covered in s speckled brown salt glaze (Frechen). 17th century.
TALAVERA TRICOLOUR WARES: produced in Talavera de la Reina and decorate
with the typical band in blue, orange and black. 16th-17th centuries. TALAVERA
FERN-DECORATED WARES: produced in Talavera de la Reina and decorated with
blue fern leaves. 17th-18th centuries.
BASQUE BLUE WARES: produced in Álava (Basque Country), probably in the
workshops of Eguileta, Hijona or Erentxun. It presents a characteristic blue ge-
ometric decoration on a white background. 17th century.
DUTCH FAIENCE WARES: produced in the Netherlands. The characteristics point to
the Delft workshops. Blue and polychrome decoration on a white stanniferous
background. 17th century.
PORTUGUESE WARES: produced in Portugal, probably Lisbon, Coimbra or Vila
Nova. Some of them present the arhanoes motif. 17th century.
PIPES: a small assemblage of smoking pipes was found.
They include clay pipes produced in Holland and Eng-
land, and a ceramic pipe probably produced in the
centre of the Iberian Peninsula, probably for the con-
sumption of hashish. 15th-17th centuries.
4.2. EARLY MODERN WARES:
FARUCA LOCAL WARES FIRED IN REDUCING CONDITIONS: local production, probably
Faro de Limanes (Oviedo). 15th-18th centuries. FARUCA ENAMELLED AND
GLAZED WARES: local production, probably Faro de Limanes (Oviedo). They
can be undecorated or decorated with green, yellow or black motifs over a
white stanniferous white. One of the pieces is yellow-glazed with black dec-
oration. 16th-18th centuries.
MIRANDA LOCAL WARES FIRED IN REDUCING CONDITIONS: local production, prob-
ably Miranda de Avilés (Avilés). 16th century. MIRANDA ENAMELLED WARES: lo-
cal production, probably from Miranda de Avilés (Avilés). They present blue
decoration over a white stanniferous background. 17th-18th centuries.
FRENCH BEAUVAIS WARES: one piece was identified as a
Beauvais plate, belonging to the Beauvais mono-
chrome glazed series They are technically complex,
and were made for the international markets. 15th-16th
centuries.
SEVILIAN BLUE WARES: produced in Seville, blue glazed with spots on both fac-
es. 15th-16th centuries. SEVILIAN BLUE AND PURPLE WARES: produced in Seville,
enamelled and decorated in blue and black. 16th century. SEVILIAN GREEN
PLAIN WARES: Sevilian production, finished in green. 16th century. SEVILIAN OL-
IVE JARS: produced in Seville, this is one of the most characteristic transport
types in the Early Modern Age. 18th century.
ITALIAN LIGURIAN WARES: Ligurian wares,
probably made in Genova, Savona or Albi-
sola. Enamelled in berettino blue. 16th century.
4.1. MEDIEVAL WARES:
LOCAL POTTERY FIRED IN REDUCING CONDITIONS: the production area must be situated
in Asturias or nearby, probably Faro de Limanes (Oviedo). 13th-15th centuries.
LOCAL FINE WARES FIRED IN OXIDISING CONDITIONS: the provenance is unclear, but a
production centre in Asturias or nearby is suggested. Most pieces are undecorat-
ed, except for a few examples which are lightly combed. 13th-15th centuries.
STAMPED REGIONAL WARES: the provenance is unknown, but a local production cen-
tre is suggested, in Asturias or the neighbouring regions. The stamped decoration
has parallels in Visigothic wares from the region of León. 13th-15th centuries.
1. INTRODUCTION
During 2020 and 2021, MSarqueo Estudio de Arqueología S.L. has been work-
ing to document and excavate in the Casa del Cercáu (declared BIC in 1991),
located in Llanes (Asturias, Spain). A study of the evolution of the whole com-
plex has been carried out from a constructive point of view, using archaeologi-
cal and architectural techniques, together with the execution of archaeological
surveys. Archaeological excavation brought to light an interesting ceramic as-
semblage that begins in the 13th century and continues until the present.
2. CASA DEL CERCÁU (LLANES, ASTURIAS, SPAIN)
The Casa del Cercáu is an urban palace located in the village of Llanes, in the
north-eastern area of the Principality of Asturias. Llanes originated from the
lands granted by the king of León Alfonso IX around 1228 . This came as a re-
sponse to the founding of San Vicente de la Barquera (Cantabria) by the Cas-
tilian king Alfonso VIII. The origin of the Cercáu is in the last quarter of the six-
teenth century, although the palace reached its prominence at the end of that
century and the beginning of the next. During this period, Pedro Junco de Po-
sada y Valdés, Bishop of Salamanca, Counselor of Inquisition, and President of
the Chancillería de Valladolid inherited the house. He turned it into a palace-
mausoleum, and was buried in his chapel in 1603. The Casa del Cercáu is a
two-storey plus attic building, with a chapel attached. Later, a sacristy and a
bell tower were added to the complex. The whole complex is surrounded by a
wall that abuts the city wall. The complex remained largely unaltered until the
late 19th century.
3. METHODOLOGY
The applied methodology classified the pottery by different workshops of
origin, ceramic productions, functional groups, series, types, and subtypes.
This methodology also involved a technical, morphometric, and chronological
analysis of each of the vessels, checking for parallels from other archaeological
studies of potteries. As a result of these analyses, we have been able to recog-
nize ceramic productions from different chronologies and workshops.
4. ANALYSIS OF POTTERY PRODUCTIONS
The pottery sample analysed in this study consists of 4729 sherds. This re-
search is divided into two chronological periods: Medieval Wares and Early
Modern Wares. Within each of this main groups, several subgroups can be dis-
tinguished, based on basic technical characteristics and production centres.
5. DISCUSSION & CONCLUSIONS
The medieval assemblage probably formed in the 13th and 14th centuries, in re-
lation to the foundation of Llanes (1228) or the construction of the city wall
(before 1340). In fact, the archaeological contexts indicate that many of the
pieces are earlier than the construction of the city wall, and may perhaps be
related to an earlier occupation of the space. The early modern assemblage is
very varied in terms of production centres, especially in the 16th century. Alt-
hough the volume of material for the 17th and the 18th centuries remains sub-
stantial, it is significantly less varied than in the 16th century. The medieval as-
semblage is clearly dominated by local wares, chiefly from the workshop of
Faro de Limanes. The provenance of the fine wares fired in oxidising conditions
is unclear, but it must be in the area of Asturias or nearby. These local wares
coexisted with imported wares, such as the French green glazed wares and
northern European wares. These imported wares are common in the Atlantic
facade during the Middle Ages. In addition, a piece of “green and manganese”
points to Andalusi imports. In the Early Modern Age, local wares are still found
in significant numbers, including productions from Faro de Limanes and now
also Miranda de Avilés. In addition to these kitchen wares, we find a substan-
tial assemblage of local enamelled pieces. Concerning imported ceramics, the
16th-century assemblage presents a wide variety of wares, including pieces
from Seville, Talavera de la Reina, Beauvais, Liguria, Werra and Jingdezhen. In
the 17th century, in addition to production centres already represented in the
16th century, such as Talavera de la Reina and Seville, we find productions from
the Basque Country (Eguileta, Hijona and Erentxun), Portugal (Lisbon, Coimbra
and Vila Nova), Germany (Westerwald and Frechen), and Holland (Delft). The
assemblage includes 16th century wares from very distant production areas,
which are probably related to Pedro Junco de Posada y Valdés.
FRENCH GREEN GLAZED WARES: the production centre is likely in northern Europe, prob-
ably the French centre-southwest, in the workshops of Saintonge, although England
and Holland cannot be ruled out. 13th-15th centuries.
ANDALUSI GREEN AND MANGANESE WARES: from the south of the Iberian Peninsula,
probably in al-Andalus. The inner face is enamelled in white, decorated with thick
green and black strokes. 15th century.
DUTCH LIDS: these wares were produced in western Holland. They are unglazed and
decorated with sgraffito. They are lids also used to extinguish cooking fires. 14th-15th
centuries.
Miguel Busto Zapico
Universidad de Granada
bustomiguel@ugr.es
Alfonso Menéndez Granda
MSarqueo Estudio de Arqueología S.L.
msarqueo@msarqueo.com
Estefanía Sánchez Hidalgo
MSarqueo Estudio de Arqueología S.L.
msarqueo@msarqueo.com
Francisco Lara Piñera
Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia
francisco.lara.pinera@gmail.com
Location of Llanes (Asturias, Spain).
Casa del Cercáu (Foto Asturias S.L.).
Ceramic consumption (Early Modern Wares)
Ceramic consumption (Medieval Wares)
Ceramic consumption (Early Modern Wares)
Los trabajos arqueológicos han sido financiados por Paisajes de Asturias S.L., empresa que en la actualidad proyecta la rehabilitación el edificio
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