Welcome to Terra Cotta Incognita

Welcome to my world. My name is Nina Linde Jaspers and I study fired earth. Home base for my research is located on the Zandstraat 11 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. On this website you can follow my work, research and activities on late medieval and early modern pottery from archaeological excavations and museum collections in the Netherlands and abroad. It gives information about current research and various projects I'm working on, as well as access to the finished articles, scientific posterpresentations, more posters, archaeological reports and gadgets. The site will be regularly updated to keep you posted on new developments or downloads. Want to call for tenders or get in touch for other questions? Feel free to contact me.

News and activities

December 2017: Our newest pearl is out! Meijlink, Silkens & Jaspers, 2017: Zeeën van Tijd. Grasduinen door de archeologie van 2500 jaar Domburg en het Oostkapelse strand":
After seas of time the exceptional historical locations in Domburg - and on the beach between Domburg an Oostkapelle - reveal their secrets. Bacause of their rare nature, these archaeological sites are of national importance. Together the form the intriguing history of Domburg and surroundings. How many other regions in the Netherlands hold the combination of a Roman temple dedicated to a local godess, a rich early medieval trade settlement, graves with gifts included, pillagings by the Vikings and one of the few 'ringwalburgen' in the Netherlands?

The features and their finds have been scientifically investigated over the last centuries, each time in their own fashion of the day. This book collects those results to an anthology of the Iron Age until now. The authors not only describe the history of Domburg and the beach of Oostkapelle, but also report and illustrate the developments of the research, the fascinating researchers and their methods.

The many drawings, fotographs and historical maps bring the history to life. Beautifully drawn artist impressions take us back in time and some fine fotocompositions put the most striking finds in the spotlights. "Seas of Time" tells the colorful history of Domburg and surroundings. A dynamic story on the everchanging shores of the North Sea that deserves greater fame.

In Dutch; full colour, richly illustrated, 64 pp., available for order at De Drvkkery, €15,-

December 2015: Hot off the press! Meijlink, Silkens & Jaspers, 2015: "Stories from the Flask. 700 years of maritime city of Flushing told by archaeological finds"
The city of Flushing, a long time ago known as 'Flessinghe', got the nickname 'The Flask'. The coat of arms of this city with a very turbulent history shows a flask already for centuries. Many of the stories of the old Flushing have dissappeared undergrond. Different archaeological excavations have brought these stories to light and show a picture of forgotten buildings, people and their habits. What did parts of Flushing look like in the centuries gone by? How did her citizens live in the Late Middle Ages and the Golden 17th Century? This book answers these questions.

Through beautifully illustrated historical reconstructions we look at corners of Flushing as they were in the Late Middle Ages and the centuries afterwards. Very different from the city we know nowadays. The sparkling photographs of set tables from different centuries bring the past individuals and their households up close. Special finds, but also finds with a more common character are carrying a story with them every time. They tell us about warfare and international trade, crafts and profession, but also about hygiëne and childrens games.

Appealing are also the results of the skeletal research. The large number of researched graves from Flushing teach us how old the average person from Flushing grew, and how long. "Stories from the Flask" contains an anthology of the most remarkable stories from the archaeological researches in Flushing.

In Dutch; full colour, richly illustrated, 96 pp., available for order at De Drukkerij, €16,-

November 2015: Terra Cotta Incognita Special nr 2. "Rough husks, beer drinkers and herring eaters" is out!
Special nr. 2 contains the results of the research on an 18th century cesspit on a shipyard alongside the Havenstraat (Harbourstreet) in Vlaardingen, the Netherlands. This richly illustrated Special offers a treasure of information for archaeologists and historians that work on home culture and food history. But also those with a love for old ceramics and glass, the history of Vlaardingen and daily life can indulge in this.

Treasures from the cesspit
A toilet is a recent invention. In the 18th century one had to rely on the cesspit. For archaeologists such a pit is a little treasure, because it holds nearly all remnants of human daily life. The archaeologists discovered a cesspit in between the remnants of the shipyard of family Cleywerff-De Zeeuw. For the first time we obtain by the food scraps and discarded household items a picture of daily life of a typical shipbuilder family from Vlaardingen in the decades around the year 1700.

Still lifes
In the Special one finds a broad specialist elaboration of the finds from the cesspit aiming to integrate the historical data and the various material categories into one. This approach was applied as well in the photography where the study of the pottery, glass, clay pipes, metal, wood, leather, textiles, gnawed bones, fish bones, nuts and seeds was set as a guide. The result consists of Paul Crucq’s († 2014) wonderful picturesque still life pictures of restored finds from the cesspit combined with contemporary fish and fruit which have been recognized during the archaeobotanical and archaeozoological research.

The Special nr. 2 can be ordered at SPA Uitgevers (in Dutch with English summary/ 200 pp. full colour, €34,50).

November 2014:
Hot off the press, new article on Portuguese faience in Vormen uit Vuur 226!

This article is on the rise and fall of 16th and 17th century Portuguese import faience from Dutch soil and is co-written by Sebastiaan Ostkamp and Nina Linde Jaspers. The article is in Dutch with an English summary and printed in full colour.

The article is roughly a translation of our upcoming article in English in the proceedings of the lectures held at the 1st International Conference Portuguese faience in the Museu de Arte Antiga in Lisbon, 22nd - 25th of May 2013.
N.L. Jaspers & S. Ostkamp, 2014: Portugese faience uit Nederlandse bodem. De opkomst en neergang van Portugese import. In: Vormen uit Vuur 226 (2014/3), pp. 10-29.

January 2014: May these shards bring happiness and luck to you for a wonderful 2014...
...like the old Dutch saying Scherven brengen geluk says! This photo collage is made from early 17th century Venetian and Friesian maiolica shards. They were excavated on the site of Harlingen, Rapenburg and belong to the collection of the municipal historic museum Het Hannemahuis in Harlingen.

November 2013: "White Delft. Not just blue" is open and out!

On the 22nd of november 2013 the beautiful expo "White Delft. Not just blue" was inaugurated in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag combined with the book presentation (written in both Dutch ánd English and richly illustrated). An interdisciplary (historical/art-historical/ archaeological/archaeometrical) research on white faience from Delft, but also from other production centres in the Netherlands and exportware from France, Italy, Portugal and Spain.

Edited by Titus Eliëns with contributions from: Suzanne Lambooy, Nina Linde Jaspers, Sebastiaan Ostkamp, Luc Megens, Guus Verhaar, Marion van Aken-Fehmers and Frederike Burghout.

My contribution "Cream from the Milkmaid" is on plain white faience from foreign origin (i.e. Italy, France, Spain and Portugal) excavated in the Netherlands (1500-1680). Another big work finished. It's looking very pretty thanks to Gert-Jan Slagter ánd it's part of my dissertation so yay!

The book "White Delft. Not just Blue" is now ready for order at SPA publishers.

November 2013: Article out in Archeologia Postmedievale 15, Italy

My article on 16th and 17th century Italian export faience and maiolica from excavations in the Netherlands came out in the Italian scientific journal "Archeologia Postmedievale" nr. 15 (peer reviewed: level top!). A Turin plate excavated in Amsterdam made it to the cover.

N.L. Jaspers, 2013: Clean, cheap & truly more enjoyable. Italian maiolica excavated in the Netherlands (1550-1700): the supremacy of Ligurian merchandise and rarities from other production regions.

It's an English translation of the 2009 article in Dutch in Vormen uit Vuur 204 (sold out), which has the same pictures as the APM 15, except in full colour. It's complementary with Jaspers 2012 in ATTI XLIV, which focussed on Ligurian wares in general and more specific on compendiario.

Archeologia Postmedievale 15 can be ordered at the publisher All'Insegna del Giglio.

October 2013: Terra Cotta Incognita Special nr. 1 "Harlinger gleiersgoed" is finished!
This very first Terra Cotta Incognita Special focusses on the waste of the two earliest majolica workshops in Friesland, located in the historic maritime city of Harlingen. The oldest workshop "Hoek Raamstraat de Schritsen" left us with waste dating from the first quarter of the 17th century and the other workshop "Buiten de Kerkpoort" with material that dates from around 1650. Two wonderful finds from the beautiful collection of the municipal museum Het Hannemahuis and a great cooperation with Paul Crucq for making hundreds of photographs and the graphic design of the Terra Cotta Incognita Special nr. 1. Big thanks to dr. Pieter-Jan Tichelaar for editing and technical remarks and to the Foundation Fries Aardewerk for making this project financially possible. The Terra Cotta Incognita Special nr. 1 will be presented at our stand at the Reuvensdagen on the 15th and 16th of November 2013 in Groningen. The Special nr. 1 is ready for order at SPA Publishers. NB: The special is written in Dutch.

July 2013: Finished the first draft on imported white faience from Dutch excavations....
for the upcoming expo in the Gemeentemuseum Den Haag. Pretty complex venture, I must say, which included XRF-analyses by the National Heritage Service (RCE) on glaze to start with (and aiming for a paste-analysis follow up project). For now we did identify lots of French and Italian white faience, and some cute Portugueze white faiança salt cellars too.

May 2013: Lecture on 1st International Congress of Portuguese faience in Lisbon
On behalf of my esteemed colleague Sebastiaan Ostkamp and myself I gave a lecture on Portuguese faience in the Dutch Republic. And... it was my first lecture ever in the Portuguese language. *shine* It was a wonderful 4-day congress (22nd-25th of May 2013), very well organized by dr. Tânia Casimiro and located in Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga on the banks of my beloved river Tejo. I'm impressed with the explosion of new research on the subject over the last ten years. Contributions came from Portugal, Brazil, Uruguay, Canarias, Mozambique, the States, Canada, Spain and the Netherlands which gave a wonderful global view on the production, consumption and distribution of Portuguese faience.

April 2013: Majolica workshops "Aan de Schritsen hoek Raamstraat" en "Buiten de Kerkpoort"

The final report is finished on the waste of the two earliest majolica workshops in Friesland, located in the historic maritime city of Harlingen! :-) The oldest workshop "Hoek Raamstraat de Schritsen" left us with waste dating from the first quarter of the 17th century and the other workshop "Buiten de Kerkpoort" with material that dates from around 1650. Two wonderful finds from the beautiful collection of the municipal museum Het Hannemahuis and a great cooperation with Paul Crucq for making hundreds of photographs. Big thanks to dr. Pieter-Jan Tichelaar for editing and technical remarks and to the Foundation Fries Aardewerk for making this happen. Will give a post when it gets available online!

December 2012: Delftware workshop Het Hart (1678-1770)
In the summer of 2005 the foundation of a kiln was found during excavations at the Gasthuislaan and the Kruisstraat in Delft. The kiln belonged to the delftware workshop Het Hart (1678-1770). Tens of thousands of shards of delftware and other objects were encountered by the archaeologists. In cooperation with Erfgoed Delft, department Archaeology I have reconstructed the line of products, based on the archaeological finds. Also the productionprocess of the workshop has been studied. The concept version of this research is now concluded.

November 2012: A 13th century hand made chafing dish
Earlier this year the final ADC-report came out on Mound 5 in the "Onlanden‟ (Peizermaden, Drenthe, the northern Netherlands). Interesting are the found fragments from a chafing dish, that showed to be archaeologically complete after determination. For the first time in the Netherlands it became clear what a 13th century chafing dish looked like and might have been used. During research a clay platform was excavated, on three sides surrounded by ditches, with a hearth pit  (in the eastern part) dating from the later middle ages. In the ditch on the east side of the mound the locally produced, hand made earthernware was found among which the archaeologically complete chafing dish. After the article with the preliminary results that came out in 2011, the report now presents a complete analysis of this special find. On the globular cooking pots that were found with it, an analysis was performed on the encrusted food remnants. The complete report (in Dutch) with catalogue can be ordered at SPA-Publishers.

September 2012: New article on early modern Ligurian export maiolica out and available online
Last May my article on Ligurian export maiolica came out in the ATTI XLIV of the Convegno Internazionale della Ceramica, helt in May 2011 in Savona. This article focusses on Ligurian export maiolica from the 16th and 17th century. It contains morphological and decorational overviews of this globally exported commodity. Moreover, this article pleads for a Ligurian provenance of a specific group of compendiario, which has not been recognized before as such. I just uploaded it to Issuu, you can check it out here. If you want to order the whole conference proceedings, go to the website of Centro Ligure per la Storia della Ceramica.

June 2012: Time to move!
After the quest for a suitable studio and many an hour spent with a brush or paint roller in the hand, it is now time to move and get fully started on the new address. "Terra Cotta Incognita" and "Sebastiaan Ostkamp - Specialistisch Archeologisch Onderzoek" will move into the Zandstraat 11, 1011 HJ in Amsterdam. Right on the border of medieval Amsterdam and the first postmedieval quarters around Waterlooplein and under the lurking eye of the 1614 Tower of the Southern Church. Happy much? Yes sir! :-)

April 2012: Spread my wings
The time has come to spread my wings. My fulltime working week for ADC ArcheoProjecten will be shortened to 16 hours a week starting from the 1st of June. The same goes for my dear colleague Sebastiaan Ostkamp. We will expand our activities as freelance material specialists for the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. This choice for broadening the horizon was in the air for some time and won't be a big surprise to everyone. 

Besides the usual archaeological material reports, we will focus on assignments for museums and magazines, editorial activities for the classification system for (post-)medieval ceramics and glass (aka Het Deventer Systeem), and our own research. It was was not possible (anymore) to combine the much needed time and freedom with the almost fulltime contract hours.

I will operate under the flag of Terra Cotta Incognita and Sebastiaan Ostkamp will use his own name. We will both work as freelancers but we will cooperate a lot as well. Soon we will move into a common workspace in the heart of Amsterdam's historical centre! More info on this soon...

March 2012: Two papers in press in Italy
Two articles are to be published in Italy in 2012, both in English. One will appear in the scientific journal "Archeologia Postmedievale" nr. 15 (peer reviewed: level top!), titled: Clean, cheap and tastier. Italian maiolica excavated in the Netherlands: a supremacy of Ligurian merchandise and rarities from other productive regions. It's a translation of the 2009 article in "Vormen uit Vuur". The other paper reflects the presentation given in May 2011 at the "XLIV Convegno Internazionale della Ceramica in Savona" and bears the title: Ligurian maiolica excavated in the Netherlands (1550-1700). An archaeological contribution to the decorative and morphological typology of Ligurian export wares, and puts an emphasis on the morphology of the various types of decoration. Both articles plead for a  (thus far unknown) Ligurian provenance of a specific type of maiolica in compendiario style excavated regularly in coastal areas in early modern Europe.

February 2012: Studies presented to Eric Lohof on his retirement in archaeology
My former carpool driver, friend, colleague and archaeologist Eric Lohof was put in the spotlight on the annual 'stone age day' (saturday the 4th of February at the University Leiden). His retirement is the end of an era, at least in commercial archaeology. I can't imagine this will be the end of his research activities, he just doesn't need to get up as early as the rest of us. During his career in academic and commercial archaeology Dutch Prehistory has been his core business, with special interest for Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology. In honor of his retirement in 2011 a festschrift has been made evolving around this subject with contributions by friends, colleagues and fellow researchers. Now available at Sidestone Press!

H. van der Velde, N.L. Jaspers, E. Drenth & H. Scholte Lubberink (eds.), 2012: Van graven in de prehistorie en dingen die voorbijgaan. Studies aangeboden aan Eric Lohof bij zijn pensionering in de archeologie. Sidestones Press, Leiden.

November 2011
: I just joined Academia.edu
Among all the social media I have found Academia.edu the most facilitating to get in touch with other researchers, what a nice surprise! And while I'm at it, here's the link to my profile.

July 2011: Article in Nieuwsbrief van de Vereniging voor Terpenonderzoek (nr. 16)
In september 2009 ADC ArcheoProjects has excavated mound nr. 5 in in the „Onlanden‟ (Peizermaden, Drenthe). Extraordinary is the find of several fragments of a chafing dish or brazier, that appeared to be archaeologically complete. For the first time it became clear what a 12th/13th century chafing dish looked like and how it was used. A first report by Sarah Zandboer en Nina Jaspers (written in Dutch).

July 2011: Very positive review Vlissingen Dokkershaven in Vitruvius!!
In the latest edition of Vitruvius (nr. 16, july 2011), independent professional magazine for heritage studies, Jacob Schotten wrote a very positive review on Vlissingen Dokkershaven (ADC Monograph 9). You can read it here (for the non-Dutch speakers: sorry, it's in Dutch).

May 27th & 28th 2011: XLIV Convegno Internazionale della Ceramica 2011, Savona, Italy
On friday morning the 27th of May I gave a lecture on Ligurian maiolica from Dutch soil (1550-1700). It is an archaeological contribution to the knowledge on typology of decoration and morphology of Ligurian export wares.

April 14th 2011: book presentation Dokkershaven

The official presentation of the ADC-monography "Vier eeuwen leven en sterven aan de Dokkershaven in Vlissingen" by Claeys, Jaspers & Ostkamp and many others is coming up! The book will be handed out to Flushing's alderman responsible for archaeology in the municipality in the MuZEEum, the museum for maritime history in Flushing.

April 14th 2011: H.J.E. van Beuningen Prize
I'm very glad to announce that my research (consisting of my MA-thesis and two articles in Vormen uit Vuur) has been awarded with the H.J.E. van Beuningen prize, which will be presented the same day and location as the Dokkershaven monography. This award is an initiative of the Dutch Utensils Foundation.

November-Early December 2010: Linger some longer in Florence...
I decided to add some weeks to my stay in Florence to retain the momentum of my research. I have left NIKI behind and I settled in a little appartment next to the medieval city wall close to Porta San Niccolò. From there I will make a trip up north to Liguria and Piemonte to exchange ideas on Ligurian and Turinese ceramic imports in the Netherlands. Just before Saint Nicholas' birthday, as we kindly tell the kids (actually it's his dying day) San Niccolò will send me back home with a suitcase full of Italian presents.

October-November 2010: research at NIKI, Florence

Back in Florence voor the second stage (and last?) of rewriting my MA-thesis to a book on Italian and French tinglazed ceramic imports found in Dutch soil. Thanks to an unpaid leave from work at ADC-ArcheoProjecten and a stipendium of the GWO-foundation a two month period of research and stay at the Dutch Institute for Art History is made possible.

September 2010: Flushing's Dokkershaven is out!

This extensive archaeological research report can be ordered at SPA Uitgevers: J. Claeys, N.L. Jaspers & S. Ostkamp (eds.), 2010, Vier eeuwen leven en sterven aan de Dokkershaven in Vlissingen. ADC-Monografie 9, Amersfoort. For more information on the project, check it out here.

16th of September 2010: Assembled Articles IV
Presentation at the Seminar Assembled Articles IV in Zwolle of two digital gadgets that aim to facilitate the work of (post-)medieval archaeologists working on c