Introducing ‘Bartmann Goes Global - the cultural impact of an iconic object in the early modern period’ – our new Anglo-German research project, funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC) and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG). 

The iconic Bartmann jugs were made in Germany, and they have been found at archaeological sites across the globe. Over the next three years, our ceramics specialists Jacqui Pearce, Nigel Jeffries and Lyn BLackmore are collaborating with Professor Natascha Mehler at Tübingen University and Professor Michael Schmauder at the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn to explore the lives of these globe-trotting jugs.  

The team also includes researchers based at MOLA, LVR - Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland (LVR-State Service for Archaeological Heritage in the Rhineland), the LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, Bonn University, Tübingen University, and external partners in The Netherlands, Sweden and the United States of America. 

Decorative image of a Bartmann jug with beared face and medallion

Bartmann jugs are easily recognisable with their distinctive bearded faces, bulbous shape, and medallions. In 17th-century English accounts they are called 'Pope Jugs', D'Alva jugs', 'Bellarmine', 'Cologne pots' or 'Flemish pots'. These jugs were produced on a vast scale in Frechen, a town just outside of Cologne in Germany, from the 16th century. Most were made for export, mainly to England or the Netherlands. As a result of colonial expansion, they travelled far outside of Northern Europe. 

Bartmann jugs have been found in museum collections and during archaeological excavations all over the world, including shipwrecks, and settlements such as Jamestown (U.S.) or Fort Orange (Brazil).  

Decorative image of three brown bartman jugs

Our project aims to develop a wider understanding of the importance of the Bartmann jug across the globe. We’ll be: 

  • Tracing the jugs’ journeys - and the relationships between the manufacturers, traders and the consumers 
  • Studying cultural contexts – exploring the jug’s representation in the archaeological and historical record. 
  • Understanding changes – developments in design and production between c.1550–1750 

Together, our international team will create a resource for understanding technological development, cultural significance, means of communication, trade, and globalisation in early modern Europe. 

Coming soon

We will be launching soon a crowdsourced website that will enable anyone around the world to report these finds. We’ll also be sharing lots more about the project over the next three years. Make sure you follow along on social media #BartmannGoesGlobal to keep up to date with our latest discoveries!

Bartmann Goes Global is a joint project between MOLA (Museum of London Archaeology), LVR-LandesMuseum Bonn, LVR-Amt für Bodendenkmalpflege im Rheinland, and Tübingen University funded by the AHRC (Award no. AH/Y007611/1) and DFG. 

Bartmann Goes Global