Home > Tiles - from St-Jean-Des-Vignes


Two-color, decorated tiles are thought to have originated in France during the thirteenth century and to have spread rapidly from there into other parts of Europe. The precise chronology of the development of the tiling industry, the specific area of its origin and the directions of its spread, as well as the role of various groups (e.g. the monastic orders) in supporting the process of development and diffusion, are the subject of much scholarly debate. That debate is, of course, shaped by the nature and quality of the available archaeological information.

Tile studies require good drawings of individual tile motifs and quality (color) photographs of representative tiles, as well as reliable contextual information about their excavation, especially with regard to dating. Inevitably, the quality and conventions of tile drawings vary. Color photographs are frequently impossible. Tiles from older excavations and those in museum collections sometimes survive without site provenance and often exist without archaeological context. Clearly, the internet affords archaeologists the means to improve the situation in which tile studies are carried out. What follows are drawings and color photographs of individual tiles, supplemented with several contextual photographs, of the two major groups of tiles excavated at Saint-Jean-des-Vignes by MonArch. Eventually, we intend to extend our published material to include all tiles recovered at Saint-Jean and to make them available to students and scholars of medieval tiles and the tiling industry of the Middle Ages.