Keeper’s Corner – Roman mortarium

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This beautiful pottery bowl is a Roman mortarium. Made between 100-200 AD, in Gaul (modern France), it was found at Yewden Villa in #Hambleden, near the Thames.

This type of imported pottery, known as #Samian ware, was highly prized by Romans all over the empire, and would have been very valuable. Around the outside of the bowl, the decoration shows peacocks and ivy leaves. The ivy was a symbol for immortality (as any gardener knows, it is very hard to kill it off!), and the peacock was sacred to Juno, queen of the gods.
A mortarium is a grinding bowl (the origin of the modern pestle & mortar), and it is unusual to find such a high quality one, but the religious decoration suggest it could have been used as part of the family’s personal faith – perhaps as part of making the bread that would be burnt as offerings to the gods.
@historic_hambledon #keeperscorner #birds

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