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Mortarium
Date Made/Found: 100-200 AD
Material and Medium: Stone
Dimensions: Overall: 100 x 77mm (3 15/16 x 3 1/16in.) Diameter (overall): 260mm Diameter (across lip): 280mm Diameter (inside rim): 212mm
Place Object Found: Wharncliffe
Department: Archaeology
Accession Number: 1980.915
A complete Romano-British mortarium carved from gritstone. Mortaria (mixing bowls) were common pieces of Roman kitchen equipment. They had gritted insides which allowed for the mixing of herbs and spices, probably using pestles made of wood although few survive in the ground. Sherds of pottery mortaria are frequent finds at Roman sites, mortaria made of stone are much less common. This object was found by chance by a member of the public when they were climbing the crags at Wharncliffe. The site of Wharncliffe is well known for its Iron Age and Roman quern-working activity. The site was first recognised by Leslie Butcher in 1949. He surveyed the site in the 1950s for the Hunter Archaeological Society and found around 4000 flat-disc querns and 500 beehive querns. A 1999 survey by English Heritage recorded over 2300 quern roughouts. The local gritstone used to make these querns was also used to make this mortarium.
Display Location: Weston Park Museum

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