Bronze Age Grape Cup - Amesbury G19A
- In stock, ready to ship
- Inventory on the way
We based this replica Grape cup on a find from a primary cremation bowl barrow at Amesbury. It is a symbol of someone's love for another; it is an object that was carefully laid to rest alongside the remains of a person who meant a great deal to them.
All grape cups are a labour of love as they take time and patience to individually apply each bead of clay, giving the maker time to reflect. Perhaps the maker of this cup took that time to reflect upon the life of the person it was destined to accompany into the afterlife. Sadly we shall never know.
As well as the beads of clay decorating the outer surface of this cup, there is also impressed decoration in a chevron design around the rim of the cup and more impressed decoration on the base. To create this decoration, we used the edge of a piece of flint to emulate the shape and texture of the design.
Often referred to as an incense cup, the cup's true purpose is unknown, although several theories have been put forward over the years. One of the more plausible suggestions is that the creators of this style of cup used it to carry a lump of smouldering coal from the home hearth to the ceremonial cremation site.
This use would explain the function of the beads that allow air to circulate between them and stop your hand from directly touching the pot's surface, which does get hot from the coal inside. It would also explain why several of these styles of vessels were found in burial goods.
It also makes a good hand warmer; we have experimented with this.
But the truth is we will never know for sure.
Smoke fired Terracotta
Diameter 75 mm x Height 45 mm
Completely hand-built from clays similar in character to those used by the original potters, this vessel has been fired in a wood fire to emulate the original's surface colouration. It has finished with beeswax polish, a material also identified in residue analysis of original prehistoric pottery. When there is evidence of ancient potters' tool use, I have replicated such tools using stone, wood, shell, bone, and antler based on original finds or information gained from marks on original artefacts.
We have fired this pot to emulate the ancient firing conditions. The original pot was fired in an open wood fire, in close contact with the fuel, a process that leaves its mark on the clay as variations in the surface colour. However, the low temperatures achieved in open firings also result in relatively weak pots, so this pot has been fired to a somewhat higher temperature to strengthen it, in a unique firing process that allows me to achieve an authentic appearance to the pot.
Health and Safety
This pot is a Museum Quality Replica made using the tools and techniques that potters would have used during the ancient era. As this is an unglazed pot with a porous surface, it will absorb some of the flavours during the cooking process, adding to the taste of future dishes. However, it does also mean that this pot does not meet modern Health and Safety standards; therefore, we do not advise that it be used for cooking. When ancient cooks cooked in these pots, they relied on applying sufficient heat to the pot and contents to ensure that heat-killed all bacteria. Heating to over 70°C for at least 10 minutes would have killed most disease-causing bacteria, and temperatures of 100°C would do even more.
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