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Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium
Lion Head Mortarium

Lion Head Mortarium

Regular price £52.00
Shipping calculated at checkout.


Lion spouted Mortaria (plural of Mortarium) like this were imported into Britain during the late 2nd century and would have been used in many a Roman kitchen to produce delicious treats. Used to grind herbs & spices and to make purees & pastes, the grit that is embedded into the bottom of mortaria acts as a grinding medium, in this case, a fine quartz grit, pressed into the bottom of the bowl before the whole bowl is dipped in a layer of red slip. 

The moulded, stylised lion's head that has been applied is ubiquitous with these bowls. Once applied, incised lines are then scratched around the lion head, and a hole is cut in the mouth of the lion to form a spout, making it also function as a juice maker.

Many of the examples found in Britain were East Gaulish imports, and this replica is based on one found at Papcastle Roman Fort in Cumbria.  

Form 45


Earthenware, terracotta


Approx. 140 mm tall, 80 mm diameter


As with all our Museum Quality Replicas, we have made this pot, as the original would have been, entirely by hand from natural clay and using replicas of the types of tool that the ancient makers would have used. As each pot varies, you may not receive the same cup in the image, but you can be sure that your pot will be one of a kind due to the variations caused by the firing process. 

Health and Safety

This pot is a Museum Quality Replica made using the tools and techniques that ancient potters would have used during this era. As this is an unglazed pot with a porous surface, it will absorb some of the flavours during the cooking process or when used as food storage, which does add to the taste of future dishes. However, it does also mean that this pot does not meet modern Health and Safety standards, and therefore, we do not advise that you use it for cooking or storing foodstuffs. When ancient cooks used these pots, they relied on applying sufficient heat to the pot and contents to ensure that the 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.  

It is likely that the first time a mortarium was used, the internal surface was ground down with a pestle to remove any grit that was not fully embedded in the surface of the clay. This would have helped to avoid any dental emergencies.  


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