Food is such an essential part of human existence, not only because it sustains us; it reminds us of home, family or happy times. The food we know and love creates a feeling of safety and comfort. Therefore, it is little wonder that the Romans brought so much of their food and cooking culture with them to Britain, including a wide array of cooking utensils and tool.
One such essential cookery tool is the mortarium, used to grind herbs and spices on the coarse grit, or iron slag, that is embedded into the bottom of the bowl's internal surface. It was possibly the ancient equivalent of a food processor.
Initially imported, there have been many examples found in Britain that were East Gaulish imports. However, Romano-British potters soon caught on and began to produce their own versions with production site identified in the Nene Valley (2nd to 4th centuries AD) potteries and near Crambeck, Yorkshire (2nd century AD)
Earthenware, terracotta with iron slag grit
Approx. 80 mm tall, 255 mm diameter
This replica Roman pot has been hand made in Northumberland by Potted History, based on an original artefact. It has been fired to emulate the authentic Roman firing conditions, to a temperature of between 800°C & 1000°C, as the original potters would have done nearly two thousand years ago. This process often results in variations of the surface colour and texture, as is found with original Roman Pottery and giving each pot it's a unique character.
Health and Safety
This 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, which does add to the flavour 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 it is used for cooking. Although our replicas are often used for Experimental Archaeology purposes, if you choose to use this item for cooking, you do so at your own risk.
When the Romans cooked in these pots, they would rely on applying sufficient heat to the pot and contents to ensure that high temperatures 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, ancient cooks ground down the internal surface with a pestle to remove any grit that was not fully embedded in the clay's surface. This would have helped to avoid any dental emergencies.
All items are sent using a second class postal service; if you wish to have an item sent first class, please contact me for a quote. Many Thanks