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Extra! Extra! The Curious Case of the Ram: Part 2

The green glazed rams head vessel which we first bought you the news of on Sunday and updated you on the frustrations of sticking together yesterday, has been the subject of a news story from the Cardiff University News Centre and the BBC.

Cardiff University News reported that:

medieval green glazed rams head

The rams head so far…

A pottery vessel dating back to the 13th Century has been found by University archaeologists at Cosmeston, shedding new light on medieval life in the area.

The aquamanile was found in many fragments at the Manor House site at Cosmeston, near Penarth, and the pieces were spread over a wide area. Aquamanile were designed to hold water with which the most distinguished diners at a table could wash their hands.

The discovery reveals the refined nature of life in the manor house and importantly, the archaeologists, from the University’s School of History, Archaeology and Religion have identified the pottery as “Vale Ware”. This is also the first time such an elegant piece has been found that has been produced by local craftsmen for the local elite.

Professor John Hines, School of History, Archaeology and Religion who is leading the dig said: “It became regular practice to shape these aquamanile in the form of animals. The one we have found represents a ram. Examples were made in the major medieval potteries at Scarborough, and we have a reproduction of one of those.

“It is probably to be dated to the later 13th century. This is also important, because this was a period when the local lords of the manor, the de Costentin family, were still holding and resident at the manor. From the mid-1310s they were displaced, and Cosmeston was run directly for greater, ambitious barons, who held large numbers of individual manors at the same time.”

(Source: Cardiff University)

With the BBC adding:

Finds co-ordinator Alice Forward said simpler vessels with ram’s heads were not uncommon.

But she said the decoration of the ram’s nose as a pouring spout was particularly interesting, along with the fact that it was made from local clay rather than imported.

“We’ve always known about the manorial estate but the amount of highly decorative pottery we’ve found including French tableware shows we’re looking at a high status family, more wealthy than we’d realised,” she said.

(Source: BBC News)

You can see this amazing object for yourself if you visit us for a site tour or come to our fantastic Getting Medieval! family weekend this Saturday or Sunday.

And remember, we bring you the the inside scoop on Cosmeston before anyone else!

+Matt Nicholas

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About Matt Nicholas

Hello, my name is Matt Nicholas and I'm an archaeologist. I recently finished a PhD at Cardiff University on the analysis of early Anglo-Saxon non-ferrous metals excavated from a group of cemeteries in Suffolk. I grew up in a town called Worksop in North Nottinghamshire. With sites like Creswell Crags and Roche Abbey on my doorstep becoming an archaeologist was an occupational hazard of childhood. I was lucky enough to get my first job excavating an Anglo-Saxon cemetery at Whitby Abbey before studying for a BSc in Archaeological Sciences at the University of Bradford (2000-4). After my undergraduate studies I worked in commercial archaeology for a few years (in locations from Suffolk to Sudan) before studying for an MSc in the Technology and Analysis of Archaeological Material at UCL (2007-8). I then proceeded to spend two years employed at the Pitt Rivers Museum in Oxford (where I didn't stab myself with a poisoned arrow and only broke one object). I don’t like pickled beetroot. All posts, comments etc. represent my own personal musings, and are not representative of any past or current professional affiliations.

Discussion

One thought on “Extra! Extra! The Curious Case of the Ram: Part 2

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