VM_365 Day 101. Kitchen essentials, Mortarium from Broadstairs Roman building

Roman Mortarium
Reconstructed Mortarium, essential Roman Kitchen equipment.

For VM_365 Day 101, our image is of this  Roman Mortarium dating from the later 2nd to the early 3rd century, was reconstructed from sherds that were recovered from the dump of broken vessels at the Fort House Roman building at Broadstairs. Almost all of the vessel was present, giving a very good indication of how it would have looked in use, recreated here with the addition of rough flint cobble to act as a pestle and some dried herbs in the bowl.

The Mortarium has an outside diameter of 240 mm was made of a silty buff-pink fabric, fired to a cream colour. The inside surface is roughened with the addition of small flint ‘trituration’ grits, which assisted with the process of grinding herbs, grains or perhaps even meat into liquids or pastes. The spout could be used to carefully pour off any liquid from the bowl.

The maker used a herringbone stamp on the flange to mark the vessel as a product of his kiln. A similar vessel, which was dated to around 140-200 AD, was found at the site of a Roman pottery kiln, near the Dane John mound in Canterbury.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *