Pot Idol: contestant twoMay 29, 2012 About my museum job, Archaeology, Blogs
Pot Idol is a contest to find the ceramic star of tomorrow! The winner will be given its time to shine and brought out from the archives at the Museum of London’s Festival of British Archaeology event, Hands-on pots. Over the next six weeks we will be presenting 6 hopeful pots for your consideration – it’s down to you to decide which will win the coveted title of Pot Idol. Once all of the hopefuls have been given a chance to win your hearts, we will ask you to cast your vote and change the life of one lucky pot. The chosen ceramic will appear at the Museum of London’s Festival of British Archaeology event, Hands-on pots on 21 and 22 July, where you can meet the winning pot face to, er, pot.
Curator, Meriel Jeater, introduces our second contender, amphora…
This is the pointed base of an amphora (storage jar). Such amphorae were used to transport seafoods, especially fermented fish sauces which formed the basis of many Roman culinary dishes. The main area of supply for these fish sauces was southern Spain and the clay of this vessel indicates that it comes from the Cadiz area of Spain. A large number or fragments have been found in London. They were transported to London by boat and then the empty vessels were either discarded or re-used as storage containers for such other liquids as water.
The design of pointed amphorae may seem odd, with handles set close to the neck making it difficult to hold. However, the length of the jar made it possible to pick it up by the handles, rest the neck and rim on your shoulder and, by steadying the spike with your hand, carry the vessel out in front. The spike acted as a shock absorber so that when the heavy vessel was placed on the ground, the spike took the weight and prevented the base cracking and losing the valuable contents.