HESH-51E201: Late Iron Age to Early Roman: Cosmetic mortar

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
CC License:

Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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Rights Holder: Birmingham Museums Trust
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COSMETIC MORTAR

Unique ID: HESH-51E201

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Published Find published

Incomplete fragment from a cast copper alloy cosmetic mortar (also known as cosmetic or woad grinder) of late Iron Age to early Roman date circa 300 BC - 200 AD. The cosmetic mortar is incomplete - all that remains is the looped terminal and a small part of the grinding surface. The loop is cast integral to the body of the mortar and forms one of the terminals. Unusually for the type the loop has a uniform width and thickness; there is no form of junction where the loop returns and meets with the body of the grinder and no decorative motifs. The loop though the terminal is relatively large, one edge has been heavily worn, probably due to suspension which has distorted the shape of the hole to an irregular oval (or egg shape). The loop hole measures 12.3mm x 9.9mm. The upper and lower edges of the mortar are near horizontal with the loop. The mortar is broken very near the loop; however the thickness extends along the lower edge, probably forming the classic boat shape of the type. The break is relatively fresh and has not patinated suggesting recent damage in the ploughzone. The body of the mortar is U shaped in cross section, with the grinding area having a very sharp V shaped profile. It is difficult to estimate wear on this example due to the damage, however it is likely to be considerable if the wear on the loop is indicative of use. There is no evidence of decorative motifs on this example. The artefact is a mid green colour with a highly polished surface patina. Where the surface has been abraded a light green (peppermint) coloured powdery corrosion is present. This is specifically active on the broken edges. The loop has one specific area of damage and although this has happened recently it reveals a casting flaw. This flaw has been caused by a bubble or inclusion in the mould which has weakened this point. The flaw is irregular and seems to be limited to the surface; the recent blow which revealed it has removed the surface of the loop and active corrosion is present around its edge. The surface of the artefact is well preserved, there are several marks around the loop which are patinated and these may well also hint at a long period of use being specifically present around the most worn part of the loop. A direct parallel for this fragment has not been found. From the shape of this example it is more likely to date from the Roman period rather than the Iron Age. The mortar measures 36.7mm long, 8.0mm wide, a maximum of 20.3mm thick across the loop or 8.3mm thick across the mortar; it weighs 11.72 grams.

Similar end-looped cosmetic mortars can be seen in Ralph Jackson's paper on 'Cosmetic sets from the late Iron Age and Roman Britain' (1985: Britannia, Vol. 16, p165- 192).

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: End-looped

Chronology

Broad period: IRON AGE
Subperiod from: Late
Period from: IRON AGE
Subperiod to: Early
Period to: ROMAN
Date from: AD 1
Date to: AD 200

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 36.7 mm
Width: 8 mm
Thickness: 20.3 mm
Weight: 11.72 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Mr Peter Reavill
Identified by: Mr Peter Reavill

Materials and construction

Primary material: Copper alloy
Manufacture method: Cast
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: West Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
District: County of Herefordshire (Unitary Authority)
To be known as: Brampton Abbotts

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: HESH
Created: 9 years ago
Updated: 5 years ago

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