LANCUM-B60611: Oil flask or vessel for holy oil

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
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VESSEL

Unique ID: LANCUM-B60611

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Complete cast copper alloy vessel of Medieval date. The vessel is shaped like an ampulla, with a bulbous rounded body, narrow neck and open oval/circular side handles, decorated with grooves/mouldings, but unlike the typical pilgrim souvenirs it is not made of lead alloy. The flask is in very good condition with a smooth, slightly pitted surface and no holes or surface damage. The inside is hollow/empty now, except for the stopper which was pushed inside the body of the body. Now dried out and retrieved, it appears to be bone or possibly antler. There is a perforation along the entire length which may be damage or else, possibly a spout for pouring the oil. The bone/antler is now dried out.

It is possible that the vessel was used as a holy oil flask possibly from a travelling chrismatory, or set of three holy oils used in the medieval church: oleum infirmorum for the sick; oleum catechumenorum for baptism; and chrisma or balm, used for confirmation, ordination and certain consecrations.

Please see SUR-FA2AB0 and WAW-FFC367 for comparison.

This object has been tentatively dated c.1100-1300.

Notes:

Similar examples are recorded on the PAS database (cf. ESS-E60906). They have often been found with the name of their contents engraved on the outside.Traditional interpretations of these vessels are as flasks for holy oil. It is possible that it is from a travelling chrismatory, or set of three holy oils used in the Medieval church:oleum infirmorum for the sick; oleum catechumenorum for baptism; and chrisma or balm, used for confirmation, ordination and certain consecrations.

Class: Oil flask

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1100
Date to: Circa AD 1300

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 55 mm
Width: 31 mm
Thickness: 2 mm
Weight: 88.56 g
Diameter: 31 mm

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Sunday 8th May 2016

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Dot Boughton
Identified by: Dr Dot Boughton

Materials and construction

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

Spatial metadata

Region: North West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Cumbria (County)
District: Allerdale (District)
To be known as: Bridekirk

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: GPS (from the finder)
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 1 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land
Specific landuse: Character undetermined

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: LANCUM
Created: 2 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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