WILT-24E341: Medieval Ampulla

Rights Holder: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum
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AMPULLA

Unique ID: WILT-24E341

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

An incomplete and slightly twisted medieval lead ampulla, dating to the period AD 1350-1530. It is incomplete insofar as one handle is missing, and the very top of the ampulla appears to have broken off unevenly on one side. On the handle that remains, only part of the handle is attached still to the body and neck of the ampulla. The ampulla measures 37.53mm in length, 35.72mm at the widest point and 6.26mm at the thickest point. As mentioned, the very top of the ampulla has broken unevenly, and the neck extends down 12.22mm and is 24.13mm wide. What remains from the left handle extends from the neck and stops just short of the body, though originally it would have been attached. The handle measures 3.03mm in thickness. It is likely these handles were utilised as suspension handles, either to hang around the neck or on the wall of a building. From the neck extends the main body of the ampulla, which is bulbous and D-shaped. The front face of the body has incised escalloped decoration, which encompasses almost all of the D-shaped body.

There is no discernible decoration on the back of the ampulla, which has a slightly concave body and minor damage to the left hand side. In total, the ampulla weighs 29.85g.

Ampullas are believed to be brought by pilgrims to holy sites, and are supposedly filled with thaumaturgic water. The scallop design can be associated with Christianity, as the shape is the same as priests use to hold and pour baptismal water (Spencer 1990). The design can also be associated with St James, otherwise known as Santiago de Compostela, as he used a scallop shell to feed and water the pilgrims- Spencer, B. (1990) Medieval Catalogue: Part 2. Salisbury: Salisbury and South Wiltshire Museum.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1350
Date to: Circa AD 1530

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 37.53 mm
Width: 35.72 mm
Thickness: 6.26 mm
Weight: 29.85 g

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Miss Fiona Johnstone
Identified by: Miss Fiona Johnstone

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SSWM 5164

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead Alloy
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
District: Wiltshire (Unitary Authority)
Parish or ward: Atworth (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: ST8565
Four figure Latitude: 51.38384553
Four figure longitude: -2.21693282
1:25K map: ST8565
1:10K map: ST86NE
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

References cited

No references cited so far.

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: WILT
Created: About one year ago
Updated: About one year ago

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