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The British Museum

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SOM-E88C25: Medieval ampulla (pilgrim souvenir)

Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:


Rights Holder: The Portable Antiquities Scheme
CC License:

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AMPULLA

Unique ID: SOM-E88C25

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

An incomplete Medieval cast lead ampulla (pilgrim souvenir) dating to cAD1150 - 1350.

It has a sub-circular body, with a trapezoid neck extending from one end. It would originally have been hollow inside but both faces have now been crushed together. One side of the neck is damaged and both lugs are missing. The ampulla is greyish-white in colour. One face of the body is decorated with incised lines projecting from the curved edge creating a scallop shell design common on Medieval ampulla. The reverse is plain.

The ampulla measures 54.4mm long, 32.0mm wide, 8.4mm thick and weighs 42.84 grams.

The scallop shell was an emblem associated with St James the Greater and one that was so popular from the 11th century onwards that it eventually became a generic emblem for the act of pilgrimage itself (Spencer, 1998, 41). Canterbury first adopted the design as its emblem on earlier ampullae, but it was later used at a number of other shrines too (ibid.). Spencer (ibid., 3) suggests that ampulla were popular in England from the second half of the 12th century until the early 14th century, when they were largely replaced by badges as the most popular type of pilgrimage memento.

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder

Chronology

Broad period: MEDIEVAL
Period from: MEDIEVAL
Period to: MEDIEVAL
Date from: Circa AD 1150
Date to: Circa AD 1350

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 1
Length: 54.4 mm
Width: 32 mm
Thickness: 8.4 mm
Weight: 42.84 g

Discovery dates

Date(s) of discovery: Thursday 12th July 2018 - Friday 12th October 2018

Personal details

This information is restricted for your access level.

Other reference numbers

Other reference: SCC Receipt 017910

Materials and construction

Primary material: Lead
Completeness: Incomplete

Spatial metadata

Region: South West (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Somerset (County)
District: Sedgemoor (District)
To be known as: Ashcott

Spatial coordinates


Grid reference source: From finder
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 100 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Metal detector
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

Author Publication Year Title Publication Place Publisher Pages Reference
Spencer, B. 1998 Pilgrim Souvenirs and Secular Badges London Medieval Finds from Excavations in London 7

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Timeline of associated dates

Audit data

Recording Institution: SOM
Created: 3 years ago
Updated: 2 years ago

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