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roman bowl and ladle

Roman Bowl and Ladle

SOAG's Roman Beaker


In 2015 this beaker was found at just above two meters down in the enclosure at the north-easttern corner of the villa. Initially a small piece of very fine glazed, decorated pottery was found. Then some more, clearly all part of the same vessel. SOAG member John Hefferan reconstructed the vessel, and member Richard Miller created the 3-D version that can be seen below. The image can be manipulateded, i.e. zoomed and rotated, either by touch screen or mouse. Click on the Forward button to begin.

The Beaker in 3-D

Roman Dimpled Beaker by Richard Miller on Sketchfab

The vessel is a “motto beaker”. These are well known, though rare, associated with drinking wine, and usually inscribed with boozy slogans such as “long life”. It is of the “dimpled” form, with six regularly shaped depressions around the body of the vessel, each decorated with a white circle, denoting grapes. Also prominent are white barbotine depictions of vines. It is an altogether beautiful object. Its inscription is IVVAT, our villa's only example of orthography.

The vessel is a fine example of Moselkeramik, made in Trier between 150 AD and the 300s, though not exported after 250. See:http://potsherd.net/atlas/Ware/MOSL.html for a formal description. (Note that some of the coins found at our Roman villa, such as those from the Constantinian URBS ROMA commemorative series, also came from Trier.)

IVVAT has been variously interpreted as a misspelling of VIVAT, meaning “long life” (surely not all Romano-Gallic craftsmen were at the top of their trade, or fully literate?), or a transliteration of IUVAT (as in AUDENTIS FORTUNA IUVAT - Virgil’s “fortune favours the brave”.). IUVAT literally means “may this help” - an appropriate motto for a drinking vessel!