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Pilgrim’s ampulla

Richard Wells said the item pictured here came out of very claggy soil and because he thought it was piece of scrap lead it went straight into his finds’ bag. Only later, when cleaning mud off a number of finds, did he discover that he had found a lead pilgrims’ ampulla. Richard said he could hardly believe his eyes.

This ampulla is quite small, the measurements being 35mm by 30mm. The neck, with a loop at either side, is the usual shape but the base is rather like a Gladstone bag. One side has criss-cross decoration but the other side is unclear. The overall shape of this ampulla is scarcer than those with a shell-like base.

Richard’s find is the sort of thing that is of interest not only detectorists but just about everyone else who sees it.

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Richard Wells
Richard Wells
1 year ago

Thank you, Peter and Paul, for publishing this for me. I am further indebted to Brian Read, author and detectorist, who has identified this as a “reliquary style” ampulla dating between 1200 and 1300 AD. Very much enjoying your ‘corner’ and trying to appreciate how much effort must go into it behind the scenes! Richard