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The Dumfriesshire and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

Artefacts

Pygmy vessel, Greystone Park, Dumfries

Period:
Bronze Age
Description:

A rounded pygmy cup with thick sides and a flat base with decorative lines on the outside, with one below the rim, and a pair with a row of dots between them at the widest point around the side. With a pair of holes pierced through the side, the cup has a fine grained matrix in an orange-pink colour.

 

Despite their name these were not cups as they are too full of holes to have held liquid! This cup was found when a stone which had once formed part of a stone circle was re-erected in 1887. Bones and charcoal were also discovered at the site.

 

The Society contacted Dr Anderson of the Antiquarian Museum, Edinburgh concerning the find. He replied,

 

"The purpose of these tiny vessels has given rise to a variety of conjectures. It has been suggested that they may have been censers or incense cups, or lamps, or salt-cellers or vessels for carrying the sacred fire that was to light the funeral pile, or cups for the strong drink that was required on the occasion of the funeral feast, or vessels destined to contain the ashes of the brain or heart, or for the bones of an infant sacrificed on the death of its mother. All these conjectures are equally probable, inasmuch as they are all equally unsupported by evidence"

Place of Discovery:
Greystone Park, Dumfries
Materials/Media:
ceramic
Dimensions:
height: 57 mm diameter (base): 60 mm diameter (rim): 40 mm
Source:
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
DUMFM:1934.63
Digital Number:
RPD0094