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The Roman Army

Mortaria & Fragments, Barburgh Mill

Roman Period

An almost complete base fragment from a mortaria bowl. Deep with narrow rim. Gritty fragments of white mineral on surface of interior. Orange matrix with darker inclusions. Reconstructed from four large and three small sherds glued together with two large cement sections between. Half of rim and most of wall and base present. Plain exterior.


These mixing bowls were made by specialist potters and had internal gritting to aid grinding, thick walls for strength and stout rims for holding and lifting.


This bowl was found during excavations at the Roman fortlet of Barburgh Mill. Grains, ground to make porridge and bread, were the staple diet of the Roman army. One of the punishments given out in the army was for a soldier to have his wheat ration replaced by barley for a period of time.

Cooking was done per each eight-man unit called a contubernia, a group of men who shared a tent, or a room in the barracks.

Place of Discovery:
Barburgh Mill Fortlet
Dumfries Museum & Camera Obscura
Accession number:
Digital Number:
RCAHMS site record:
Barburgh Mill
BREEZE, David J "The Roman Frontier at Barburgh Mill, Dumfriesshire". Britannia (Society for the Promotion of Roman Studies), Volume 5, 1974, pp 130 = 162.