Patera Cooking Pot, Durisdeer

A bronze cooking pot (known as a patera) with a plain bowl, tin interior, and a flat base. The pot has a flat handle with a curved end, narrow centre which tapers out towards the rim where it is attached to the bowl section. It has a black finish, which has been worn on the base revealing the brass colour underneath.   There are deep concentric ridges on base, and the pot is edged with a border of pellets and plain underneath. Peculiarly there is an "X" mark which has been ground into one side. Two goblets and two bronze plates, said to have accompanied the find, were later lost or destroyed.    Cooking in the Roman Period   Cooking took place over gridirons in ovens. Ovens were usually sited on the edge of the fort because of the risk of fire. Metal cooking vessels came in three forms, saucepans, jars and frying pans. Paterae often had elaborately decorated handles, and some had a decorated bust of a god within the bowl. These were probably not kitchen wares but a gift to a god. Such gifts were often household goods, but also took the form of jewellery or money.   Dr Grierson's Manuscript "Catalogue of Museum" mentions this object:   [extract] 1059.   Bronze pot with handle and has been tined inside, diameter 6 1/2 inches depth, 4 inches weight. Found about thirty years ago when ploughing a meadow in the farm of Auchenscach joining the farms of Marr and Farding bank parish of Durisdeer by William Stoat.   When found other two goblets were inside of this the larger of the three also beside them two bronze plates. The plates were much corroded and were not preserved but the two smaller goblets were kept for a considerable time became a plaything with the children and were lost.   This William Stoat the finder went to reside at Kirkconnel Village where he has been for a number of years and by a relation Mrs Hamilton of Cample Bridge in Closeburn he sent me the goblet [pot] 12 January 1881. Mrs Hamilton told me that he said that around the place where these things were found search was made, but nothing more was discovered. I find in the catalogue of the Antiquarian Museum of Edinburgh at page 60 a figure of a gobulet very similar to the one I have got which was found in a crannog in Dowalton Loch Wigtownshire.   It is stated that inside it was tined (like the one I have) and a figure of a head was on the front of it. On the one I have there is a mark on the front where a similar head may have been attached. [sketch]   A similar patera, complete with head, was found at Dowalton Loch in the Machars, and is now on display in the National Museum of Scotland.
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height (bowl): 95 mm length (max): 286 mm diameter (base): 114 mm diameter (rim): 165 mm
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