Water Pitcher from the Bath

[Originally entry by Rebecca Kerns]
This pear-shaped terracotta pitcher has a narrow base, one handle, and a sloping rim for pouring. Its plain surface indicates that it was a utilitarian jug rather than a decorative piece. Because it was found in caldarium of the bath complex, it was probably used for pouring water during the bathing process, either to refresh the body or or to create steam by pouring cool water on a hot surface.

Date: 1st-2nd c. AD Material: Terracotta Date found: 3 July 2018 Location: Gioiella-Vaiano Villa Site, CLG18 Trench D2, U.S. 345
Photo: R. Schindler
Use the 3D model to examine the pitcher. Model: R. Kerns
Site Plan, courtesy of Trasimeno Archaeology Directors.

This pitcher was found at the base of a hypocaust pillar on the lower cocciopesto floor of bath complex. When the bath complex went out of use, the pitcher was abandoned on the mosaic floor, which was supported by the hypocaust system. When the mosaic floor collapsed, the pitcher fell through but remained nearly intact. All the fragments were collected during excavation and we will eventually be able to conserve the vessel.

Why this artifact matters:
This is one of the few objects from the site that was found in its primary use context allowing us to connect the pitcher with its function in the context of the bath. Examination of the shape, style, and clay also allows us to date the vessel and to study its production. Since it is a rather generic common ware vessel, it was most likely produced close to the site, if not on the site itself.

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