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Pottery amphora

Ceramic amphora, 1st half of 3rd century AD.

Found during excavations by the Archaeological Section of the Winchester Museum Service on Victoria Road, Winchester, in the mid to late 1970s.

This large globular amphora comes from a cremation burial in the cemetery at the north gate of Roman Winchester. A hole was punched in the side wall of the vessel to place cremated remains, and the burial was accompanied by another amphora with a flat bottom.

The globular amphorae were used to carry olive oil made in southern Spain, the Roman province of Baetica, while the flat-bottomed types stored wine from southern France (Gaul). The branding on the handle of the globular vessel probably represents a Roman estate in Spain where olive trees grew. Perhaps the amphorae in this tomb symbolize the hope of luxury in the afterlife.