rams head jug

From the same flock?

Part of a green-glazed zoomorphic jug in the shape of a rams head of probable 14th century date

Could these two rams have come from the same flock?  The discovery of this green glazed rams head vessel (on the left) at the excavations run by Cardiff University at Cosmeston, looks very similar to the one discovered by GGAT during our excavations at Cardiff Castle (on the right).   On both the enclosed tubular spout takes the form of a stylised ram’s head with large curled horns on either side. The eyes are formed by iron-rich pads of clay. The vessel is decorated on the shoulder and body with concentric lines, chevrons, and small pads similarly formed by applied strips and blobs of iron-rich clay.

Vessels, generally jugs, with anthropomorphic or zoomorphic design, usually involving the pouring spout, were popular during the medieval period, and a specialised vessel form known as the aquamanile, a horizontal ewer for the washing of hands at table, was modelled on the form of a standing animal.

The jug from Cardiff Castle is parallelled by another vessel from Cardiff, excavated at Rumney Castle (Cae Castell) in the early 1980s but subsequently all but destroyed by fire at the Trust’s headquarters in 1983 (Lightfoot 1992, 146 and Plate VIB)

Lightfoot, K W B, 1992 ‘Rumney Castle, a Ringwork and Manorial Centre in South Glamorgan’, Medieval Archaeology 36, 96-163