Mortar & Pestle
These photos were taken during the late summer and fall of 1997
as the excavation team continued ....
|Between two forward frames in the starboard bow, this bronze pestle was
discovered. Used in con-junction with a bronze mortar, the pestle was a common utensil for
grinding herbs and spices in food preparation.
Fashioned from cast bronze, the pestle readily fits in the hand to rotate in the
bottom of the mortar in a circular fashion while grinding its contents. The medial raised
ridge on the shank of the pestle, rotates around the inside of the mortar rim during this
activity, helping to position the grinding end of the pestle in the bottom of the mortar
so that its contents are efficiently reduced.
|Brenda Swann holds an unusually shaped bronze cup-like object that was
found beneath the ship's cooking cauldron between two floor frames.
|Similar in shape to a mortar, this artifact is smaller with an
octagonal shaped flat bottom with a rounded top, four projecting handles, each with a
hole, are evenly spaced around the sides of the container.
|Between each handle is a pair of reinforcing ridges. The
interior of the cup has a rounded bottom and shows very little in the way of wear marks
other than two small indentations on opposite sides. Stress cracks on the outside of
the cup at the same positions suggests that heavy pressure has been applied to the
These illustrations, drawn by James Hunter, show the object from various
perspectives. At present its function has not yet been positively determined. It appears
to be a bronze mortar, although its dimensions are too small to have been used in
conjunction with the bronze pestle that was found nearby. A similar mortar, although not
quite as small as this one, was found on the Mary Rose, which sank in 1545.