Mess can

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found at Newstead, Roxburghshire

Postcard of Mess can.
© National Museums Scotland

Mess can

This bronze mess can is one of a number found at the site of the Roman fort at Newstead in Roxburghshire. They were an important part of the ordinary Roman soldier's cooking equipment, used for cooking over fires. It dates from between 80 and 180 AD.

On the bottom of the mess can, the punched ownership inscription 'The troop of Lucanus' appears twice. Like all of the mess cans from Newstead, this example shows considerable signs of wear.

Brought to Scotland by the Romans, writing was a vital part of the bureaucracy generated by the army. Many Roman soldiers could read and write to some extent, and marked their names on their belongings.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-037-362-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.FRA 1190
Date: Between 80 and 180 AD
Material: Bronze; punctured inscription 'Lucani' cut twice upon bottom
Dimensions: 130 mm H x 170 mm Dia (max)
What: Kettle, camp
Who: Newstead Collection
Where: Scotland, Roxburghshire, Melrose, Newstead
Description: Bronze camp kettle with punctured inscription 'Lucani' cut twice upon bottom, from Newstead
  • Clarke, D.V., Breeze, D.J., and Mackay, G. The Romans in Scotland. An introduction to the collections of the National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland. Edinburgh: National Museum of Antiquities of Scotland, 1980, p 43. 
  • Curle, J. A Roman Frontier Post and its People: The Fort of Newstead in the Parish of Montrose. Glasgow: J Maclehose & Sons, 1911, pp 273-4, pl. LIII. 
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