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Ampulla (1st side)

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found near Craigmillar Castle, Edinburgh

Postcard of Ampulla (1st side).
© National Museums Scotland

Ampulla (1st side)

This lead alloy ampulla or pilgrim's flask was found near Craigmillar Castle in Edinburgh. It dates from the early 13th century.

This side is decorated with an altar with candlesticks and a cross.

Ampullae or pilgrim flasks were introduced to Europe from the Holy Land, Egypt and Byzantium, and inspired the production of large numbers of pewter or lead alloy pilgrim flasks in the West. The best known European examples were made at Canterbury and contained 'Canterbury water': water tinged with the merest suspicion of St Thomas Becket's blood. St Thomas was murdered in Canterbury Cathedral in December 1170, and small ampullae containing 'Canterbury water' were available within a few years.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-180-001-950-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0504: National Museums Scotland Part 2
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  H.1992.221
Date: 13th century
Early 13th century
Material: Pewter; broken at top
Dimensions: 35 mm x 29 mm
What: Ampulla
Where: Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Craigmillar (Immediately south of Craigmillar Farm steading)
Description: Pewter ampulla with lugs, on one side a male figure with book and pastoral staff, on other an altar with candlesticks and cross, from south of Craigmillar Farm steading, Edinburgh, early 13th century
  • Evans, G. Souvenirs From Roman Times to the Present Day. Edinburgh: NMS Publishing Ltd, 1999, pp 2-3. 
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