medieval (1150-1500 AD) lead pilgrim's ampulla,
missing its neck and side lugs. The body of the ampulla widens towards the
centre, and then narrows creating a circular shape. The top of the ampulla is
broken off in an old break. The obverse is decorated with a large crown, with a
raised cross-hatching surrounding it. On the reverse is a raised cross,
surrounded by a raised circle. This is possibly representing a wheel. Round this
is more raised cross-hatching. The ampulla is a grey colour. The ampulla is 35mm
in length, 33mm in width, and is 4.3mm at the maximum thickness. The ampulla
weighs 21.19g. The ampulla is similar to one in Spencer 1990, 61, 139, although
the wheel on the reverse is a different design.
Ampulla are known from the late 12th century and were
replaced by the popularity of pilgrim badges in the early 14th century, but are
thought to have continued in use to the end of the 15th century. They were often
worn on clothing, and used to hold holy water from shrines, the lugs or handles
used for attachment. They are often found in rural locations, and it has been
suggested that this was to bless the fields (Anderson, 2010).