Archaeology South-East


Whitechapel Central: The 'Whole' Picture

4 March 2020

This month our Whitechapel blog focusses on some of the most complete artefacts from the site.

Four whole vessels from Whitechapel Central

Most of the artefacts from the Whitechapel excavation were broken, which is commonly the case on archaeological sites as our finds often represent discarded material and refuse. However, some Whitechapel finds came out of the ground in-tact, in part thanks to excellent preservation. This blog post is a list of our favourites!

First up we have a post-medieval (c. 17th century) redware tripod pipkin from the London area. This vessel was usually used for cooking, and although the bowl is complete it is missing its lid.

Post-medieval (c. 17th century) redware tripod pipkin

Next is a post-medieval redware handled bowl, a multifunctional vessel that could be used for eating and/or food preparation and/or cooking. The presence of external sooting suggests it was certainly used for heating food. The vessel has a crude initials scratched into it suggesting someone laid claim to this vessel, distinguishing it from others of the same type!

Post-medieval redware handled bowl

Enough of eating – how about drinking? You could use this London stoneware gorde (tavern mug) with a royalist medallion. It’s also postmedieval, dating to the later 17th century.

London stoneware gorde (tavern mug) with a royalist medallion, 17th century

And to look stylish in the tavern, you’ll of course need this pot of BEAR’S GREASE! This was used as a hair product, a sort of perfumed hair grease, from the 17th century, but became very common from the mid-19th century. This little disposable lidded bear’s grease pot in blue transfer-printed whiteware dates to c. 1860-65.

Disposable lidded bear’s grease pot in blue transfer-printed whiteware, c. 1860-65

You can follow regular updates about the site using the hashtag #SceneSettingE1 on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, visit Mount Anvil’s archaeology page, or view all our Whitechapel Central updates here.