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Roman Cetamura


ca. 37– 68 CE
Well #1
Cet. Inventory
Inv. C-12-307

This Roman silver spoon, of compact, elegant design, had a handle with a sharp pointed end used to extract the flesh from shellfish and a rounded bowl to scoop out the yolk and white from an egg.  Many comparable examples have been found at Roman sites.

Prov. 5N/18W. 88. L. 14. Depth of bowl 0.5. Diam. of bowl 2.6.  Wt. 13 g

Completely intact Roman silver cochlear spoon with a round bowl attached to a slender handle that tapers to a point. Rim of the bowl shows a distinctive wear pattern along one segment only, suggesting that the user was right-handed. Area of deep tarnish on the interior of the bowl corresponds to the area of wear on the rim.

Cochlearia are usually made of bronze or bone, though silver examples are known, e.g., from Tivoli and Pompeii. The Roman poet Martial (14.121) says this type of spoon was used for eating eggs and shellfish. In practice such spoons would have had diverse uses, for example as an implement for weighing or portioning out medicinal or other substances (cf. Pliny NH 28.21, 28.63, and 28.67-68).

Dating: Found in Well Group VII (ca. 37-68 CE)

Bibl. Johns 2010, 104-106. Swift 2014.

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