Pharmacy jar

An exciting discovery made during the excavations prior to the building of the Harlequin Shopping Centre was a rich deposit of Elizabethan glass and pottery. Among the finds was this splendid near-complete pharmaceutical jar, designed for the storage of wet drugs. In a world with few effective pain-killers and limited medical knowledge, the contents of jars such as this offered a range of medicines from the effective to the downright dangerous.
The vessel is an example of tin-glazed pottery, with its characteristic white glaze and bright decoration in blues, yellows, reds and greens. The style of the vessel indicates that it was made at Antwerp in Belgium.
Recent research by John Allan and The Exeter: a Place in Time (EAPIT) project suggests that this deposit of glass and pottery dates to 1520-1530 making this the earliest example of such a jar known anywhere.

Object Summary

Accession Loan No.
Collection Class
Exeter archaeology
Collection Area Region
Northern Europe
Collector Excavator
Exeter Museums Archaeological Field Unit
potterytin-glazed earthenwareSouth Netherlands maiolica
Common Name
pharmacy jar
Simple Name
Period Classification
Tudor (1500-1603)
Production Town
Production Year Low
Production Year High

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pharmacy jar, South Netherlands tin-glaze maiolica