Wooden bowls and a plate

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Wooden bowls and a plate

Recovered from waterlogged pits in the area of the Guildhall Shopping Centre, these lathe-turned vessels were once very numerous in medieval and early modern households, but they only survive under waterlogged conditions. About 20 examples are known from excavations in the city, ranging in date from the late 13th to the mid 17th centuries.

Current research is emphasising the importance of the Exeter series, especially the choice of material. Robin Wood, an expert on wooden bowls, notes the unusually high proportion of elm and maple vessels in the Exeter series. Nationally, the most common woods used were ash, alder and maple. The reason for this choice of material in Exeter is unknown. Also of note is the similarity in form of some of these bowls to contemporary pewter dishes, both featuring a raised domed centre.

Acknowledgments: RAM Museum Exeter ArchaeologyR. Wood