Pottery jar

Germanic, later 3rd century AD

Found in a male grave near Leuna, Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany (1834)

The jar is burnished, imitating the sheen of imported Roman metal vessels, and has rusticated decoration on the lower half. Other objects were found at the time, possibly in the same grave, though no detailed records of the discovery survive. These include luxury Roman ‘imports’, which may have been diplomatic gifts to obtain the friendship or alliance of a local leader beyond the Roman frontier: cut glass from the eastern Mediterranean, a red samian ware bowl, and a copper alloy skillet and wine-strainer. The other finds consist of three silver brooches, silver arrowheads, spurs and cosmetic implements, a copper alloy buckle, fragments of a bucket and neck-ring, and two other pots.

Pottery vessels were made in individual households in western Germanic regions. The use of the potter’s wheel was unknown. Instead the pots were built up from coils or small slabs of clay. The surfaces were then smoothed before firing in a bonfire covered with turf. Regional forms can often be distinguished, but the decoration could be more individualistic and both forms and patterns could change with fashion over time.

Find in the collection online

More information


W. Schulz, Leuna. Ein Germanischer Best-1 (Deutsche Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Berlin, 1953)


Height: 20.500 cm

Museum number

Gift of Felix Slade
Britain, Europe and Prehistory


Find in the collection online

Search highlights

There are over 4,000 highlight objects to explore