Collection online

pilgrim flask

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Description

    A pilgrim-flask. On each side, within a chevron-border, Saint Menas stands to front, his arms outstretched in blessing. Beside his head in relief lettering is an inscription. He has a nimbus, wears a short tunic with sleeves and a long cloak, and is flanked by camels. The two moulds used appear to be from the same archetype, but one was much more worn than the other; the applied neck, mouth and both handles are missing. Buff fabric, containing both dark and light sand.


  • Culture/period

  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 9.4 centimetres (max)
    • Width: 9.8 centimetres (max)
    • Thickness: 2.7 centimetres (max)
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Type

      • Inscription Position

        both faces
      • Inscription Language

      • Inscription Content

        ΑΓIOC ΜΗΝO
      • Inscription Translation

        Holy Menas
  • Curator's comments

    Terracotta IV
    Purchased: Greville J. Chester. Acquired at Damanhur.

    Late Roman, about AD 480-650.

    Close, perhaps from same mould-series: Hayes 1976: 116, no. 268, dated late sixth to seventh century AD; Kiss 1989a: nos 1, 2,and perhaps 3, from Kom el-Dikka, Alexandria, context of AD 480-560; Metzger 1981: nos 3 and 4, dated sixth to seventh century AD; Strzygowski 1904: pl. xxi:8976.
    Close: Effenberger 1995: 40, fig. 20, dated fifth to sixth century AD; Volbach 1963: no. 219, from Abu Mena; Witt 2000: nos 1, from Ramleh (?) in Alexandria, 2, side A, and 3, from Alexandria, dated end of fifth to middle seventh century AD.


  • Bibliography

    • Terracotta 3410 bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display

  • Condition

    fair (incomplete - neck and handles missing)

  • Conservation

    See treatments 

    Treatment date

    21 June 1999

    Reason for treatment


    Treatment proposal

    Surface clean to original surface if possible


    Surface dust and dirt over hard encrustation

    Treatment details

    Tested pneumatic pen on encrustation with no success - it left a trail of hard glassy lines in the encrustation. Mechanically cleaned with air-abrasive using Aluminium oxide, No1 powder with air pressure set at 85psi and the powder at between 2 and 4 depending on the thickness and hardness of the encrustation. The encrustation was pared down and reduced in the incised areas of the moulded decoration to allow for more detailed photography. However, the encrustation was very hard and set round very small gravel, very little was removed as the encrustation was what appeared to be holding the surface and therefore the design on the vessel.

    About these records 

  • Associated names

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Department

    Ancient Egypt & Sudan

  • BM/Big number


  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • BS.5232.e (Birch Slip Number)
Brown pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, neck and both handles now missing, each face stamped with impression of St Menas and Greek text within a wreath, the whole is very worn.

Brown pottery pilgrim-flask with circular body, neck and both handles now missing, each face stamped with impression of St Menas and Greek text within a wreath, the whole is very worn.

Image description



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Object reference number: YCA68822

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