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gridiron

  • Object type

  • Museum number

    1844,0223.21

  • Description

    Iron gridiron, ornate. It is formed of a frame of four bars, two of them ending in short legs with slightly out-turned feet, within which are two straight bars and two bent into omega shapes touching at their centres where they are bound with a rectangular tie. All the bars are welded together. A single ring handle is fastened by a loop to the centre of one of the end bars.

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  • Culture/period

  • Date

    • 4thC (?)
  • Findspot

  • Materials

  • Dimensions

    • Length: 289 millimetres
  • Curator's comments

    Manning 1985
    This is an unusually decorative form of the normal Roman gridiron, the majority of which consist of a simple series of straight bars linking the two side-pieces which terminate in legs. Examples of this form have been found in some numbers in the kitchens of Pompeii and Herculaneum, and are known in Britain from Newstead (Curtis 1911, 274, pl. LIII, 2) and in Germany from Rheingönheim (Ulbert 1969, 55, Taf. 51, 7) and Feldberg (O.R.L. B II 1, Kastell 10 (1937), 31, B24, Taf. III, 31). Simple varients from the arlingwark Loch Hoard, Kirkcudbrightshire (Piggott 1953, 38, fig. 10, C71), and Margidunum, Nottinghamshire (University of Nottingham), have the platform formed of bars which run between the ends rather than the sides. In most of these the crossbars are held in place by having their ends inserted into the wider side bars, but the most elaborate example of this form is probably that found in the Silchester 1890 Hoard, where a series of bars runs parallel with the outer frame and substantially reduces the area occupied by the main grid, at the centre of which is a ring. Surprisingly, all of these bars are riveted in place, turning it into a tour de force of smithing. As with the Icklingham gridiron it has ring handles, only here they are found at both ends, perhaps necessitated by its much larger size (45.7cm) (Evans 1894, 153, fig. 21). The gridiron which most commonly resembles the Museum's is one from Pfünz (O.R.L. B VII, Kastell 73 (1914), 42, taf. XVII, 14), which has a similar arrangement of welded bars, but differs in having additional straight bars running parallel with the end bars as well as on the sides, and in having U-shaped central bars, rather than the omega shapes of the Museum's. A fragment from a very similar grid from Heilbronn-Böckingen was published by Schönberger (1967, 141, Abb. 6, 10). Their technique of manufacture is identical with the Museum's.

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  • Bibliography

    • Hobbs & Jackson 2010 p. 85, fig. 65 bibliographic details
    • Manning 1985 P8 bibliographic details
  • Location

    On display: G49/dc16

  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date

    1844

  • Department

    Britain, Europe and Prehistory

  • Registration number

    1844,0223.21

COMPASS Title: Gridiron

Unknown

COMPASS Title: Gridiron

Image description

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Object reference number: BCB60339

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