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A Pipkin from Enfield Grammar School

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Finds Assistant Erica Macey-Bracken is ideally placed to spot any noteworthy finds that arrive at the Wessex Archaeology headquarters in Salisbury for post-excavation processing. Erica’s attention was recently attracted by this small 17th–early 18th-century pipkin found during archaeological investigations commissioned by, and in the grounds of, Enfield Grammar School in Enfield, Middlesex.
 
Pipkins were used in a similar fashion to modern saucepans and were available in a variety of sizes and forms. Internal glazing made them waterproof whilst lids helped to retain moisture. They were usually used to cook stews and pottage-style meals, as well as to keep food warm. Heating was achieved by placing the pot directly over or within the embers of a domestic fire.
 
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Though lacking the three short legs typically seen on such vessels, this coarse redware pipkin has the classic pattern of charring on the external surface opposite to the handle. Particularly intriguing are the encrusted remnants on the pot’s interior, which appear to relate to craft or industrial activity. 
 
‘It is wonderful to find an object offering such a tangible connection to the history of the site and to those who lived and worked there.’
David Britchfield, Project Manager – Wessex Archaeology London & South East.
 
 
By Kirsten Egging Dinwiddy and Erica Macey-Bracken
 
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