Something to “Stew” On

This year’s Public Archaeology program is going great guns, and last week was proof of that. We are getting lots of volunteers, and uncovering lots of features at the 18th-century slave quarter site, including more postholes, which makes us think there may be more than one quarter on the site. But perhaps the most interesting find of the week was the handle of a tin-glazed earthenware (or “delftware”) porringer. Porringers were small, shallow bowls with a flat, horizontal handle. They could be made from both metal and ceramic, and were commonly used for eating. Porringers got their name because they often contained porridge, a type of stew. Porridge was often drunk, rather than eaten with a spoon, and the small, single-handled porringers would fit perfectly in the hand for that purpose. The handles were often perforated, as ours is. The bowl itself probably had a painted design on it. Now we just need to find the rest of the porringer to see what that design is!

Porringer handle discovered last week


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