Cooking pot

Found at Unterer Petersberg, Basle
15th century
Earthenware, partly glazed
height 19 cm
Inv. 1939.642.

The well preserved fragments of this pot from an excavation in the center of Basle show traces of fire. The heating of the food over a small fire hole or on embers had to be done gradually, owing to the low resistance of the pot. The vessel was shaped on the wheel by eye, while the legs were drawn from a lump of clay, attached with a visible thumbprint and bent over at the foot. Since the earthenware was not fired at high temperature, so that its sides remained porous, it was coated on the inside with a yellow, transparent lead glaze, which today would be regarded as a danger to health. Three legs provide a better base than four if the surface the vessel rests on is likely to be uneven; three legs are commonly found on modern utensils as well. However, for stability, the supports must always form a triangle lying outside the contour of the vessel.

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