Collection: Macquarie University History Museum

Pilgrim flask

Accession # MU3182
Culture Canaanite
Period Iron Age I I
Date Ca. 1185-980 BCE
Provenance Unknown
Material/s Ceramic
Dimensions 18.84 cm (l) x 11.39 cm (d) x 12.97 cm (h)
Collection Macquarie University History Museum
Source Macquarie University, MAC
Classification Container
Click here to inspect 3d item.
MU3182 is a pilgrim flask, a common ceramic artefact found at many sites in the Near East and Mediterranean. It is a vessel with a lentoid body, narrow neck and two handles for suspension. The flask has been cracked around the base. The crack moves from the base, going up one side of the flask. It is made of a very gritty brown fabric. Pilgrim flasks were used to store water or oil collected from sacred sites visited by a pilgrim so that these may be kept and carried back home. This particular form of pilgrim flask is characteristic of the Iron Age I period, although it represents a tradition from the Late Bronze Age that continues into the Iron IIA-B. Pilgrim flasks were all created in the same way. First, two identical moulds were used to make the globular body with its flattened sides. Then, the two handles and the short slightly tapering mouthpiece was placed onto the vessel. The decoration on pilgrim flasks varies considerably depending on time period, context, geographic location and associated ancient cultures, although common motives across the Ancient Near East included hunting scenes, mythical creatures, floral motifs, knotted designs, inscriptions and heraldic emblems.
  • Syllabus Links
    • Syllabus Links Stage 6 Preliminary
      • Investigating Ancient History, The investigation of Ancient sites and sources
      • Features of Ancient Societies, Trade and Cultural Contact in Israel
    • Stage 6 HSC Ancient Societies. Option C Society in Israel from Solomon to the fall of Samaria
      • The economy, including; economic exchange
      • Religion, death and burial, including; nature of conflicting religious beliefs and practices (ACHAH114).
    • Stage 6 HSC Historical Period. Option C The Ancient Levant - First Temple Period c.970-586 BC
      • The Ancient Levant as a strategic geopolitical location and the evidence for the presence of other peoples.
      • Expansion of the population, trade and settlement in the region
    • Historical Concepts and Skills; Analysis and use of sources
      • Explain the meaning and value of sources for an historical inquiry (ACHAH007, ACHAH009)
      • Analyse sources to identify and account for the different perspectives of individuals and groups in the past (ACHAH010)
      • Analyse and synthesise evidence from different types of sources to develop reasoned claims (ACHAH008)
      • Identify and analyse problems relating to sources in the investigation of the past (ACHAH011)
    • Historical Concepts and Skills; Historical investigation and research.
      • Use evidence from a range of sources to inform investigation and research (ACHAH005)
  • Online Resources
    • Imitation and Emulation of Pottery - Canaan and Ancient Israel at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology:
    • Pilgrim Flasks, Musée du Louvre:
    • C.Gallorini, Innovation Through Interactions; A Tale of Three 'Pilgrim Flasks, University of Birmingham.:
    • Archaeology; A publication of the Archaeological Institute of America, (August 22, 2013), Traces of Cinnamon Found in 3,000-Year-Old Vessels.:
  • Bibliography/References

Cite this page

Macquarie University History Museum (2020). Pilgrim flask, MU3182. // (accessed on: 14 June 2020).

Rights & Permissions

We support the open release of data and information about our collections. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Creative Commons License

Share us