Moselle Ware (Moselkeramik) Black-Slipped Beakers




Stephen Wadeson

Ruth Leary

This week’s Finds Friday gives a nod to Oktoberfest, which started life in Germany in 1810 as part of the wedding celebrations of Crown Prince Ludwig, (later King Ludwig I) and Princess Therese von Sachsen-Hildburghausen. So, what better way to acknowledge this than showcasing two Roman drinking beakers that were made in Germany?

The beakers were recovered from excavations of the Roman Cemetery at Bainesse during the A1 motorway upgrade in North Yorkshire in 2013–17. The Roman settlement at Bainesse straddled the long-distance road Dere Street for at least 1.5km and is a Scheduled Monument.

Both vessels are black-slip beakers from Trier in western Germany. The first is a complete globular necked beaker with lines of rouletting, and the second is a near-complete indented beaker with oval indentations, rows of rouletted decoration and a medium neck. Both beakers date from AD200–275.

The main source of black-slipped ware (so-called Moselkeramik), was from workshops in the Mosel valley, primarily at Trier. Such beakers were the most abundant and widespread forms produced at Trier and were widely distributed in the Mosel valley, middle and lower Rhine, and in Britain during the 2nd and 3rd centuries AD. Production of black-slipped wares continued at Trier into the 4th century, but they were not exported to Britain at that time.

The beakers were found in a grave of a child aged 1–5 years old and had been placed inside the coffin on either side of the head. The vessels are small when compared to other late 2nd- to 3rd-century beakers, and are barely wide-enough to drink from with a rim diameter of 70mm or less, so inclusion in a child’s grave may be no coincidence.

NAA’s report on our excavations of the Bainesse cemetery is published online - click here for a link to the Death, Burial and Identity: 3000 Years of Death in the Vale of Mowbray page on the Archaeology Data Service Website, where you can dowload your own copy of this great NAA monograph.


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