Thursday, 13 December 2012

This Little Piggy Went to Market

Today's artefact is an insight into a forgot people from the ancient world....

Image taken from
This little terracotta pig originates from Cyprus as is approximately 3000 years old.  It has an interesting provenance, discovered by Mr Cesnola and presented to Mr James Bibby in 1878.  Mr Cesnola was an archaeologist working in Cyprus on behalf of the British Museum and Mr Bibby was a Liverpool based ship owner.  It is told that the pig was part of an assemblage gifted to Mr Bibby as a thank you for halting a riot on the island.  So it seems this little pig, standing at only 8cm tall, has had a dramatic life...but what was it for?  This is where it reveals an aspect of society that is often forgotten...children! It is believed that this pig and others like it are rattles, used as a means of entertaining and comforting young children, much like many of us do today.  The little pig is hollow, but contains several beads allowing for noise to be created by little hands.  The size of the artefact makes it perfect for children to handle, however, the material is fragile and not of the durable nature you would expect for children.  It's survival suggests that the artefact was well curated during it's life, however the circumstance of its' discovery is unknown.  Without such a context truly understanding the role of such artefacts is difficult, however, it does provide a potential record of the ancient world's youngest residents...perfect at Christmas!

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