This is a replica of a miniature vessel or incense cup found with a cremation burial excavated from a barrow close to Stonehenge. The burial was probably that of a woman who was buried with gold and amber jewellery.
The burial was excavated by William Cunnington over 200 years ago and he records “An enthusiastic antiquary, who was present at the opening of this barrow, fancied that he could trace in this cup a design taken from the outward circle of STONEHENGE.” The slots in the wall of the cup may have let air flow through, allowing a scented oil or hemp leaves to burn slowly. These cups seem to have been fired on the funeral pyre and may have been used in the burial ceremony.
The excavation was supported by Sir Richard Colt Hoare, the wealthy owner of the Stourhead Estate. He was a friend of Josiah Wedgwood, a well-known scientist and who ran the well-known pottery. Hoare commissioned Wedgwood to make these replicas and had hoped that they might become a commercial success.
1994.103 (based on STHEAD.127 Wilsford G8)