Objects: Feeding Bottles

C/1957/2/5, C/1957/3/11 & C/1957/3/12
Rhine River
Roman
Unknown date
Materials: ceramic

This group of three objects shows a type of ceramic vessel often known as a “feeder” or “feeding” bottle. This type of vessel can be found in a variety of materials throughout the ancient world, but is most commonly made of either ceramic or glass. While there is some question as to their use, typically this style of vessel is believed to be an ancient baby bottle.

The vessels could be filled with a type of gruel, porridge, milk, or other liquid, which would be fed to the child out of the small spout near the center of the vessel. Unlike modern baby bottles, these ancient versions were probably not given to the child to feed themselves but rather were held and poured by an adult.

All three of these “feeding” bottles in the collection of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History are believed to have been excavated from along the Rhine River during the 1880’s-1890’s. [Kathryn S. (Barr) McCloud]

feeders

Other examples of “feeding” bottles can be found at: The British Museum, the Museum of London, and the Ackland Art Museum.

For more information on Roman pottery, see:
Rhenish wares : fine dark coloured pottery from Gaul and Germany by R P Symond
Types of Roman coarse pottery vessels in northern Britain by J P Gilla
Roman pottery research in Britain and North-West Europe : papers presented to Graham Webster by A C Anderson & Alastair Scott Anderson

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Ethnology @ SNOMNH is an experimental weblog for sharing the collections of the Division of Ethnology at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

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