Roman terracotta toy and a baby bottle in one, in the shape of a pig.
According to scientists, the item could belong to a newborn girl or a pregnant woman – who died 2,400 years ago. The vessel could serve as both a drinking vessel and a baby rattle. The object is probably part of the Messapians’ culture, which was conquered by the Romans during the Third Samnite War (298 – 290 BCE). These people lived in the territory of today’s Apulia.
Italian archaeologists found the object in 2013 in a tomb in Manduria, near Taranto, Italy. The item was filled with terracotta balls. The tomb contained the remains of two people who were probably family. According to the Messapic culture, family members were buried together.
In the tomb, 30 different objects were found, including: two terracotta figurines of a woman, three dishes for a child (including the described “pig”), jars, vases, and plates. An iron knife in the tomb suggests that a man was buried, and a traditional vase – called a trozzella – that the other person was a woman.