Pilgrim flask

(Phoenician Age)

This term indicates a "pilgrim's flask," i.e. a ceramic travelling canteen which could hold water or wine, characterised by a lenticular profile, a short neck and small ring handles through which the object could be hanged.

This ceramic artefact, found in the current historical centre of Posada, has a circular shape with a flat cross section on one side and rounded on the other (fig. 1). The flat face has plant imprints, probably left by the framework on which it was made or allowed to dry; the rest of the body is smooth. The flask has four symmetrical looped holes at the sides of the body, of which only one is still integral, while the neck is missing.

The discovery of this object allows us to hypothesise frequent visits by eastern people to the Nuraghic village of Posada during the transition between the Bronze and the Iron Ages. In the village of Sant'Imbenia, in a similar context, a pilgrim flask was found in fragments, slightly larger than the one from Posada and with both sides rounded (fig. 2).

Similar objects were also documented in Oliena (fig. 3), while a bronze miniaturised specimen was found in Borore datable to the Nuraghic Age (fig. 4).

Fig. 1 - Pilgrim flask from the old town of Posada (from SANCIU 2010 fig. 3).
Fig. 2 - Pilgrim flask from Sant’Imbenia (from LO SCHIAVO 2000).
Fig. 3 - Pilgrim flask from Oliena, village of Ruinas (from FADDA 2006, p. 76, fig. 85).
Fig. 4 - Miniaturised bronze Pilgrim flask from Borore (from Lo Schiavo 2000).


  • M.A. FADDA, Il Museo Archeologico Nazionale di Nuoro. Sardegna archeologica. Guide e itinerari 17, Sassari 2006.
  • G. FLORIS, Il castello medioevale della Fava (Posada). Acta historica et archaeologica mediaevalia 29, pp. 257-297.
  • F. LO SCHIAVO, Forme di contenitori di bronzo e di ceramica: documenti ed ipotesi, in P. BARTOLONI, L. CAMPANELLA, La ceramica fenicia di Sardegna. Dati, problematiche, confronti, Roma 2000, pp. 208-223.
  • A. SANCIU, Fenici lungo la costa orientale sarda. Nuove acquisizioni. Fasti On Line Documents & Research 174, 2010.
  • A. SANCIU, Nuove testimonianze d’età fenicia e punica dalla costa centro-orientale sarda. ArcheoArte. Rivista elettronica di Archeologia e Arte, Supplemento 2012 al numero 1, pp. 167-182.