The Simpulum is a bronze ladle that was used to serve drinks and, especially, to measure the proportions of wine when they mixed it with water before consuming it. This piece was made between the year 30- 10 BC and it was found in the Poble Nou necropolis in Vilajoiosa.
The Simpulum is a very characteristic object of the Roman troops, so it was probably brought by a soldier from some garrison. It is possible that he stayed there at the end of the war, or perhaps he sold it or gave it to someone from the local population. We can see that the ladle has a top in the shape of a wolf's head, a totem animal of Rome. When they put the Simpulum in the grave they folded the handle to make it useless. The objects most prized by their owners used to accompany them to the afterlife. This was an usual practice, since by breaking or deforming their belongings, no one would steal or reuse them in this world.
When the rest of the tomb was excavated, the burial date was estimated between 50- 25 BC. Therefore, this ladle was manufactured earlier. This piece is related to a military camp discovered in Vilajoiosa and known as fossa fastigata that surrounded the Sertorian Wars camp (83-72 BC). Nowadays, it is still the only known Roman camp (castra) in the Valencian Community, since it is not a common thing to find them, because when an army left a camp they used to dismantle it and razes it to avoid its use by the enemy. The camp was likely to housed a troop garrison, about 500 to 1000 soldiers, who controlled the entry and exit of supplies.
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Poble Nou Necropolis
Height: 50 mm; Length. handle: 250 mm; diam. boca: 56 mm
Nº inv. Vilamuseu: 003498