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Arbor City Hotel Aldgate: ninth find of the week

This fine collection of 17th-century German Frechen stoneware Bartmann jug faces is no. 9 in our ‘find of the week’ series from McAleer & Rushe’s site at Arbor City Hotel in Whitechapel. They came from a brick-lined cesspit and there doesn’t seem to be much broken stoneware with them, so they might have been selected/collected before disposal. These were imported into London between 1550 & 1700, and large numbers of such vessels from a single feature are often a good indication of the presence of a 17th-century drinking establishment nearby. The face masks have often been attributed as a caricature of Cardinal Roberto Bellarmine (1542-1621) and his dislike of drinking alcohol, however, the face masks predate Cardinal Bellarmine and are more likely to represent the Wild Man of European folklore.