Der Becher von Pettstadt und das Werkstattbuch von Theophilus Presbyter

Author(s): Markus Binggeli

Year: 2013


The chalice at hand was found in the 1920s in a riverbed near Pettstadt. Its shape dates back to older pieces made of wood with a metal upper rim. In the eighth century people overlooked manufacturing such chalices out of solid silver. The chalice is decorated with animals in the interlace in "Tassilo chalice style", while its inner surface shows the remains of gilding. Theophilus Presbyter was a monk who wrote a work containing three books about Middle Age handcraft, which can be dated to the first quarter of the 12th century with come certainty. In the third book Theophilus focuses on manufacturing sacred vessels made of silver and gold, among other things. The practicability of Theophilus' information is now being tested in an experiment by manufacturing a replica of the chalice with all the relevant working steps whilst following his information precisely, including the majority of the tools needed. Theophilus' information includes all working steps for manufacturing a vessel by hand. From casting a silver slab, forging it into a round plate, rising it to the body of a vessel, engraving, gilding and polishing: Theophilus' information appears very detailed and to contain everything that he deems necessary for this so that a trainee craftsman can carry out such works. However, it is still full of gaps for those who have no experience in this field. Theophilus leaves the learner to practice on their own or to be instructed by an experienced teacher. The recreation of the work gives an intense insight into the working methods of a Middle Age silversmith.

Cite this Record

Der Becher von Pettstadt und das Werkstattbuch von Theophilus Presbyter. Markus Binggeli. Experimentelle Archäologie in Europa Bilanz 2013. 12: 124-135. 2013 ( tDAR id: 424907)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


forgery Reconstruction Silver

Geographic Keywords

Temporal Keywords
Early Middle Ages

Spatial Coverage

min long: 5.865; min lat: 47.275 ; max long: 15.034; max lat: 55.057 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): EXARC Experimental Archaeology Collection Manager

Record Identifiers

ExArc Id(s): 14026


Rights & Attribution: The information in this record was originally compiled by Dr. Roeland Paardekooper, EXARC Director.