Iron cooking pots, or cauldrons, were constructed with legs such as this one. The thinner metal of the pot itself has degraded, probably due to a combination of its use over hot fires and time spent in the ground. The legs on a cooking vessel allowed the settlers to place the pot directly over coals, maintaining air flow to the fire below and providing space between the pot and the heat source. This method helped to control the temperature of the item being cooked and prevented burning. European-made ceramic vessels also had legs for similar reasons, like the Schweinetopf (pig pot) and pipkins. Early meals prepared by the colonists were probably stews that could be left unattended on the fire all day.