The interment of infants in ceramic receptacles was a fairly widespread funerary practice in southern Africa during the Iron Age. Using the rich source of ethnographic data on child-death and mortuary practices among Southeast Bantu speakers, we explore the cultural significance and symbolic meaning of an infant pot burial uncovered on Melora Saddle, an early nineteenth-century African farmer settlement on the Waterberg Plateau, Limpopo Province. The skeletal remains belong to a perinatal individual, aged between 34 weeks gestation and newborn. The short-necked jar was interred in an upright position either inside, or close to, a house. Ethnographic data show that a conceptual link was made between a woman’s reproductive capacity and the land’s fertility, as well as between potting and procreation. A close symbolic link existed between pots, wombs, mothers and their houses. Child-birth and child-death were fraught with ritual danger that had to be averted to ensure the well-being of the family and the community. Any deviations from the natural order of things generated pollution (heat or dirt), which threatened a woman’s fertility and a lineage’s continuation. Such ritual impurity not only destabilised the social order, but also disturbed the natural order, as a result of which the rains, the ultimate sign of a community’s well-being, might stay away. To counter the ritual danger, and thereby to restore a woman’s fertility and avoid a drought, foetuses and infants were buried in jars, either in a cool, wet place in the bank of a river, or inside a house or in the shade under its eaves. As in the case of the Melora Saddle jar, the bases of such burial vessels were often deliberately perforated, evidently a symbolic act to ensure that a woman would become pregnant again. Ash, representing an extinguished fire, served as an important cooling agent in such burials, which would account for the location of several midden burials uncovered in Iron Age sites.