Archaeologists have recently discovered what is believed to be Scotland’s largest collection of prehistoric pottery after recovering more than 200 Neolithic pots that were found on a farm near Clackmannan.
The pieces of prehistoric pottery that were left behind are, at minimum, at least 2,000 years of age, with the oldest piece recovered estimated to date back to approximately 4,000 BC, as The Scotsman report.
The prehistoric pottery was first detected after archaeologists examined Meadowend Farm before construction began on a road leading to Clackmannan Bridge. Julie Franklin of Headland Archaeology noted that what was most astonishing was the fact that much of the prehistoric pottery was still in such pristine condition.
“The pieces were in such good condition and they just kept coming. We wondered when it was going stop. Normally you might come across some shards or a couple of larger pieces but we had so much of the stuff. When we knew most of the pots were Neolithic, we knew we had found something important. It was the biggest collection of this kind of neolithic pottery ever found in Scotland.”
Archaeologists noticed that 2,000 shards of prehistoric pottery had been scattered widely over two fields which coincided nicely with all of the holes that were used as “rubbish pits” that were also found to spring up in various places around these fields.
Archaeologists have found evidence to suggest that this site in Scotland would have had settlers living on it during the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and a survey of the area indicates possibly six roundhouses at one point nearby.
The vast majority of the prehistoric pottery that was excavated was from the Middle Neolithic era and is known as “Impressed Ware.” With these pieces believed to date all the way back to 3,300 BC, this “Impressed Ware” collection of prehistoric pottery is the largest that has ever been detected anywhere in Scotland.
As Julie Franklin noted on the quality and craftsmanship of the pottery itself, “We don’t really understand Neolithic pottery that well at the moment but it was really quite finely made.”
Besides the oats, hazelnut shells, and cereal grains that were found littered over the site that would have once been cooked and eaten, archaeologists have also detected fats from milk that were left behind in one of the bowls that was analyzed. While many Neolithic individuals may indeed have been lactose intolerant during this time period, the evidence does show that some dairy products would have been consumed.
“This discovery is in line with results for virtually all the other CB pottery analysed in Britain (ibid), and demonstrates once more that Scotland’s early farmers were dairy farmers, exploiting their domesticated cattle not only for their meat but also for their secondary products.”
Headland Archaeology has published a full analysis of the excavations in Scotland that yielded the largest collection of prehistoric pottery ever discovered.