More Bronze Age Pottery!

In a previous blog post, we shared our exciting pottery find from Trench 6 at the Kaims site: a single rim fragment of cord-impressed pottery with a tentative Bronze Age date.  In our 4th week of the season, a further 21 fragments turned up in the same area!  The find included two more rim pieces, four with cord impressions, and 17 undecorated fragments of various sizes from (we believe) the lower portion of the vessel.

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Pottery fragments lying in situ in Trench 6 before excavation

After giving the collection a gentle wash, we were surprised to see that on the surface of several of the fragments are what appear to be small finger nail impressions running in horizontal lines in the fired clay.  They don’t appear to be intentional decoration, so they could be marks left by the vessel’s Bronze-Age creator during the forming process.  If after further analysis our suspicions are confirmed, this would be very exciting for us, because this find will be a rare glimpse of an individual person’s fingerprint on this landscape.

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Pottery fragments after washing

When the new pottery was compared with the original fragment, we found that the three rim pieces fit together, along with the remaining two decorated pieces.  This gives us a much more reliable idea of the possible size of the vessel, which might have had a rim as wide as 45cm.  Right now we think we might have the remnants of a very large bowl or jar.

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The 5 decorated pieces that fit together

One fragment revealed another feature of this vessel: a thin, raised band of clay running along the middle of the vessel, right at the bottom of the criss-cross, cord-impressed band of decoration near the rim.

Due to the poor quality of the clay and low firing temperatures, the vessel would not have successfully held liquid, but could have been used for food storage.

Amazing pottery from the Bradford Kaims

Last week we had a JCB at the Bradford Kaims to extend Trench 6. When cleaning this new extension, Project Officer Tom Gardner found one of the most exciting finds this site has ever seen: a large fragment of Bronze Age pottery. After giving it a wash, we discovered that the pottery was decorated with cord impressions making a criss-cross shape on its outer surface. The sherd is part of the pot’s rim, and thumb imprints can be seen where its creator was shaping it.

Although twisted cord impressions are common in Neolithic pottery, this sherd was found in a context that is likely contemporaneous with Bronze Age radiocarbon dates. Neolithic pottery is also extremely rare in the North East of England which led us to conclude that it was in fact Bronze Age.

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Project Manager Rachel Brewer is currently doing an archaeological pottery drawing from the sherd to gauge how large the pot could have been, then it will be sent to our finds department for further analysis!

Watch this space.

Bradford Kaims lecture at the AONB forum

Graeme Young is doing a lecture on this summer’s excavation at Bradford Kaims as part of the Northumberland Coast AONB Forum on Thursday the 4th of December 2014. It’s short notice but there are still tickets available for the day, which is being held at the Castle Hotel in Bamburgh (7 Front Street. NE69 7BW).

Booking for the event is here: Northumberland Coast AONB Forum booking

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A better photo of the flint arrowhead

So excited were the Bradford Kaims Team with their shiny new find that Neal drove it over to the castle. This has allowed a somewhat better photograph to be taken.

A somewhat better photo of the Bradford Kaims arrowhead, with a scale.

Its a nicely worked arrowhead, slightly asymmetrical, though this may be due to damage to one side. There is a change of angle visible along the top edge, where a fragment may have snapped off. This is not a modern break and could indicate use of the arrowhead prior to it being lost or deposited in the ground. It measures 27 mm by 15 mm, and since the current author is more of a medievalist he is tentatively offering a date c. 2000 BC, give or take a good margin.

Additionally we have three winners of the Young Archaeologist Club competition organised by the Council for British Archaeology on site with us at the castle today. More of this later.