Steatite urn

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From Shapinsay, Orkney

Postcard of Steatite urn.
© National Museums Scotland

Steatite urn

This steatite urn was found on Shapinsay in Orkney. It was used to hold cremated remains, sometime between 1850 and 1200 BC. Since steatite does not outcrop in Orkney, the urn must have been imported from Shetland.

The urn has been carved with two grooves near the rim and has been pierced with a number of holes. It is partly reconstructed.

Inhabitants of the Northern Isles had their own distinctive funerary customs during the 2nd millennium BC, burying their dead in distinctive pots. Cremation took place close to the grave, with the remains gathered into urns or put straight into the grave.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-084-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EK 8
Date: Between 1850 and 1200 BC
Material: Steatite
Dimensions: 6.5" x 4"
What: Pottery / urn
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Shapinsay
Description: Pottery / urn
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