Piece of a ceramic bowl

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From Unstan, Orkney

Postcard of Piece of a ceramic bowl.
© National Museums Scotland

Piece of a ceramic bowl

This piece of a ceramic bowl is one of a number of pots found in a chambered cairn at Unstan on Orkney. It was placed as a grave gift inside the tomb, and probably contained an offering of food or drink. The pot dates between 3400 and 2900 BC.

The bowl has a round base and a collar decorated with an incised and impressed triangular design. Some areas of the bowl show scorch-marks, suffered after the pot had broken in the tomb. It has been partly restored.

Many of Scotland's early farming communities buried their dead in communal tombs. The tombs were used over several generations. Offerings of food and drink were placed in these tombs with the dead, alongside everyday objects, for use in the afterlife.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-182-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EO 138
Date: Between 3400 and 2900 BC
Material: Ceramic; with triangles filled with incised lines; imperfect
Dimensions: 13.50" D
What: Pottery / urn
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Unstan
Description: Urn with triangles filled with incised lines, from Unstan, Orkney
  • Davidson, J.L. and Henshall, A.S. The Chambered Cairns of Orkney. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989. 
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