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From Unstan, Orkney

Postcard of Bowl.
© National Museums Scotland


This ceramic bowl is one of a number 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 bowl dates between 3400 and 2900 BC.

This fine ware bowl has a decorated collar and a round base. It is incomplete and has been restored. It shows signs of having been burnt after breakage.

This type of pot has been named an 'Unstan bowl' after the finds from Unstan. Unstan bowls have been found in Orkney and the Western Isles, and similar bowls are known from the northern mainland.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-184-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 140
Date: Between 3400 and 2900 BC
Material: Ceramic; with band of incised lines round rim; imperfect
Dimensions: 9.25" D
What: Pottery / bowl
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Unstan
Description: Large bowl with a band of incised lines round the rim, from Unstan, Orkney
  • Davidson, J.L. and Henshall, A.S. The Chambered Cairns of Orkney. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, 1989. 
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