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from Newton of Montblairy, Banffshire; Magdalen Bridge, Joppa, Midlothian; and Kirkpark, Musselburgh

Postcard of Urns.
© National Museums Scotland


These three urns were used to hold cremated remains in burials dating between 2050 and 1500. They were found at Newton of Montblairy in Banffshire, at Magdalen Bridge at Joppa in Midlothian and at Kirkpark at Musselburgh in East Lothian.

All three urns were decorated on their exterior surfaces using a variety of techniques. Some of the more common designs on urns of the period appear on these three, including repetitive herringbone or chevron patterns and opposed filled triangles.

By around 1750 BC, in mainland Scotland, cremation had become the favoured funerary custom. Cremated remains were usually placed in a large pottery urn, its top covered by a skin or stone. The urn was then buried upside down in a cist or pit.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-190-004-054-C
Image Rights Holder: National Museums Scotland
Project: 0098: National Museums Scotland
Project description | View all records in project
Ref: National Museums Scotland  X.EA 146
Date: Between 2050 and 1500 BC
Material: Clay
Clay; with projecting ornaments
Dimensions: 13.50" x 13.50"
13.75" x 10.00"
What: Pottery / cinerary urn
Pottery / cinerary urn
Pottery / cinerary urn
Where: Scotland, Banffshire, Montblairy, Newton
Scotland, Midlothian, Edinburgh, Joppa, Magdalen Bridge
Scotland, Midlothian, Musselburgh, Kirkpark
Description: Cinerary urn of clay with projecting ornaments, from Newton of Montblairy, Banffshire
Cinerary urn of clay from Magdalen Bridge, Joppa
Cinerary urn of clay from Kirkpark, Musselburgh
  • Clarke, D.V., Cowie, T.G., & Foxon, Andrew (eds). Symbols of power at the time of Stonehenge. Edinburgh: National Museums of Antiquities of Scotland, 1985, pp 198, 296-7. 
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