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Fragments of a cinerary urn

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From Kirbuster Farm, Birsay, Orkney

Postcard of Fragments of a cinerary urn.
© National Museums Scotland

Fragments of a cinerary urn

These fragments are from a large coarse bucket-shaped pot found at Kirbuster Farm at Birsay on Orkney. They probably date from sometime between 1850 and 1200 BC. The pot had probably been a cinerary urn, for containing cremated bones.

The fragments were from an undecorated pot which would have had a rim diameter of at least 33 cm. Traces of sooting on the outside around the rim may have come from the process of firing the pot.

Another coarse pot was found on the same farm a few years earlier, so this could have been a cemetery site. Cremation was the favoured means of disposing of the body during most of the 2nd and 1st millennia BC in the Northern Isles.

Record details

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Online ID: 000-100-035-028-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 212
Date: Probably between 1850 and 1200 BC
Material: Clay, coarse vessel
What: Pottery / food vessel / fragment
Where: Scotland, Orkney, Birsay and Harray, Kirbuster Farm
Description: Pottery / food vessel / fragment
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