Pottery Vessal, Benderloch Urn

Contributed by Kilmartin

Pottery Vessal, Benderloch Urn

The pot is a type known to prehistoric pottery specialists as a carboned urn so called because of its decoration. This style of pot was in use during the Bronze Age period (around 4500 to 2600 years ago) and it is thought that the Benderloch Urn dates to the middle of this period.

The pot held the cremated remains of two people. Researchers were able to identify the two individuals as an adult aged between 20 and 25 who was probably female and a child aged between 16 months and 4 years. However their relationship is unknown, were they related or buried together because they died at the same time. Analysis of the bones also showed the woman suffered from anaemia (iron deficiency).

Further research revealed that the inside of the urn contained tiny traces of fatty acids. Acids are absorbed by the un-glazed pottery if, for example, it is used to boil water containing meat and fats. The presence of these fats tells us that the vessel had been used for cooking prior to its use as a cremation urn or perhaps the cooking was part of a burial ritual associated with the deaths of the adult and child.

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