Check out this 5,000-year-old fingerprint!

Last updated at 12:45
fingerprint-in-pottery.JAN BLATCHFORD
The print was left by a potter pressing a finger into wet clay

Archaeologists have found a fingerprint which they think could be a whopping 5,000 years old!

The discovery was made at the Ness of Brodgar archaeological site in Orkney where the print was spotted on a piece of a clay vessel believed to have been made by a potter many years ago.

Special imaging technology known as Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI) was used to reveal the fingerprint left after the potter pressed a finger into wet clay.

The fingerprint was found by ceramics specialist Roy Towers, who was examining a fragment of pottery from a collection of lots of different clay pieces that had been recovered from the site.

RTI work confirmed and recorded what is now the only fingerprint that has been found so far at the Ness of Brodgar.

However, ancient fingerprints aren't uncommon and research has been carried out into them for a number of years.

Archaeologists hope analysis of the Ness of Brodgar fingerprint will reveal the gender and age of the potter.

"Working on such a high-status site as the Ness of Brodgar, with its beautiful buildings and stunning range of artefacts, it can be all too easy to forget about the people behind this incredible complex," said excavation director Nick Card.

"But this discovery really does bring these people back into focus.

"Although finding the fingerprint impression won't hugely impact our work, it does give us a highly personal, poignant connection to the people of Neolithic Orkney, 5,000 years ago."

Your Comments

Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.

32 comments