Late Bronze Age and Iron Age pottery in the Shetland Isles : a synopsis of design, construction methods and typological trends
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Within the Shetland Museum’s archaeological collection are many thousands of pre- historic pottery sherds. There are also many stray finds brought into the museum by members of the public who have come across eroding prehistoric sites. The Shetland pottery collection has never been studied as a whole; pottery assemblages were examined at the time of their excavation, and have not been reviewed since. A large portion of the collection has never been investigated. Recent archaeological excavations in Shetland, including Old Scatness, Bayanne and Burland, have provided scientific dating of contexts containing pottery. This study has reviewed eight Late Bronze Age and Iron Age assemblages. Diagnostic sherds from each site have been analysed using a specific data set offering a collective narrative from across the Islands. Comparing the findings of this study with examples from scientifically dated sites, the analysis has highlighted obvious trends in pottery manufacture and design during both periods. Many outstanding questions have been answered, including revised dates for unpublished sites, Greista and Ness of Sound, which were excavated in the 1970s. Many of Shetland Museum’s ‘stray finds’, re-assessed here are now better understood, and new information added to the Museum’s database. This study has provided Shetland Museum’s first digital reference collection of the Island’s late prehistoric pottery assemblages. The ultimate objective of this research is to make this information available within Shetland Museum’s website, offering an online resource for a worldwide audience, enabling the Museum to offer one of its fundamental functions as a public service; making the collection accessible to its owners, the community.
Thesis, MPhil Master of Philosophy
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