Case 13 - Pottery

Case 13 - Pottery

Take a close look at this seemingly random assortment of pots from eastern England. Many were once dismissed as poorly made. This may be true, but not because the pots were made in a hurry. They were probably made by learners.

Becoming a potter takes many years and in the past children would have started to learn as young as five. They first learned to create small, simple pots and then progressed to larger vessels and more complicated techniques.

To identify pots made by learners, you can look for tell-tale mistakes and compare them to ideal forms made by skilled potters.

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Anglo-Saxon, 5th - 6th century

This vessel may have been made by a competent potter, but it was almost certainly decorated by a... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Anglo-Saxon, 5th century

This beautifully made urn held cremated remains. It is decorated with simple yet elegant incised... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early/Middle Iron Age (500 - 300 BC)

This vessel, in contrast, was made by an inexperienced potter. The extremely asymmetrical walls... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Middle Iron Age (400 - 100 BC)

This vessel was made by an experienced potter. It has smooth, symmetrical walls of even... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early Bronze Age (2350 - 1600 BC)

This vessel is a large pinch pot, but the potter misjudged its proportions. The base is very... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early Bronze Age (2350 - 1600 BC)

The learner who made this pot did not smooth away the ridges where the coils joined together.... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early Bronze Age (2350 - 1600 BC)

These vessels – named after their heavy ‘collar’ – are very difficult to make well. Any small... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early Bronze Age (2350 - 1600 BC)

Good quality clay was an important resource, so learners probably practiced with poorer quality... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Probably Bronze Age (2350 - 800 BC)

Coiled pots are made from ropes of clay, which are smoothed inside and out to join the coils... [Read more...]

University of Cambridge Museum of Archaeology & Anthropology
Early Bronze Age (2350 - 1600 BC)

Coiled pots are made from ropes of clay, which are smoothed inside and out to join the coils... [Read more...]

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