Uncover the enigma of Grooved Ware at the Orkney Museum

Tracing the Lines exhibitionAnother not-to-be-missed exhibition featuring material from the Ness is running at the Orkney Museum, Kirkwall,

Tracing the Lines: Pots and People in the Late Neolithic is the brainchild of two long-term supervisors at the Ness – Mike and Claire Copper, two of the country’s foremost prehistoric pot experts – and follows the development of Grooved Ware pottery and its spread throughout Britain.

The exhibition looks at how the pots are made, decorated and fired and aims to introduce visitors to Grooved Ware – the pottery of the Late Neolithic (roughly 3100-2500 BC).

Mike explained: “Pottery was of great importance to people in prehistory for everything from storage and cooking to religious and mortuary rituals.

“Because of this it is a very common find on archaeological excavations. Grooved Ware was the first widespread, flat-bottomed pottery in Britain and seems to have developed in Orkney, probably at sites such as the Ness of Brodgar, before spreading across the whole of Britain and Ireland.

“It is likely to have held a particular significance to people at this time as it replaced all of the previously existing regional styles. This makes it very important for our understandings of society in the Late Neolithic.”

The exhibition includes examples of Grooved Ware from sites across Orkney, in addition to a number of replica vessels.

Claire and Mike, on site at the Ness, with a new carved stone ball. If only it was for real!

It explains how Neolithic pots were made and the ways that pottery is useful to archaeologists, as well as the nature and development of Grooved Ware itself.

Examples of more recent pottery and vessels from other cultures will show how pots can be much more than just simple everyday items.

Among the items on display will be pottery from Africa, loaned by Stromness Museum.

Tracing the Lines: Pots and People in the Late Neolithic runs until the end of September.

The Orkney Museum is open, Monday to Saturday, from 10:30am to 5pm. Admission is free.