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Archaeo News 

26 September 2018
Scotland's largest find of prehistoric pottery

Remains of more than 200 prehistoric eating bowls and cooking vessels were found on land at Meadowend Farm near Clackmannan, about 40 kilometres northwest of Edinburgh. The collection spans more than 2,000 years, with the oldest piece dating to around 4,000 BCE. The fragments reveal their owners' diets may have included yoghurt, butter, and cheese, as well as roasted hazelnuts and toasted barley.
   More than 2,000 sherds of pottery were found across two fields, in rubbish pits dug by the site's earliest-known occupants. Julie Franklin of Headland Archaeology, who published the report, says: "The pieces were in such good condition and they just kept coming. We wondered when it was going stop. Normally you might come across some sherds or a couple of larger pieces but we had so much of the stuff. When we knew most of the pots were Neolithic, we knew we had found something important. It was the biggest collection of this kind of neolithic pottery ever found in Scotland."
   Most of the finds were Middle Neolithic "Impressed Ware", which date from around 3300 BCE to 3000 BCE - the largest collection from this era ever found in Scotland. One of the materials used in the vessels - crushed quartz dolerite - is found close to the site. Julie Franklin adds; "We don't understand the organisation of the Neolithic pottery industry that well but it was really quite finely made."
   A substantial number of pots were likely used for cooking. Charred hazelnut shells, oats, and burnt cereal grains were found across the site.
   Analysis of a round-bottomed carinated bowl shows the vessel once contained milk-derived fats. The report says the discovery "demonstrates once more that Scotland's early farmers were dairy farmers, exploiting their domesticated cattle not only for their meat but also for their secondary products." Although Neolithic people of the area were likely lactose intolerant, they would have been able to digest yoghurt, butter, and cheese.
   Evidence of six Bronze Age roundhouses were also discovered.

Edited from The Scotsman (12 September 2018)

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