Friday, 14 December 2012

Perfect Pots

Today's artefact is a particular favourite of mine and has featured within work I have conducted...

Image taken from Moody. G. 2008 The Isle of Thanet from Prehistory to the Norman Conquest Stroud: The History Press
This beautiful urn was discovered in Margate, Kent in 1924 by Arthur Rowe, he suggests in his recordings that the urn was restored, but as you can see from the image it is difficult to see where this occurs.  The urn is a dark grey colour, almost black in terms of the face, with the inner colouring slightly lighter.  It measures some 17.5cm at the widest surviving point, with a mouth diameter of c.12.5cm.  Where measurable the urn is c.5mm thick and this appears to be consistent.  Under the neck there is a groove, this runs around the urn at a consistent distance from the rim and above a punctured ‘dot’ pattern.  Further to this the urn is decorated with curved ‘leaf shape’ pattern, marked out with a groove and in filled with further puncturing.  This appears distinctly La Tène I in nature.  Whether the urn was made in Thanet or imported cannot be determined within the available literature, but either way it suggests a strong and developed link between Margate and areas such as the Rhine.  There is a suggestion that it was wheelmade, largely due to the consistency in thickness.  Its' discovery in a Middle Iron Age contexts means for this to be the case it must be imported as the technology does not reach Britain until the Late Iron Age.  The connection with the Rhine suggests the importance of waterways in communication, trade and exchange; it was clearly central to Iron Age life and is beautifully represented within this urn.  This urn is without doubt one of my favourite artefacts, it represents all that I understand of Middle Iron Age Thanet and is a symbol of the connected world I believe the Britons were a part of. 

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