Unstan Bowl, Neolithic Orkney
Unstan Bowl, Neolithic Orkney
Unstan Bowl, Neolithic Orkney

Unstan Bowl, Neolithic Orkney

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Details

The sacred Unstan Cairn is likely to have been built around 5,000 years ago by a community who wishes to honour their dead in a truly special way.   Functioning as a communal burial place, it will have been built by the community of people living and working in this stunning part of the world.  It is quite awe inspiring to imagine all the members of this Neolithic society coming together to complete this ancient monument.  

The tomb was built on Mainland Orkney, around 2 miles from modern day Stromness, like many Neolithic monuments the location is a beautiful one, with the structure built on a natural jetty of land that extends into the Loch of Stenness.  Providing the site with a stunning view of the water and a sense of tranquillity.  

One of the key features of these burials is the inclusion of a very distinctive style of bowl, named an Unstan bowl after this magnificent monument.  With their shallow rounded bases and highly decorative incised rims, these bowls are stylistically distinctive and are seen on other Scottish islands such as Lewis and Harris.  They are extremely pleasing to look at and hold. 

 Within the tomb there were a number of these elegant bowls found, but they have now also been found in domestic settings.  So, it is clear that these beautiful vessels were highly valued by the people who made them both for ritual purposes, as well as, for daily use. 

Varying greatly in size they are all linked by their iconic shape, decorative nature and the reverence bestowed upon them by the people who made them.

Materials

Smoke fired Terracotta

Dimensions

Approx. 90 mm tall 180 mm diameter


Production

As with all my Museum Quality Replicas this pot has been made, as the original would have been,  entirely by hand from natural clay and using replicas of the types of tool that the Neolithic makers would have used.  In keeping with the original pot, the decoration has been applied using handmade bone and antler tools

Firing

It has been fired to emulate the ancient firing conditions. The original pot would have been fired in an open wood fire, in close contact with the fuel, a process that leaves its mark on the clay as variations in the surface colour. However the very low temperatures achieved in open firings, also results in pots that are relatively weak, so this pot has been fired to a somewhat higher temperature to strengthen it, in a special firing process that allows me to achieve an authentic appearance to the pot. The exterior has been finished with beeswax to give a slight sheen.

Health and Safety

This is a Museum Quality Replica made using the tools and techniques that would have been used during the Neolithic era.  As this is an unglazed pot with a porous surface it will absorb some of the flavours during the cooking process, which does add to the flavour of future dishes. However, it does also mean that this pot does not meet modern Health and Safety standards and therefore we do not advise that it is used for cooking with.  When Neolithic cooks cooked in these pots they would rely on applying sufficient heat to the pot and contents to ensure that all bacteria was killed. Heating to over 70°C for at least 10 minutes would have killed most disease causing bacteria and temperatures of 100°C would do even more.

Firing

It has been fired to emulate the ancient firing conditions. The original pot would have been fired in an open wood fire, in close contact with the fuel, a process that leaves its mark on the clay as variations in the surface colour. However the very low temperatures achieved in open firings, also results in pots that are relatively weak, so this pot has been fired to a somewhat higher temperature to strengthen it, in a special firing process that allows me to achieve an authentic appearance to the pot. The exterior has been finished with beeswax to give a slight sheen.

 

Postage
All items are sent using a second class postal service, if you wish to have an item sent first class please contact my for a quote. Many Thanks