Approx 4000 BC to 2500 BC
The earliest pottery in Britain comes from the Neolithic period.
The development of pottery is a major technological landmark. It involved learning not just to shape objects, as with stone tool making, but to modify the raw material, in this case clay, by baking it. This gave people vessels to store and cook things in.
Pottery also reveals something of the development of 'artistic culture' as the ranges of shape and decoration used vary across space and time. This early pottery was made by coil and slab building, and the pots were fired in bonfires. This produced relatively low firing temperatures, and this 5000 year old pottery is extremely fragile. However, it is still being found in increasing numbers on excavations in Leicestershire. We do not know where the pot shown here was found, but it was donated to the Town Museum, Leicester, in 1855. It is in a style known as 'Fengate', which is well known in Eastern England, so it could have been a local find...
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Eileen It's amazing to think that the pottery we use today had its beginnings in the ingenuity and inventiveness of the people who created bowls like this, and who lived thousands of years before us.
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Page Last Updated: 13 May 2013