This piece of Trevisker ware pottery, made about 3500 years ago was excavated on the cliff edge at Doghouse Hill in West Dorset. It may look like just a lump of soil or just a broken pot, but it can actually tell us so much more about life in the Bronze age, than what pots they used.
The pot has at least six parallel lines of decoration probably made by a twisted cord pressed into the clay, in itself not that unusual, what makes it really special is where it is from. This pottery was made at a site in Cornwall near Bodmin, and has travelled all the way to West Dorset during the Bronze age. This makes it a rare find, as the nearest sherd of Travisker ware to here was found in Chard 15km to the north, and so far as we know no more have been found further eastwards.
So how did it get there? Could it be due to trading of goods, maybe it was a container for something, swapped for some worked Dorset flint or part of the belongings of a traveling salesman! It could have been brought from Bodmin by someone who lived at Doghouse Hill, or by the person he or she met and brought home to live with them, a souvenir of their home or a kind of dowry? We will never know for sure and the possibilities are endless, but objects like this piece of pottery help to show that people and objects moved large distances in the Bronze age, about 3500 years ago.
Interesting find. There’s a walk along the Coast Path that takes in Dog House Hill. Can walkers see the work that’s going on there or is it all sectioned off? Be interested in having a look on this route http://www.southwestcoastpath.com/walksdb/289/
national trust archaeology sw on February 7, 2013 at 2:58 pm said: Edit
Hi, sadly work has finished on the site and the trench backfilled, the link you mention has a bit about the dig at point 2 on their map. But there are still earthwork features, ‘lumps and bumps’ to see along that part of the coast, to the east in the next valley you can see earth banks called
pillow mounds. These are artificial rabbit warrens usually dating from the medieval period and in the documents, after the enclousure of the land, the field that includes Doghouse Hill was, in 1516, the Great Close called Le Conyngar, from the word coney meaning rabbit. Further east you can see Bronze Age burial mounds called barrows just behind the cliff at Thorncombe Beacon.
This May (20th to 24th) we will be back on the West Dorset coast to excavate a building erroding out of the cliff just next to Hive Beach car park, not sure of its age but will post on the blog updates as we go 🙂