Object of the month – more than just a pot

Rim of a Trevisker Ware Bronze Age pot

Rim of a Trevisker Ware Bronze Age pot

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.

Dog House Hill excavation  in the rain

Dog House Hill excavation in the rain

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.

3 thoughts on “Object of the month – more than just a pot

    • 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.

  1. 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 🙂

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