Make a Stone Age Pot

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Pottery in Britian first appeared in the Neolithic (or late Stone Age) at around the same time that people started farming.

We are making a pot similar to ‘Grooved Ware’ which has been found in British Neolithic sites from Orkney in Scotland to Stonhenge in England.

The pots were made out of clay and decorated with geometric patterns while the clay was still wet.

How to make a stone age pot

You will need:

  • Air drying clay or other modelling material
  • A bowl of water
  • Tools – in the stone age they might have used bone, flint or wooden tools. Why not try finding a sharp twig?
  • Somewhere flat to roll out the clay which can be easily cleaned

Start by rolling out a small circle of clay about 0.5cm thick and cut out a circle – this will make the base of your pot. Roll the rest of the clay into a long sausage shape about 1cm thick. Using water as a glue to stick the clay together, start to wind the sausage round the base and build it upwards into a bowl shape.

pot1

One you have got the basic shape, dip your fingers in water and smooth the inside and outside of the bowl as much as you can. You can then level off the top of the bowl to make it even.

Next, decorate the outside of the bowl. Stone age people made repeated geometric patterns in circles around the outside. you can look at images on the internet to get ideas or make up your own. Zig zags, lines and dots were all used.

pattern

If younger children find making the bowl too difficult then they will still have great fun making designs in a flat piece of clay which is much easier.

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Once your design has dried you can use it. What do you think the Neolithic people would have used it for?

Some archaeologists think bowls like yours might have been used in rituals and ceremonies as they have been found in special places called Henges where they think ceremonies might have taken place. You could use your to collect some wild berries and have a stone age feast!

If you would like to learn more about ancient pottery have a look at this video which shows how pottery was first made.

How did you get on ?

 

 

Comments

  1. That really helped me and my son

  2. Can you paint them afterwards

    • Fiona Mair says:

      Yes I’m sure you could. I’m not sure if there is any evidence that these kinds of pots were painted, but that doesn’t mean that they never were. You could even try painting them with some natural pigments like the ones mentioned in the stone age painting post!

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