Thursday 31 March 2011

Bronze-Age Pottery Workshops at Cairnpapple Scotland

I'll be running Bronze-Age pottery workshops at Historic Scotland's fantastic Prehistoric site at Cairnpapple, Beecraigs and Bathgate (See Map).  

This workshop will give you a much clearer understanding of the processes that went into the creation of prehistoric pots and will equip you to; prospect for natural clay and prepare it for pot making; make your own prehistoric tool kit; make and decorate replicas of prehistoric pots and fire them in an authentic manner. You need no previous experience, this will not be a dry academic workshop but the content will be of use to People with a general interest as well as Archaeologists and Curators.
  • Looking at the Pots: Using replicas and original potsherds we will look at making methods, clay bodies, tools used, firing methods, potential uses, methods of deposition, preservation vs. decomposition, etc
  • Raw Materials: How to find and prepare your materials. We will look at the types and sources of raw materials and their storage. All participants will prepare their own clay with appropriate inclusions.
  • Tools of the Trade: All participants will make their own Bronze-Age Pottery Toolkit including; combs, scrapers, cord, modelling tools etc., using materials such as: Birch bark, Bone, Antler, Slate, Shell, Wood, Flint etc. The tools will be based on marks found on ancient pots.
  • I will demonstrate various basic Making Methods: including; thumb pot, coil etc., then it's your turn to have a go; making & decorating; beakers, food vessels, collared urns, etc. With lots of information, hints, tips, help where needed and encouragement, all participants will have the opportunity to make at least two pots, possibly many more.
  • Sunday will be firing day although there will be plenty of opportunity to carry on making pots as well.  The post will be open fired just as their Bronze-Age originals would have been.  There's much more to this than simply putting them in a bonfire but I'll give you the benefit of my experience and teach you how to be a great prehistoric pot firer! 

 The workshops which will run on Friday 22 April, Saturday 23 April, & Sunday 24 April 2011.

Cost £50 for any two days

For Bookings Contact:

IAN LEWIS     Historic Scotland Countryside Ranger 
Address:         Rangers' Office, Linlithgow Peel, Linlithgow, EH49 7AL
Tel:                  (01506) 842065

Any problems
Visit my website at
or contact me

Wednesday 30 March 2011

Sutton Hoo Anglo-Saxon Pottery Workshop

The Anglo-Saxon pottery workshop which I ran at Sutton Hoo on Sunday 27th March 2011 produced some great results.  A small but dedicated group of participants produced some great replica pots using natural clays and replica tools.  One lady brought along clay from West Stow to which, after looking at sherds of original pottery from that site, she added animal dung to provide a similar carbon content.  All based on pots from the Pagan period the pots were entirely hand built and decorated using bone and antler stamps which the students also had the opportunity to make.  The on-site cafe provided us with a delicious light lunch and some excellent cake and coffee.  I'm planning to run another experimental archaeology experimental workshop at Sutton Hoo in the Autumn, probably late September and possibly including a firing, if you'd be interested in attending contact me via my website.  You can also follow me on Twitter @pottedhistory.

Visit my website at