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Palæolithic Pottery

    Naturevolume 134page766 (1934) | Download Citation



    NOTWITHSTANDING the number of claims for the discovery of pottery of palaeolithic age made hitherto, none has been substantiated. Such claims, owing to defects in the evidence, have usually had to be rejected or at best to be held ‘not proven’. It would indeed be remarkable, if palaeolithic man really had been a potter, that among the very numerous relics of his cultural activities which have survived, there should be no trace of his pottery. There are, however, certain fragments recently dis covered in East Anglia and the Lower Thames Valley, for which the evidence for a palaeolithic origin is unusually well attested. The fragments in question were discovered in stratified deposits at Ipswich and at Swanscombe, and they were associated in both localities with flint implements which are regarded by Mr. J. Reid Moir and Mr. J. P. T. Burchel] as of Upper Palaeolithic type. A description of six of the fragments of pottery and of the conditions of their discovery are given by Messrs. Moir and Burchell in Man of November. The floor from which they were obtained lies at a depth of about twelve feet beneath three distinct strata in Ingress Vale; but deposits of about ten feet depth had been removed before the site was first visited, so that the possibility of in trusion, though unlikely, is not entirely eliminated. One of the fragments obtained is ornamented and certain authorities, it is said, have adjudged it thereby to be of Bronze (Beaker) Age date. Mr. Stuart Piggott, writing in the same issue of Man, while hesitating, on account of the size of the sherd, to be more precise in his verdict than “prehistoric”, thinks that the Bronze Age beaker is suggested as the immediate parallel among the prehistoric wares of Britain. An influential committee, including among others Prof. P. H. G. Boswell, Mr. M. C. Burkitt, Mr. A. S. Kennard, Dr. L. S. B. Leakey, Dr. K. S. Sandford, and Mr. Reginald Smith, as well as Mr. Reid Moir, is to examine and report on the deposits and their contents.

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