LIN-3D2A65: Bronze Age beaker fragments

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Unique ID: LIN-3D2A65

Object type certainty: Certain
Workflow status: Awaiting validation Find awaiting validation

Incomplete decorated ceramic food vessel or beaker. Eleven sherds were recovered, which form approximately 25% of the original vessel. Five pieces join back together to form the part of the body of the vessel, and two further sherds join independently; the remaining four sherds do not join together. The vessel surface is a mid-brown colour with a dull grey-brown colour on the inner surface. The vessel has a sandy deposit over surface in places, which is dark brown in colour and extends over some of the breaks indicating where the vessel was broken in antiquity. The deposit is seen evenly spread along the entire left hand side of the vessel, however fresh breaks are noted along the remaining edges. The other sherds have fresh breaks on all edges. The dark brown sandy deposit is concentrated on the top and left of the vessel surface, petering out to the centre and being non-existent at the right hand side. This pattern may indicate that the vessel was originally deposited lying on its side.

The main section of the vessel shows distinct bands of decoration over the surface separated by blank fields. The uppermost band decoration is incomplete due to the break at the top. This decorative band consists of kidney-shaped motifs now completely covered by surface deposit, but still visible under a racking light, and a double line of hatching below. There is a black field below this measuring circa 9mm in width. The next band of decoration consists of a double line of hatching with a row of kidney-shaped motifs below, with a further four rows of hatching beneath this. There is a blank field below this circa 10mm in width. The next decorative band consists of two rows of hatching with kidney shaped motifs below, followed by three rows of hatching, another row of kidney shaped motifs and four further rows of hatching below. The next blank field is circa 8mm in width. The lower decorative band is incomplete due to the break, however two bands of hatching are visible.

To aid description the loose sherds have been numbered a-f (d and e join together). Sherd A measures 17mm by 15mm, and is 7mm thick. There is no surface deposit and the decoration is clearly visible, consisting of a horizontal line of impressed kidney-shaped motifs with a band of hatching above and two below or vice-versa depending on the orientation of the sherd. Sherd B measures 14mm by 21mm and is 7mm thick. The sherd has approximately 90% surface deposit that largely obscures the impressed decoration. The decoration consists of a horizontal line of impressed kidney-shaped motifs with a band of hatching above and one below. Sherd C measures 22mm by 21mm and is 8mm thick. The sherd has 100% surface deposit and any decoration is now totally obscured. Sherds D & E measure 49mm by 41mm and are 8mm thick. The sherds have approximately 90% surface deposit that largely obscures the surface decoration. Visible decoration consists of a double line, or perhaps triple horizontal line of impressed hatching. Sherd F measures 35mm by 34mm, and is decorated with the same motifs as on the main vessel. There are two rows of hatching with a row of kidney shapes below, followed by another double row of hatching and another row of kidney shapes below. The decoration appears to the curve round more tightly than on the main vessel, and may indicate that it is a sherd from near the foot. There is no surface deposit on sherd F. The horizontal lines of impressed hatch marks would have been made using a bone comb with rectangular teeth. There is only one area on the surface of the vessel that may indicate how long the bone comb was, and this is located on the eighth line down from the top (the lowest line on the second band of decoration). At the right hand edge of the line, the end of one line and the start of another slightly overlap, and this is seen again circa 40mm in towards the centre of the vessel. The rest of the surface is too worn and covered by surface deposit to determine further overlaps. The kidney-shaped impressions would have been made by a denticulated spatula or the tip of a bone.

Clarke defined six main systems of beaker decoration found in the British Isles of which four were European and two were purely British. These six groups were based on the number and spacing of decorative bands on the vessels, rather than by the style of decoration contained within the bands (p 12, fig. 2). Although the Legsby vessel is incomplete, it is possible to determine that it has at least four distinct bands of decoration. This would equate it to groups A or B; group A having five bands and group B having four.

A positive identification of the vessel form is hampered by the lack of rim or base sherds. In profile the vessel is a slender ā€˜Sā€™-shape and appears to be slightly inverted at the break at the top of the vessel according to the photograph and drawing. The lower break end appears to be straight.

The vessel is tempered with crushed flint or grit along with an organic material such as grass or straw. The voids left by the organic material are approximately between 5mm and 8mm in length, and 1mm in width. In cross-section the sherds are all bi-coloured, and interestingly all have a thicker fired exterior surface than interior, leaving the darker clay offset to the interior surface rather than being central. Clarke notes this trend as being a feature more commonly found in food vessels than in beakers or collared urns (Clarke, p256, fig. XIII).

The Legsby vessel is very similar to one found at Wilsford (p288, no. 67) and another found at Brantham Hall, Suffolk (p288, no. 68).

Find of note status

This has been noted as an interesting find by the recorder.

Class: Beaker

Subsequent actions

Subsequent action after recording: Returned to finder


Broad period: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod from: Early
Period from: BRONZE AGE
Subperiod to: Late
Period to: BRONZE AGE
Date from: Circa 2000 BC
Date to: Circa 1000 BC

Dimensions and weight

Quantity: 11

Personal details

Found by: This information is restricted for your login.
Recorded by: Dr Adam Daubney
Identified by: Dr Adam Daubney

Materials and construction

Primary material: Ceramic
Manufacture method: Hand made
Completeness: Fragment

Spatial metadata

Region: East Midlands (European Region)
County or Unitary authority: Lincolnshire (County)
District: West Lindsey (District)
Parish or ward: Legsby (Civil Parish)

Spatial coordinates

4 Figure: TF1584
Four figure Latitude: 53.34041
Four figure longitude: -0.274228
1:25K map: TF1584
1:10K map: TF18SE
Grid reference source: From a paper map
Unmasked grid reference accurate to a 10 metre square.

Discovery metadata

Method of discovery: Chance find during metal detecting
General landuse: Cultivated land

References cited

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Audit data

Recording Institution: LIN
Created: Wednesday 5th October 2005
Updated: Thursday 24th February 2011

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