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A Petrological Study of Certain Iron Age Pottery from Western England

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 May 2014

D. P. S. Peacock
Department of Geology, University of Birmingham


The Early Iron Age pottery of the Herefordshire-Cotswold region is marked by a predominance of the well-known duck-stamped ware associated with a thinner spread of pottery ornamented with tooled lines. It has been customary to equate the former with the presence of an intrusive culture now generally labelled Western Third B, while the linear-tooled pottery has been referred to the Western Second B culture and is held to represent the indigeneous population. However, this is based on the unwritten assumption that the pottery was produced in or near the home and hence can be used as a cultural type-fossil. Petrological examination suggests that this is unwarranted since it appears that the pottery was the object of a well organized trade involving specialist potters based in the Malvern district. The distribution could thus be due to purely commercial factors, and this necessitates a reassessment of the cultural interpretation. The object of this paper is to present the new evidence and to discuss briefly its implications.

Although concerned mainly with the stamp ornamented and linear tooled ware of the west Midland and Cotswold regions, this paper deals occasionally with undecorated pieces. The ornamented vessel from Pen Dinas, Aberystwyth has been included because of its obvious resemblance to some of the pots from Bredon Hill, Worcestershire, but other stamped sherds such as that from Methyr Mawr, Glamorgan or the Cornish duck-stamped pottery have been excluded on typological grounds.

Research Article
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1969

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