Search for Image ID "DIS2023_BRZ_001" |
Bronze age urns recovered from the Barrow complex at East Mersea in 2019 and now on display in Mersea Museum.
Urn 1 on the left
"Analysis of the cremated bone at the Institute of Archaeology, University College London shows that less than half of a cremated adult was placed in the urn, which might suggest that bodies were either dismembered and cremated in more than one place, or that some of the cremated bone was kept by relatives rather than being buried. Given that the pots were placed upside down in the ground it seems likely that a leather or textile covering kept the cremated bone inside the vessel when it was placed in the ground.
"The decoration and the form of the vessel is typical of one of the most distinctive regional styles of pottery found in Bronze Age Britain, the so-called Ardleigh Style, named by the many discoveries there of highly decorated pots containing cremated human bone. Pottery of this kind is found in both Essex and Suffolk. The characteristic finger-tip decoration, seemingly by both adults and children, gives a rare inside into what is almost certainly a communal activity transferring knowledge to the young. The coarse and poorly fired nature of the clay may indicate that these pots were made for the specific purpose of contain cremated remains. Pots of this kind have been found in a similar cremation cemetery at Brightlingsea, the site of which is visible from this site in East Mersea.
Urn 2 on the right.
The dig was a collaboration between University College London and CITiZAN, with grant funding from the Society of Antiquaries. Conservation was organised by University College, London.
Date: 1 July 2023
Photo: David Cooper
Image ID DIS2023_BRZ_001
Category 1 Museum-->Artefacts and Contents
This image is part of the Mersea Museum Collection.