Department of Archaeology
   
   
  

Prehistoric Pottery Production in Charnwood Forest

David Knight (principal investigator, Trent and Peak Archaeology), Eddy Faber (Nottingham), John Carney (British Geological Survey), Patrick Marsden (University of Leicester Archaeological Services), Jane Evans (British Geological Survey) and Julian Henderson (Nottingham)

Funded by: English Heritage through the Historic Environment Enabling Programme (HEEP)

 

Iron Age Pottery from Gamston

 Iron Age Pottery from Gamston 

Recent petrographic studies of later prehistoric pottery from the East Midlands have revealed a highly unusual and distinctive fabric characterised by angular granitoid inclusions that may derive from the Mountsorrel granodiorite – a tiny (c. 4 km2) outcrop of igneous rock located on the eastern flank of Charnwood Forest, between Leicester and Loughborough (Knight 2002, 138-140, Knight et al. 2003).

This project aims to test by means of electron microprobe and isotope analysis the model of ceramic production and distribution that has been proposed on the basis of petrographic analysis of prehistoric granodiorite-tempered pottery and to define more precisely the potential raw material sources.

 

First Stage: Petrographic and Microprobe Analysis

David Knight, Edward Faber, John Carney and Patrick Marsden

Mountsorrel granodiorite

Mountsorrel granodiorite: prominent amongst the mineral assemblage are plagioclase (Pl), perthitic alkali feldspar (dark bands Na-feldspar, lighter bands K-feldspar), quartz and iron-titanium oxide (white crystals).

Granodiorite inclusion in Iron Age pottery

Granodiorite inclusion in Iron Age pottery from Aston-upon-Trent, Derbys, which exhibits a similar microstructure but not the complete mineral suite.

 

 

The key aim of this stage was to test by means of electron microprobe analysis and additional petrographic study the model of ceramic production and distribution that has been proposed on the basis of previous thin section analysis of prehistoric granodiorite-tempered pottery (Knight et al., 2003) and to provenance more closely potential raw material sources.

 

Proposed Second Stage: Isotope Analysis

Jane Evans, David Knight, Edward Faber, Julian Henderson, John Carney and Patrick Marsden

In this stage of the project we propose to compare and contrast the results of the petrographic and electron microprobe analyses of the pottery rock and clay analyses with results from isotope analyses of the same samples.

 

References

Knight, D. 2002. ‘A regional ceramic sequence: pottery of the first millennium BC between the Humber and the Nene’, in A. Woodward and J.D. Hill (eds) Prehistoric Britain. The Ceramic Basis. Oxford: Oxbow Books. p119-142.

Knight, D., Marsden, P. and Carney, J. 2003. ‘Local or non-local? Prehistoric granodiorite-tempered pottery in the East Midlands’. In Gibson, A. (ed.) Prehistoric Pottery: People, Pattern and Purpose. BAR International Series 1156, Oxford. p111-125.

 

 

Department of Archaeology

University of Nottingham
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