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Late Bronze Age Pottery Production: Evidence from a 12th–11th century cal bc Settlement at Tinney's Lane, Sherborne, Dorset

Abstract

Excavations at Tinney's Lane, Sherborne in 2002 uncovered extensive evidence for Late Bronze Age settlement and pottery production, dating from a short time period probably within the 12th or 11th century cal bc. Well-preserved deposits of burnt stone, broken vessels, and burnt sherds, together with resulting debris redeposited in associated pits, were accompanied by a series of post-hole structures interpreted as round-houses and four-post settings. Environmental evidence in the form of charcoal, charred plant remains, and molluscs has provided important information concerning sources of fuel and water for pottery production as well as allowing a reconstruction of the local vegetation. Finds of fired clay, metal, stone, shale, flint, and bone include items from distant sources, informing topics such as site status and exchange, and include many categories of tools and equipment that would have been used within the pottery-making processes. Analysis of the spatial distribution of these finds amongst the structures and surviving layers of burning has allowed the definition of a series of industrial activity areas, each comprising one or more round-houses, a four-post structure, bonfire bases or pits used for firing, and other pits with specific related functions. Altogether the site has provided some of the best evidence for pottery production within prehistoric Britain.

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