The Neolithic and late Iron Age Pottery from Pool, Sanday, Orkney : an archaeological and technological consideration of coarse pottery manufacture at the Neolithic and late Iron Age site of Pool, Orkney incorporating X-Ray Fluorescence, Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometric and Petrological Analyses
The Neolithic and late Iron Age pottery from the settlement site of Pool, Sanday, Orkney, was studied on two levels. Firstly, a morphological and technological study was carried out to establish a sequence for the site. Secondly an assessment was made of the usefulness of X-ray Fluorescence Analysis, Inductively Coupled Plasma Spectrometry and Petrological analysis to coarse ware studies, using the Pool assemblage as a case study. Recording of technological and typological attributes allowed three phases of Neolithic pottery to be identified. The earliest phase included sherds of Unstan Ware. This phase was followed by an assemblage characterised by pottery with incised decoration, which was stratified below a traditional Grooved Ware assemblage. The change in pottery styles and manufacturing methods with the Grooved Ware indicated that it evolved elsewhere. Grass tempered and burnished pottery characterised the Iron Age assemblage. Pottery samples from all phases of the site were analysed by XRF and ICPS. In addition, pottery from late Iron Age sites in the area was analysed for comparison with the Pool Iron Age pottery. XRF and ICPS analyses did not distinguish between either different phases at Pool or different Orcadian sites. This was attributed to the similarities in geological deposits over much of Orkney and the variations which can occur within a clay source. A clay survey was carried out in the vicinity of the site, and samples taken for comparison with the Pool pottery. Identification of rocks and minerals in thin section, and grain-size analysis, indicated that the Pool pottery was made locally to the site, and that both primary and secondary clays were used. It was concluded that petrological analysis is more suitable than elemental analysis in the study of coarse wares.