Peak District YAC's Iron Age pots
For the last two sessions Peak District YAC has been doing some experimental archaeology. The first session was spent looking at Iron Age pottery, examining the type of materials they were made from and the designs and style of the pots. Then we created our own.
We compared different types of clay; shop-bought modelling clay and natural clay dug up out of the ground. Some of us even mixed in some broken bits of brick to try and re-create the ‘inclusions’ found in Iron Age pottery. We found that the natural clay was much more difficult to mould into pots!
We let the finished pots dry for a month before firing them in a bonfire kiln. First we dug a pit in the turf and then built a small bonfire in the middle of this pit. Once this was lit and well established, our pots were placed around the fire and more sticks were placed on top of our pots. It was a bit touch and go as to whether these new sticks would catch fire, but eventually they did. Turf was placed around the fire to make a ‘kiln’ and to help contain the fire.
Did it work?!
Once the fire was out we opened the kiln to find that all of the pots had survived and were looking good.
Apparently the test to see if they’re ‘proper’ pots is to see whether they hold water without turning back to clay so we’re testing them at the next session. Watch this space...!
Blog by Rosie Scales, Peak District YAC
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