Neolithic pottery and ancient beer

On Saturday we went over to Fursbeck Pottery where Debbie is learning to throw clay around the place. We helped host a learning party for 30 archeologist geeks from around UK who are interested in neolithic pottery.


The kiln is loaded up with grooved ware pottery and the peat is lit. Thats cow dung on the top but 4000 years ago, the residents here would have probably used seaweed. The kiln is made of sod and if this is how there were made back in the neolithic age, then that would explain their absence or invisibility on current archeological sites. This might be the first time a kiln of this sort has been recreated in the UK.


Andrew Appleby explains his theories on why pottery was made the way it was in Orkney.

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Malcolm preparing the limpets for the fish soup.


A display of bere was set up. Bere is the barley used in ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia, Greece and Cyprus [and Orkney] but now only grown in Orkney. When Moses had a beer in Egypt, it would have been made of bere. I still make beer out of it. It was almost extinct until recently when it was found on two fields in Orkney. Now it is being grown more. You can make both bread (bannocks) and beer out of it which makes it unique.


My kids had a blast!

Related: Groovy Neolithic Pizza


Andrew Jones has been blogging since 1997. He is based in San Francisco with his two daughters but also travels the globe to find compelling stories of early stage entrepreneurs changing their world. Sometimes he talks in the third person. Sometimes he even talks to himself and has been heard uttering the name "Precious" :-)


  • Andrew,
    The next time you are in N.C., USA and have some free time, we will do a tour of the N.C. pottery tradition. Within a two hour drive there are hundreds of potters, each with their own style.
    There are a few that fire from sod kilns, but no neolithics to be found;-)
    As a matter of fact, I am drinking my morning beverage of coffee from a wheel-turned mug; the only kind of coffee mug I use when I am home.

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