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Potter's fingerprint from 5,000 years ago found in Orkney

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

A fingerprint left on a clay vessel made by a potter 5,000 years ago has been found in Orkney.

The print was discovered on a surviving fragment of the object at the Ness of Brodgar archaeological site.

Archaeologists have been excavating at the complex of ancient buildings in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site since 2006.

Imaging technology was used to reveal the fingerprint left after the potter pressed a finger into wet clay.


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  • 1 month later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·


Prehistoric pottery fingerprints 'left by two men'

Archaeologists believe fingerprints left on a piece of Neolithic pottery belonged to two young men.

A single print was first discovered in April on the fragment of a clay vessel unearthed at Orkney's Ness of Brodgar archaeological site.

Further analysis identified two more prints, but only two of the three fingerprints had enough detail for archaeologists to study properly.

They think one was aged between 13 and 20 and the other 15 and 22.


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  • The title was changed to Potter's fingerprint from 5,000 years ago found in Orkney
  • 4 months later...
Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Another update:

Fingerprints point to 5,000-year-old Orkney pottery class

Archaeologists believe fingerprints on fragments of clay found in Orkney were left by experienced potters and their young apprentice 5,000 years ago.

Experts have newly identified a print left by a 13-year-old boy.

Previously finger marks left by a young male, possibly the same boy, and two adult men were discovered on fragments of pottery at Orkney's Ness of Brodgar.

Archaeologists suggest the prints were left as experienced potters showed novices how to shape a piece of clay.


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