Station: [225] Bronze Age Pottery

This station may well make you gasp with surprise, given the number of vessels in so many sizes and shapes, decorated in so many different ways.  They date from the Bronze Age and early Iron Age, mostly however from the later Bronze Age, and are typical of the Lausatian Culture. This is how archaeologists refer to the period between 1,350 and 750 BC in the Saale, Havel and Weichsel region.  Settlements and metal grave goods were rare at that time, but there are a great many pots all of which are made according to standard principles. This suggests that the lives of these people were governed by strict traditions and customs.

For some phases of the Bronze Age and early Iron Age, so called type fossils have be classified: during the early Bronze Age, the cups were clearly structured; there was embossed ware in the middle part; in the later Bronze Age bi-conical vessels were used, and in the latest phase, terrine-like pots. During the early Iron Age, cylindrical vessels were widespread. These vessels are mostly in ochreous brown or dark black clay, with an even finish. Their shapes are defined by strong clear lines or sweeping elegance. The decorations consist of sculptural elements such asbosses , flutings and zones of grooved or burnished patterns. Whole sets of these vessels were placed in graves to keep the dead company.   

The clay that was used for making pots was present in the ground, all over the place.  That meant that broken pots were easily replaced. The sherds were cast off, and were preserved in the ground until being uncovered. Thanks to these sherds, we are able to reconstruct entire pots, and to determine their approximate age by their shapes and decorations. Millions of sherds are stored in the Archeological Archive of the Saxon Archeological Heritage office . You can see a selection of these in the next room, which is the ceramics lab.  However, this time we’re letting you do the work.  Have a go at reconstructing a ceramic pot from its sherds, and assigning it to a particular group.  You will see how much information can be gleaned from this task.