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Shaw Cairn Food Vessel

2100 - 1800 BC

Food vessel excavated from Shaw Cairn, Mellor in Stockport. Made from ceramic, it is decorated over its entire surface with several impressed rows of varying designs. These include herringbone, linear grooves, corded rows and pecked triangles. It was found in a burial cairn and dates to the Early Bronze Age, circa 2100-1800 BC.

Food vessels were an important part of Bronze Age funerary practice and are often found as grave goods alongside human cremations. While burial cairns and their grave goods are quite common throughout the rural areas of the British Isles. Such sites and artefacts being discovered in the Greater Manchester area are a rare find indeed. 

Such was the importance of Shaw Cairn it merited further excavation in 2011-2012. It was during these excavations that an extremely high status artefact was found, a Bronze Age amber necklace. Amber does not occur naturally in the British Isles and its discovery confirms that Stockport’s Bronze Age residents had trade links with countries many miles away. The amber necklace is currently on loan to the museum service and can also be seen on display at Stockport Museum.