5.1.2 Middle Neolithic developments

Some idea of the regionally-diverse ceramic developments has already been presented in Theme 3. Essentially, in eastern, south-east and south-west Scotland we are dealing with the evolution of the Carinated Bowl tradition, with Impressed Ware beginning to be used possibly as early as c 3600 BC and becoming the dominant tradition thereafter, until the adoption of Grooved Ware from Orkney around 3000 BC. Regional and chronological variation in the Impressed Ware tradition can be traced, with clear links between the variant seen in south-west Scotland and its congeners in north-east Ireland (Sheridan 1995), and with a southern Scottish-northern English style clearly evident. Vessels featuring very narrow flat bases are one characteristic of this style, and some pots that have clear affinities with English 'Fengate Ware' have been found at several sites (e.g. Deer's Den, Culduthel, Highland and Overhailes, East Lothian).

In Orkney, details of the development of plain and decorated non-Grooved Ware pottery still need to be clarified. It appears that there may well have been some chronological overlap with the use of Grooved Ware but the duration of this is unclear, partly because of the radiocarbon calibration plateau between 3400-3100 cal BC.

In Shetland, it appears that an insular style featuring fine and coarse, undecorated, mostly hemispherical vessels emerged during the second half of the fourth millennium (Sheridan 2012).