Beaker pottery is relatively well-represented among prehistoric finds from the World Heritage Site, but this particular sub-style is not. The name refers to the design and the technique of decoration, in which horizontal zones of comb impressions are bounded at the upper and lower edges by lines of cord impression. The ‘Maritime’ part refers to the fact that this type of Beaker is particularly found along the coastal areas of north-western Europe. It is around 4,300 years old which places it early in the period of Beaker use in Britain. This vessel was found in pieces with a burial on the West Kennet Avenue excavated by Alexander Keiller in 1934. The burial had been badly disturbed but enough survived to show that the person buried with the Beaker was a man. There are many better-preserved vessels from the World Heritage Site, but this one is particularly evocative because it is an illustration of how by this time, right at the end of the Neolithic period, contact was beginning to take place with a wider, European and changing world.
Caption: Rosamund Cleal (National Trust)