The inadequacy of the term ‘Flat-rimmed ware’ to describe the non-funerary pottery of the Middle and Late Bronze Ages has long been acknowledged (Sheridan in Bradley 2005). The time is ripe to re-evaluate, re-characterise and properly date all of the pottery known and suspected to be of Middle and Late Bronze Age date in Perth and Kinross, and systematically compare it with contemporary pottery elsewhere in Scotland: this should be high on the list of research priorities.

The relatively well-dated and recently excavated assemblages from the settlements at Tulloch Field (MPK2954; Thoms and Halliday 2014) and Blackford (Johnson in O’Connell et al 2021) are informative as to the repertoire of Middle Bronze Age forms, designs and fabrics. The tall, undecorated narrow-based jar from Tulloch Field is of a form known elsewhere in Scotland (eg at Lairg, Dyke 1: MacSween 1998, fig 90, V154). At Blackford, a range of tub- and bucket-shaped vessels, undecorated except for occasional horizontal corrugations or ribbing and with straight or convex walls, are represented. From the palisaded enclosures come a vessel with an applied horizontal cordon (P216) and others with a shoulder a short way below the rim (P218 and 249).

Selection of MBA pottery

As for the so-called ‘flat-rimmed’ pottery from Croftmoraig (MPK363), the fact that sherds with relatively fresh fracture surfaces were found low in the fill of the ring-ditch associated with the ‘roundhouse’ could be taken to indicate that they are contemporary with the use of that structure, and therefore datable to 1370–1120 BC (Bradley and Sheridan 2005; Bradley and Nimura 2016, chapters 4, 10). However, Bradley has noted that ‘the filling of the ring ditch was not as securely sealed as Piggott and Simpson reported’ (Bradley and Nimura 2016, 70). The discovery of a piece of calcined human bone in the ditch fill, dated to 1258–976 cal BC (SUERC-47157), raises the question of whether the pottery might instead be of Late Bronze Age date. This matter could be resolved by dating absorbed lipids in the sherds, if such lipids exist.

‘Flat-rimmed ware’ from Croftmoraig (Bradley and Sheridan 2005)

The flat-rimmed, flat-based undecorated pot from Moncreiffe (MPK3163), which is similar to some of the Croftmoraig pots, could either date to the Middle Bronze Age, contemporary with the oval setting, or to the Late Bronze Age episode of activity, associated with metalworking.

It is hard to judge how closely the ‘flat-rimmed ware’ from the settlement at Dalrulzion (MPK4038) compares with the Middle/Late Bronze Age pottery from elsewhere in Perth and Kinross, and once again, direct dating of the pottery is needed to resolve the question of its date. The slightly different pottery from Dalnaglar (MPK4338) needs to be dated to see whether it might belong to the Iron Age, rather than to the Middle or Late Bronze Age. Finally, the Bucket Urn from Monzie (MPK848) is assumed to be of Middle Bronze Age date.

‘Flat-rimmed ware’ from 1. Moncreiffe (Stewart 1985); 2. Dalrulzion (Thorneycroft 1933); and 3. Dalnaglar (Stewart 1962)