Tracing the Lines: uncovering Grooved Ware trajectories in Neolithic Scotland is a Historic Environment Scotland-funded project headed by Dr Alex Gibson and Dr Mike Copper at the University of Bradford with the support of specialists at HES and National Museums Scotland. The project takes its name from the distinctive linear motifs that characterise the Grooved Ware pottery that is found across Britain and Ireland during the Late Neolithic period (roughly 3200-2450 BC depending on the region in question). It also references the more abstract lines that increasingly connected communities across the islands at this time and which are reflected in the widespread adoption of this style of pottery alongside new forms of monuments and artefacts.

The project aims to identify preserved organic material suitable for radiocarbon dating found in close association with (or preferably on) Grooved Ware pottery in Scotland with a view to refining our understanding of the timing and nature of the spread of Grooved Ware beyond its apparent (on current dating) place of origin in Orkney. This will, in turn, help researchers to better understand how and why the social changes associated with the new forms of material culture came to be shared across such a wide area.

Over the next few months this blog will follow the progress of the project and will provide links to presentations and public engagement activities arising from this research. We hope you will call back to see how things are progressing.

Tracing the Lines team members and advisors (from left to right) Dr Derek Hamilton (Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre), Dr Mike Copper (University of Bradford), Dr Alison Sheridan (National Museums Scotland), Dr Alex Gibson (University of Bradford), Dr Ann MacSween (Historic Environment Scotland)