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Grooved ware people

Most Neolithic cultures in Britain are best identified by the pottery remains which they left. A large number of apparently unrelated cultures seem to have thrown urns which have characteristic grooves near the top rim, hence the name Grooved Ware People.

One way in which the tradition may have spread is through trade routes up the west coast of Britain, but what seems unusual is that although they shared the same style of pottery, different regions still maintained vastly different traditions. Evidence at some early Henges (Mayburgh, Ring of Brodgar, Arbor Low) suggests that they were used as staging and trading points on a national 'motorway' during the Neolithic and Bronze Age. This perhaps explains how Cumbrian stone axes found their way to Orkney.

In Orkney, a variation on Grooved Ware, Unstan Ware, emerged. The people who used Unstan Ware had totally different burial practices but still managed to co-exist with their Grooved Ware counterparts. In fact, some unsightly hybrid chambered cairns have emerged, half way between the Maes Howe subclass and the Orkney-Cromarty stalled subclass.