Pottery was introduced into South Norway in the Early Neolithic, around 4000 BCE. Ceramic pots arrived without the additional agriculture it is so commonly associated with in most of northern Europe. Four of the oldest pottery-yielding sites in Norway have been examined to shed light on the introduction of pottery into the hunter-gatherer society of the time; Slettabø in Rogaland, and Vestgård 3, Vestgård 6 and Vestgård 8 at Svinesund in Østfold.
As it must be assumed that hunter-gatherers already had container technology for gathering and storage, the question posed by this thesis is why pottery was introduced into the material culture of such complex hunter-gatherers. Two aspects of pottery use were investigated: the utilitarian aspect was explored through functional experiments concerning storage, cooking and brewing beer. The symbolic aspect was then considered in light of the experimental results and the recent Early Neolithic Scandinavian research.
The model most commonly adhered to in Scandinavian Early Neolithic research is based the notion that agriculture and pottery were spread through social networks promoting a new ceremonial behaviour; competitive feasting. Such aggrandising behaviour is commonly found among complex hunter-gatherers, and this model was applied to the experimental results. This thesis is intended to provide a new perspective for investigating the introduction of early pottery through experimental archaeology.