The Cairns bowl

In July 2018, a remarkable, perfectly preserved, wooden bowl was recovered from The Cairns broch well. The very finely carved vessel, which is nearly complete but fragmentary, is exceptionally smoothly finished, appearing almost burnished. The bowl is around 30 centimetres in diameter, with an elegant profile, an everted rim (splayed outwards), a globular body and round-bottomed base.
The 2,000-year-old Cairns wooden bowl after conservation work.

In July 2018, a remarkable, perfectly preserved, wooden bowl was recovered from The Cairns broch well.

The very finely carved vessel, which is nearly complete but fragmentary, is exceptionally smoothly finished, appearing almost burnished. The bowl is around 30 centimetres in diameter, with an elegant profile, an everted rim (splayed outwards), a globular body and round-bottomed base.

Although the object had split into two large pieces and about twenty smaller pieces at some point in the past, it is largely complete. The bowl had been skilfully hand-carved from a half-log of an alder tree. Tool marks are visible in the interior of the bowl, but the exterior has been finely burnished.

At some point in its history, the bowl broke but was very carefully repaired – suggesting it was a valued object during the Iron Age.