Most of the artwork that has survived lacks the formality of design, the obviously premeditated composition and the finesse of execution to be seen in the contemporary work of much of mainland Europe. This apparent deficiency may seem strange, because the technology available was similar, but the primary intention was not artistic in the modern sense at all but symbolic and religious instead. We tend to think of patterns on cups as decorative purely and simply, but the marks on neolithic cups may well have had some other intention. They may have been applied talismanically to ensure that the vessels lasted well or even to ensure that they should yield good food and drink. So if we apply a purely aesthetic judgment, we may be missing the point. With some artefacts, the ritual function is very obvious indeed. Neither realism nor beauty of technique is evident in the earth-goddess figurines from Somerset and Grime’s Graves.