Beakers - Bronze Age Pottery

The drinking vessels known as beakers are one of Bill Crumbleholme's most icon type of pottery - indeed the website and trading name Beaker Folk reflect that importance, plus they are one of his best selling lines.

Beakers are archetypal drinking vessels, with a belly, waist and flared lip, giving a pleasing shape that is comfortable to hold.

A comb is pressed into the damp clay to decorate the pot with repetitive patterns of herringbones, zigzags, lozenges & triangles. Some are decorated by impressing rope or cord into the clay.

There is an archive webpage about Bill's attempts to make beakers, both as authentic replicas and as more modern vessels that are made for functional use with glazes.

Authentic Replicas

Wick Barrow beaker

Beaker (still damp) copied from the Wick Barrow, Somerset. See this link for details of the commission.

There is a page on the Ancient Wessex Network website that describes how these beakers are constructed.

This webpage gives information about how they are fired.

These pot are handbuilt by joining two or three rings of earthenware clay onto a base, using a tongued and grooved joint, all moulded by pinching into shape.

They are fired either in a bonfire or small turf kiln for that distressed look or in an electric kiln to produce a hard ceramic texture. True to the originals they are unglazed and porous.
They should be kept for special ritual occasions, such as the quaffing of coarse ale or for putting pencils in. It will be hygienic - if it is cleaned carefully after use.
This will make an excellent gift for a person interested in ancient history or with a love of ritual drinking ceremonies!

Download a copy of the flyer about these beakers at this link.


Wood Fired Beakers

Wood fired beakers

This is a batch of wood fired beakers, for more information about their firing take a look at the webpages at this link.

Wood Kiln Opening

This is a shot of the wood kiln, after the firing, before unloading. The beakers can be seen dotted about the chamber - they are used as "fillers" to take up the space between the larger pieces.

All the pots are stood on seashells packed with clay - that stops them sticking to the shelf and leaves an interesting trio of scars on the base.


Wood fired Beaker leaflet

Soda Fired Beakers


Soda Beaker

This is a soda fired beaker - information about the firing technique can be found at this webpage.

Soda Fired Beaker leaflet

Electric Glazed Beakers

Electric fired beakers

Beaker Tea Pot

This is a tea pot commissioned by an Canadian archaeologist, to go with her set of similar beakers.

These beakers are thrown with stoneware clay, comb decorated with the patterns and then biscuit fired.

They are then covered with a simple glaze, made from "Cornish Stone" - a blend of feldspars and other minerals - with whiting - which is potter's name for calcium carbonate (chalk). The colour is then added using iron oxide for brown or copper oxide for olive green.

They are then fired in an electric kiln to 1250C.