Bronze Age Beaker Pottery

Fired July 2005

Bill Crumbleholme Pottery Web Pages

Bill is a potter with an interest in ancient pottery, this page has some images of his Bronze Age Beakers made in July 2005

These pots were made especially for Bill's appearance at the English Heritage "Festival of History" in August 2005
They are made of a blend of earthenware clays, including some from the actual Bronze Age Shrine at Chickerell (described elsewhere on this site), together with a fair amount of grog (crushed fired clay) to provide texture and strength - at the cost of some raw skin after a day's making.
They were thrown on a slow kick wheel, with the clay stiffer and drier than normal. The real Bronze Age potters may have used very slow turntables (like quern-stones used to grind flour) to help make their pots rounder. They would have built the pots up in sections, joining rings onto a pinched base, then smoothing the joins.
The shapes show the variety of typical beakers, some tall and thin - some shorter and wider, some have narrow waists, some low bellies, some flared lips - a bit like humans!
The bases were fettled (tidied up), the surfaces smoothed by hand and then the patterns were applied by pressing in wooden combs to form rows of dots. The patterns are those found on Bronze Age pottery, with losenges, zig-zags and herring-bones.
After careful drying, they were fired in an electric kiln, up to about 950C.
The Bronze Age beakers would have been fired in a bonfire pit, but doing that is too much effort and results in many breakages.
These beakers are not exact replicas, but capture the spirit of the beer-drinking Beaker Folk's favourite vessels. They are porous (which helps keep the ale cool by evaporation!), but reasonably hard, they make excellent vessels for all ritual purposes!
Any un-sold after the Festival of History will be offered for sale at the Monkton Gallery and during Upwey Potters events.


Beakers in Kiln
The Beakers were packed very tightly in the kiln, the top shelf holding two layers stacked rim to rim or base the base

The patterns are made up of repeated lines of dots, sometimes with an outline filled in, sometimes just in clusters. The pattern often becomes highlighted by the blank spaces rather than the dotted areas.

The two bottom images were taken without the camera flash.