Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Thy Beaker Overfloweth

One of the more striking aspects of the bell beaker vessel is - it's size.

In a way, bell beakers and giant beakers have something in common with the tankards and beer steins of historical Europe - they are very large.  In fact, the word 'tankard' suggests a 'drinking barrel'.  In the same way that some bell beakers became ridiculously large, so too are some beer steins cartoonishly large, in Germany no less.

Leave it to the Germans.  (a Risenbecher - Commons)
What's the point of having a drinking vessel that can't be held with one hand?  Did Neolithic beakers prove unsatisfactory? 

The answer my lie with a Beaker cultural system that is replete with subtle metaphors that express a new and different worldview.  Although there are several aspects of the beaker that are intriguing, at least this one suggests a life of plenty.

See also:

Symbolism, Metaphors and the Beaker Underworld

Crux in the 3rd Millennium 

Tablet Weaves and Pottery

Cerveza for your Ciempozuelos


  1. "Thy Beaker Overfloweth"


  2. Also notable how little premium was put on uniformity and precision match between design and execution. These were not the uptight Greco-Romans and Jomon Japanese here. Each piece has character, is individually crafted, and isn't subject to exactly demands for functionality. Certainly, the technology may have limited their ability to be exact, but uptight eight year olds can be more precise than seems to be the norm for Beaker Pottery. They may have sought excellence in some things, but pottery fabrication was a necessary chore more than a high art for them.

  3. What's the point of a drinking vessel that can't be held in one hand? Well, 2 hands! Share the contents with a CWC wife! The Single Grave Culture in Denmark contained corded ware beakers for beer in women & men's graves.