As a general term, a beaker is a deep pottery drinking vessel, normally without a handle. These more general types are found in Roman, Saxon and medieval times. A Saxon beaker was found at Taplow Barrow.


Specifically, beakers are a type of pottery widely distributed in Europe from Spain to Poland, and from Sicily to Scotland, in the years after 2500 BC. They are often associated with barbed-and-tanged arrowheads, wristguards, jet buttons and belt sliders, and later the battleaxe. Burial practices associated with these assemblages was by contracted inhumation in a trench, or under a round barrow, or as a secondary burial in some form of chamber tomb. Each burial was accompanied by a beaker, presumably to hold alcoholic for the dead person’s last journey. Late Neolithic or Early Bronze Age beakers have been found in Buckinghamshire, for instance at Bledlow Cop barrow.


The European bell-beakers are rare in Britain where they are replaced by local variants, the long-necked beakers of eastern England and the short-necked beakers of Scotland.