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H 245 x W 174 mm

326 pages

22 figures, 8 tables & illustrated corpus

Published Jun 2022

Archaeopress Archaeology


Paperback: 9781803271668

Digital: 9781803271675

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Bronze Age; Funerary Cups; Sepulchral Archaeology; Ceramics; Artefacts; Burial

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Funerary and Related Cups of the British Bronze Age

By Claire Copper, Alex Gibson, Deborah Hallam

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Cups are the least studied of all Bronze Age funerary ceramics and their interpretations are still based on antiquarian speculation. This book presents the first study of these often highly decorated items including a fully referenced and illustrated national corpus that will form the basis for future studies.



Introduction ;
Chapter 1: A Potted History of Cups ;
Chapter 2: Cup Forms, Fabrics, Surface Treatments and Motifs ;
Chapter 3: Observations on the Technology and Use of Bronze Age Ceramic Cups ;
Chapter 4: The Archaeological Contexts of Cups ;
Chapter 5: Cups and Human Remains ;
Chapter 6: Associations and Chronology ;
Chapter 7: Cups: An Overview ;
Corpus ;
Bibliography ;
Appendix 1: Cup-Associated Burials ;
Appendix 2: The Association of Cups with Other Ceramics ;
Appendix 3: Cups and Associated Artefacts

About the Author

Claire Copper, an experienced field archaeologist and established member of the supervisory team at the Ness of Brodgar excavations in Orkney, completed her MPhil on the Bronze Age funerary cups of southern England in 2017 at the University of Bradford. Her current doctoral research at the University of Edinburgh is funded by the Margaret Stewart Bequest and builds upon her MScRes study of the Beaker pottery of northern Britain and the Netherlands.

Alex Gibson has worked in the field of Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeology for the last 40 years with the Clwyd-Powys Archaeological Trust, English Heritage and the University of Bradford. He has published extensively on Neolithic/BA pottery, ritual monuments and sepulchral practices and has written over 150 specialist reports on Neolithic and BA ceramics.

Deborah Hallam, following a career in industry, entered the University of Bradford as a mature student to study for a BA in Archaeology. She went on to complete an MPhil by research and is currently researching for a PhD on the Neolithic of the Yorkshire Dales.


This book provides a new and welcome synthesis of a particularly enigmatic group of Bronze Age ceramics, which have been variously named, but which the authors choose to classify, justifiably, as cups. Drawing on a large dataset of over 770 cups collated by the authors from England, Scotland, and Wales, it provides a concise and logically ordered discussion of these objects, covering earlier research, physical form, construction, contexts, associations (particularly with human remains), and chronology, before concluding with the catalogue of material.’ – Edward Caswell (2023): Current Archaeology 395

'Overall, the text dispels a number of misinterpretations about cups and their usage and, more importantly, discusses each aspect covered from the perspective of the most up-to-date modern understanding of funerary archaeology and its ceramics. The authors are to be congratulated in bringing this range of data on funerary cups to publication and providing a resource long needed for the British Early Bronze Age.' – Henrietta Quinnell (2023): Archaeologia Cambrensis Vol. 172