Drawing on History

People and Pots

This bell-shaped Beaker pot was made more than 4000 years ago. The Beaker culture emerged in Europe and spread westwards around 4500 years ago. The term Beaker was introduced in the 19th century, many barrows (burial sites) were excavated then and were found to have ‘beakers’ buried with the body. Early Beaker pots were filled with mead and placed in the grave to be used in the after-life. Later pots had the cremated remains of the individual placed inside.


The Beaker culture gradually spread throughout Britain, with the Beaker people new farming methods, pottery and metal making methods were introduced.


Beaker pots often have impressed decoration, with linear dash and dot, cording and basket-ware like marks.  Some pots were burnished giving them a polished outer surface.


Many ceramics artists today use drawing as a way of recording ideas and some ‘draw’ directly into the clay. Potters from the Beaker period used mark-making on clay to create their designs.

  • Try drawing the pots as a 2D image, record as many of the shapes as you can.

  • Make a considered observational drawing of one of the Beaker pots in the collection.

Document icon Learning article provided by: Hull and East Riding Museum | 
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