Bronze Age Bucket

Contributed by The Hunterian

This is a rare example of an intact metal vessel of the Late Bronze Age. It would have been used at feasts. Hosting lavish feasts and giving vast quantities of alcoholic drink to followers was an important part of the political career of a prehistoric leader in western Europe during this period. This vessel could have contained ale, mead or wine. Mead was made of fermented honey, a valuable commodity before the domestication of the honey bee. Ale, more widely available than mead, was made from barley, a grain introduced to Europe from the Near East which made its appearance in Britain around 3000 BC.

Wine was what 'civilised' people in the worlds of Greece and Rome drank by preference. The rarity value of wine, as well as its relatively long shelf-life compared to mead or ale, added to its appeal for an Bronze Age political leader, and his ability to provide it at feasts would have enhanced his prestige and place in the social hierarchy.

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