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Claw beaker


Height: 20.500 cm

Gift of F.W. Surridge

M&ME 1970,4-6,7

Britain, Europe and Prehistory

    Claw beaker

    Migration Period, early 5th century AD
    From Grave 843, Mucking, Essex, England

    An early Anglo-Saxon glass drinking vessel

    This beaker is made of a clear, light greenish glass with few bubbles. Beneath the applied 'claws' the body is that of a tall beaker with an out-turned and cracked-off rim. The foot, which is made separately, is wide and hollow. On the shoulders, immediately above the upper row of claws is a single horizontal trail that runs twice around the vessel making an upper and lower border for an irregular trailed zig-zag motif. Between the claws, the body is panelled with vertical notched trails.

    The shape, decoration and cracked-off rim show that this remarkable beaker was probably made around AD 400. As it has no close parallels from Continental Europe, it is possible that it was made by a glass-worker who came over to England with the earliest settlers and who still worked in a Late Roman tradition. Although made at the beginning of the fifth century, it was not buried until the first half of the sixth century. It was found in the grave of an Anglo-Saxon woman, together with a pair of small square-headed brooches, necklace beads, an iron purse mount, two silver tubes and a large faceted crystal bead.

    V.I. Evison, 'Anglo-Saxon claw-beakers', Archaeologia-13, 107 (1982), pp. 43-76

    H. Tait (ed.), Five thousand years of glass (London, The British Museum Press, 1991)


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