Vessels such as Cauldrons and Buckets would have been used in feasting and would probably have shown off a person’s wealth and power. This theory is supported as it would have taken several months to create one vessel therefore illustrating their value. It is estimated that there are over 160 British Bronze Age vessels in collections today. Often vessels are not found whole but part of the handle or base plate will be discovered. The majority of vessels found in a complete state in Ireland and Britain were found in ‘wet’ deposits such as bogs, fens and rivers. These vessels would have been formed by hammering sheets of bronze and then riveting them together. The rivets would be flat-headed, conical, domed or pin-like. The handles could be cast separately or in situ. Some buckets and cauldrons show repairs where a different piece of bronze is riveted over a hole or a thin bit of cauldron. Often this repair is thicker and has different rivets to the original cauldron.


Example =
Date = 1300-600 BC
Distribution = Ireland, Southern England and a few from Scotland
Comment = Cauldrons are rare finds in Britain and are found as single finds, in settlements and in hoards. They are divided typologically into two main classes, class A and class B which are further divided into subclasses of A0, A1, A2, B1, B2 and B3 which in turn have a number of variants. All cauldron handles have a diameter of over 100mm. Class A caldrons have circular handles and the body of the cauldron is always made from three sheets of bronze arranged horizontally. Class B cauldrons are made from between five and 11 sheets of bronze. They have projecting rivets, as opposed to class A flat rivets and wider more decorative rims.


Example = WG.1271
Date =1200-700 BC
Distribution = Ireland and Britain
Comment = Buckets are similar to cauldrons of class A in that they are made from three sheets of bronze and have two ring handles. The diameter of the handles is always less than 100mm. Nearly all whole buckets have been found singly in watery contexts and all fragments have been found in hoards which appear to be made up of scrap metal. They are divided up into a number of different stylistic groups by the typology of the handles.


  • Gerloff, S. 2010. Atlantic Cauldrons and Buckets of the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Ages in Western Europe
  • O’Connor, B. (1980) Cross Channel Relations in the Later Bronze Age. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports S91