The Different Types of Drinking Vessels in Viking Culture

The Different Types of Drinking Vessels in Viking Culture

Twice a day, at dagmal and nattmal, the Vikings would eat a delicious meal served on crude wood platters. Of course, they needed something to wash down these hearty meals; but what kinds of cups did they use to hold their ale, beer, and mead? The answer is that Vikings utilized various vessels to house their drinks. Read on to learn about five of the different types of drinking vessels in Viking culture.


One of the most iconic vessels is the drinking horn, which was usually made from cow or auroch horns. Drinking horns were, on average, about one foot long and could hold between three pints and one liter. The horns were adorned with decorations and etchings and had a mouth-fitting decoration near the tip where the Viking drank.

Glass Beakers

Glass beakers were the chosen vessel of the wealthy. These small beakers were made from white or clear glass and shone yellow under the sun. They were very durable and long-lasting. They were also extremely valuable and could cost years of a peasant's wage. Archeologists believe they were imported from Britain or another European country, as little evidence of glass working has been discovered in Scandinavia.

Lathed Wood Cups

The average Viking would drink from lathed wood cups, which resembled small bowls. Some had no handles and had to be cupped in the palm of the hand. Others had handles that made them easier to grip. Wood was a common material and easy to carve, hence why wood vessels were cheap and accessible.

Ceramic Cups

Another one of the different types of drinking vessels in Viking culture was the ceramic cup. Ceramic cups were common and inexpensive vessels during the Viking Age, but they easily broke because they were susceptible to heat. Due to their delicate nature, they weren't very popular.

Steatite Cups

Steatite, also known as soapstone, is a rare and sturdy material Viking’s occasionally used to make drinking cups. But because the material was so rare, these vessels were typically reserved for important occasions like feasts and rituals.

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