The Macedonian burials of the 4th century BC contained quantities, impressive both in number and quality of craftsmanship, of metal vessels. They consist mostly of bronze and silver ware which had been used at banquets by the deceased during his life and were placed in his tomb to serve for the funerary banquet.
The study of these vessels, in addition to information on Macedonians' burial customs, provides facts about their private life and the luxurious tastes of the royal court and upper classes. Interaction in the arts of metalwork and ceramics is also thereby revealed, as metal vessel shapes appear also in clay and vice versa.
Although Attic metalwork profoundly influenced this art in northern Greece, Macedonian metal vessels preserved indigenous elements and a relative autonomy in their form. Typical shapes are the barrel, the colander and the ladle (for transferring wine from the 'krater', i.e. the mixing-bowl, to the cups), and the 'kantharos', the 'kylix' and the 'skyphos' (types of drinking cups). The ornamentation of these vessels with gold detail or small relief heads of the highest degree of artistic value is very impressive.