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Etude des traits épigénétiques dentaires des populations du néolithique moyen au Bronze ancien en Suisse occidentale

Denomination Travail de diplôme en archéologie préhistorique
Defense Maîtrise : Univ. Genève, 2001
Abstract The Bell Beaker phenomenon is primarily known as a pottery style found over most of Europe at the end of the Neolithic. This entity differs from previous archaeological cultures by its material culture, its funerary rituals and its diffusion processes. The Bell Beaker Culture has been studied extensively, and research based on its associated artifacts has indicated either continuity or rupture in the peopling. However, there have been very few studies of the physical anthropology of the individuals making up this civilization. J. Desideri's interest during her graduate work was to clarify the biological relationships between the local, Middle and Late Neolithic populations, and the later, culturally dissimilar Bell Beaker populations in Western Switzerland, by studying dental non-metric traits. She studied ten samples dating from the Middle Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age. The analyses made it possible to draw a picture of the different populations, and particularly the circumstances which led to the emergence of the Bell Beaker Culture in Western Switzerland. During the Neolithic, the populations are homogeneous and morphologically similar, without major external influences. This is not the case for the Bell Beaker Culture, as these populations are not only very different from the preceding populations, but also from one another. As for the Bronze Age, two situations co-exist: some groups possess a Neolithic morphology, whereas others are clearly different from the anterior groups. The analyses based on the Late Neolithic and Bell Beaker groups made it possible to propose three interpretative models which could explain the differences encountered during the Bell Beaker Culture. The models are based on the fact that the Bell Beaker dental remains were very different from those of preceding populations. The arrival of individuals from another population in Western Switzerland is possible. They may have completely replaced the preceding populations or, on the other hand, have been integrated into the local communities. These individuals may have belonged to two different groups, as the two Bell Beaker dolmens are quite distant from one another on these figures. It is possible that the new funerary rituals practiced by the members of this group may have played a major role, as Bell Beaker burials inside dolmens were restricted to a dozen individuals, whereas earlier necropoli (cist graves or similar dolmens) contained between 40 and 100 individuals. We may be looking at frequencies of a subset of the total population at this time (such as members of a single family or a social elite), and not population frequencies sensu stricto. The two preceding models are not exclusive. It is possible that these remains represent a subset of the total population, including some individuals of foreign extraction, having arrived in Western Switzerland for trade or as specialized craftworkers, and having been integrated into the community. This would explain the extent of the morphological differences as well as the re-use of the Late Neolithic dolmens during the Bell Beaker period and the adoption of a new material culture around this time.
Keywords EuropeArchéologiePréhistoireSuisseDentitionBioanthropologieAnthropologie biologique
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Research groups Unité d’anthropologie
Laboratory of Prehistoric Archeology and Anthropology
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DESIDERI, Jocelyne. Etude des traits épigénétiques dentaires des populations du néolithique moyen au Bronze ancien en Suisse occidentale. Université de Genève. Maîtrise, 2001. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:16148

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Deposited on : 2011-06-10

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