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Bell Beaker Common Ware during the third Millennium BC in Europe

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Published in Czebreszuk, J. Similar But Different. Bell Beakers in Europe. Leiden: Sidestone Press. 2014, p. 232
Abstract The Bell Beaker Culture embodies the transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age during the third millennium BC. It is generally defined by different types of decorated pottery, by the undecorated Bell Beakers and by a set of artefacts such as archer's arm-guards, Palmela points, tongued daggers and arciform pendants. Another pottery style is associated with this culture: the Begleitkeramik, or common ware. Although several studies have been carried out on this time period, it is still badly defined as a whole. Does it represent an ideology? Populations? Migrations of one or several human groups? In one or several peopling waves? Coming from and going where? This study attempts to answer these questions based on Bell Beaker common ware, despite the heterogeneous nature of archaeological documentation, whereas preceding research has focalised on decorated pottery. Our research is based on the study of Bell Beaker sites with common ware in continental Europe. Eight hundred sites have been studied, located in the eleven following countries: Germany, Austria, Belgium, France, Hungary, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Switzerland. The pottery was grouped in eighty-three types. Preferential associations of these pottery types with a particular type of site (settlement, grave, deposit) as well as their geographical distribution, have made it possible to interpret synchronically the cultural components acting during the third millennium BC in Europe. Furthermore, to determine the geographic zones from which originate some components, the origin of the main pottery types was sought for in the Late Neolithic substratum. Three cultural domains were discovered: the eastern Domain, centred on the Czech Republic, the northern Domain, centred on the Netherlands, and the southern domain, including France and northern Italy. Thus, the transition mechanisms between the Late Neolithic and the Bell Beaker Culture are very different from one domain to another. The cultural changes are so important in the southern Domain that one can invoke an important (population?) renewal, whereas the eastern and northern Domains are characterised by transition without a major discontinuity. This study has made it possible to propose a synthesis of the pottery components in Europe during the third millennium BC, and also to differentiate the geographical areas responsible for their formation.
Keywords ArchéologiePréhistoireEuropeNéolithiqueCampaniformeCéramiquePeuplements
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ISBN: 978-90-8890-222-2
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Book chapter (Published version) (3 MB) - public document Free access
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Research group Laboratory of Prehistoric Archeology and Anthropology
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BESSE, Marie. Bell Beaker Common Ware during the third Millennium BC in Europe. In: Czebreszuk, J. (Ed.). Similar But Different. Bell Beakers in Europe. Leiden : Sidestone Press, 2014. p. 232. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:34042

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Deposited on : 2014-02-04

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