|Petrie Museum of Egyptian Archaeology UC14285|
In the absence of any big archaeological news, I'll give a comparison of Egyptian White Cross-Lined Ware and early Bell Beaker International pottery.
I'm not going to suggest an especially close relationship between the two types, but rather suggest that a relationship is possible and that both typologies, being distinct from other potteries, fit into a stylistic scheme of the Central Saharan Pastoralist Societies. (Read that carefully)
First, a few things about Egyptian White Cross-Lined (C-Ware).
C-Ware appears only very briefly in Egypt during the pre-dynastic Naqada IC sequence and probably last no more than a few generations to around IIA, possibly slightly overlapping the Gerzean period.
Naqada II probably heralds the arrival of Mespotamian invaders, at least it would appear so, whereas its predecessor, Naqada I, may involve a limited number of individuals integrating into Egyptian society from the Western Desert or the Southwest.
The latest absolute chronologies of the pre-dynastic era have been compressed to about 800 years and have shifted it to the right (Dee et al, 2013) The exact timeframe in which C-Ware appears is sometime around 3600-3500 B.C.
Of the several daily-use pottery classes in Egypt, C-Ware is generally a mortuary ware and is found in the graves of about a third of the people in several cities. Overall, the body of the ware is no different than the preceding Badarian and if fact, was probably made by the same potter houses that made the former and common wares in the centuries preceding.
|Amratian Naqada IC (Princeton)|
Because C-Ware motifs are overlaid on previous pottery bodies, some of the symmetry can be awkward, which along with other archaeological indicators may point to disparity between scheme and body. C-Ware is red slip burnish with contrasting white paint before firing, although some of it is encrusted with white paste. C-Ware vases appear only later, but beakers comprise a third and dishes another third, usually one vessel per occupant (no information on sex distribution).
|Beaker Supping dish, Rome, 2500-2200 B.C. Vitrbo, State of Lazio, Museum of Rome [Link]|
Without further ado, here's some things that are similar between Beaker and C-Ware (and some differences).
1. Both potteries are always red. The base coloration was extremely high in the design hierarchy. Most potteries vary considerably in color. These two follow strict conformance (regional soil dependent)
Achieving this was difficult for European Beaker potters due to the geology of Europe. In some cases potters resorted to painting it red. It's clear, however, that an ideal beaker looks this>
|Sardianian Bell Beaker 'coffee cup'|
2. White line highlights contrast the base color. This is usually done through encrustation with white paste in Beaker pottery, C-Ware is usually lined with white slip before firing (although sometimes encrusted).
3. Triangle, zig-zag and cross motifs are the most common schemes of both. C-Ware sometimes has less abstract depictions, as does Beaker ware, but C-Ware sometimes also includes animals and human figures.
4. They occupied a special significance in burial, and one that is apparently foreign to the more localized common ware. The peculiar pottery is cohesive to a multi-regional identity and occurs in the graves of some people over a large geographical area who possess this identity.
5. The two potteries appear with the desiccation of the grassy savanna (that became desert). C-Ware appears around 600-700 years before the first Maritime Iberian Beakers, but this number may yet be compressed with ongoing excavations.
|Barbary Sheep with Mountain Triangle Background|
6. Both potteries exhibit foreign elements and native elements within their respective regions.
This last point is crutial and very subtle. What is most interesting of the two is not where they are similar, but what deviances were not acceptable.
Certain elements of both potteries are variable, such as the adaptation of local shapes, but other elements are more ridged. An example of this would be the red/white coloration or the motifs.
I've talked repeatedly about functional requirements within a design hierarchy in this blog. Everything made by men, arrowheads or boats, differ by the need to do specific things in a certain order to satisfy his maker (with the assumption he is rational). Factors may include efficiency, appearance, weight, performance, material availability, speed of manufacture, training requirement, etc, etc. So the difference between a leaf-shape shape arrowhead and a barbed arrowhead aren't the result of some cosmic gelatin; instead a close look of their attributes reveal the subtle needs of their maker.
Typology can be a real pain in the ass because you can create a list of similarities between any two items, say pencils and steak knives. Deciding which similar traits weigh more than others can skew our interpretation of their genetic relationship. So I understand that an argument could be made for similarities between Beaker ware and Corded Ware, but again the depth of the genetic relationship depends on what and how heavy we weigh each factor.
Once again, there is nothing necessarily connecting these two potteries other than that may have come from the pastoral belt pictured below. If you look at other pottery from Morocco or the Tassili region of Algeria, its possible to find other variations of this phenomenon.