Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Beaker and Aegean, Similarities and Differences (Rahmstorf, 2008)

I've been wanting to cover the emergence of the Bronze Age Aegean a little closer as time permits.  This paper by Rahmstorf is a good place to get some context.  The paper is fairly short and readable, maybe twenty pages or less.

Here's a map of stone wristguards from the paper.

As we have been learning, the y-chromosomal DNA of Bell Beakers has belonged uniformly to the haplogroup R1b.  This is painting a picture of catastrophic change, certainly not annihilation, but a very clear super-cession of male lineages that is unfriendly to outsiders.  Please see [here].

This presents some challenges to understanding the phylo-geogarphy of the dominant lineage of Bell Beaker males.  This is because we are looking at a shotgun blast, not something that is clinal.  This can be very problematic when looking at the R1b distribution of Greece, in particular.  So lets jump of a cliff together and ask the question: "does Greek R1b come from Switzerland?" or hell, for that matter: "does Greek R1b come from the Estremadura?"

I wrote about this problem [in this post].  For that matter, can you completely discount [this]?  It might have seemed stupid for several weeks until Haak et al published the genome of man from Els Torcs!

The link is below...

See also [here] and [here]


The rise in complexity of the social-economic systems in the Aegean in the third millennium BC, starting around 2700 BC with Early Bronze Age II (EBA II), is most obvious. Near Eastern influence brought new innovations (like administrative storage procedures, metrology and complex metallurgical technologies) to the Aegean mainly via the Anatolian land-bridge, especially during the second part of the Aegean EBA II (c. 2550-2250 BC). In many parts of Europe, the contemporary Bell Beaker phenomenon showed some structural similarities, most obvious are the much intensified regional contacts.
To what extent could the Bell Beaker networks be compared to the contemporaneous Aegean-East Mediterranean spheres of interaction and what was the exchange between these ‘different worlds’ like? In the paper I would like to discuss some common characteristics by their chronological development and functional interpretation. In this context not only similarities but also differences shall be emphasized.

 "The Bell Beaker Phenomenon and the interaction spheres of the Early Bronze Age East Mediterranean: similarities and differences" [Link]

'Construire le temps. Histoire et méthodes des chronologies et calendriers des derniers millénaires avant notre ère en Europe occidentale. Actes du XXXe colloque international de Halma-Ipel, UMR 8164 (CNRS, Lille 3, MCC), 7-9 décembre 2006, Lille, ed. A. Lehoërff, Collection Bibracte 16. Bibracte: Centre archéologique européen, 2008, 149-170'


  1. Hi Bellbeakerblogger.
    I am about finish an essay about how the Shulaveri-Shomu became the Bell beaker. In the next couple days will ask a favor of you, which is if you can read it and tell me you opinion on. (Very early draft can be seen here – (http://shulaveri2bellbeaker.blogs.sapo.pt/) since I just wanted a digital record of it.

    To the point of your post. After reading Rahmsorf’s paper I think the conundrum people get into is always the same. If one assumes that the bell beaker is the continuity of communities expelled from the southern Caucasus north of Van lake (Shulaveri, Aratashen ,Mugan plains, etc) and that they came through to Europe via North Africa (they were in Tell Tsaf in Israel, then Merimde in Egypt, etc.) and once in Iberia as Bell beaker kept on “running” northbound to the rest of Europe then it all makes sense and most of the bewilderment just goes away. See, they had been “running” in the previous 1 to t2 millennia.
    (Prior) Bell beaker was a Blob of R1b in South Caucasus by 6 millennia BC, a blob of r1b in Merimde and El-omari in Egypt by 5millenia BC, a scattered populations first in the Acacus mountains by early 4th millennia and as early south Iberia chalcolithic in late 4th millennia , as bell Beaker in the rest of Europe in the 3r millennia BC , then as Unetice and related, Proto Villanovan and similar, then Etruscan , then, then, then,….

    The same people Rahmsorf’s talks about having feasts, one see those “parties” (of cattle binging and later ritual burials) in Shulaveri, and them as they were at Merimde and herd the cattle south to Fayum and Kom near the lake in Egypt for the same type of festivities, than as the “Cattle Cult complex” in the middle pastoral period in middle sahara, then already in the Iberia Peninsula doing the same in Perdigões in the Xerez lowlands of Alentejo, them in Zambujal as bell beakers…

    Simple. What is the problem people?

    1. Ok, look forward to reading it.

    2. Thanks. Its done. Just go to http://shulaveri2bellbeaker.blogs.sapo.pt/ and in LINKS there is the file to Download. Hope you enjoy it and feel free to send me a critique to Olimpusmons@gmail.com

      Or just go directly to file in here:


    3. Long paper! Give some time to read it :)

    4. NO! - Not that long (45 pages) :-)
      I promise you it will be worthwhile.
      Funny enough. when I read it , there is so much I left out. If you check the structure in the blog there are several full chapters I havent even address. You remenber all I wanted was to write about horses, dogs and Grapes.
      Specially horses. there is a true a certified "baffling horse problem" in all those regions because "strange" horse like skelletons popup as awkward outliers that they go on a spin to even undertsand... :-)
      Maybe in a while I get the strenght to write about it. Now I think I've dried out.