Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Arrowhead Shapes in Central Europe (Petřík, Sosna, Prokeš, 2016)

I'll have to rely on a few sentences of a pay-per-view abstract, but one point of interest is highlighted below.  If I'm reading correctly, this suggests that a large percentage of arrowheads (probably those from burial) had not been used or retouched. 

If this was true, then it might also follow that more perishable parts of the burial also followed this pattern.  In other words, there could have been a specific 'burial dress' that included items made for the occasion.  Given the work effort in constructing burial monuments and similar findings from daggers, we might imagine that the burial clothing, belts, hats and footwear were both costly in terms of time and resources.

OTOH, it could be these guys walked around displaying daggers and arrows they never used.  I doubt it, but who knows.

Curious Grave 8 from Kněževes (modified from Turek, 2012)

Shape matters: assessing regional variation of Bell Beaker projectile points in Central Europe using geometric morphometrics

Petřík, J., Sosna, D., Prokeš, L. et al. Archaeol Anthropol Sci (2016). doi:10.1007/s12520-016-0423-z


Despite the large-scale expansion of Bell Beaker phenomenon, there is a tension between the normative Bell Beaker material culture categories and their local objectification in the form of real artefacts. Stone projectile points provide an opportunity to evaluate how much was the general category of such a point influenced by regional and local factors. The aim of this paper is to explore shape and size variation of Central European Bell Beaker projectile points from Moravia (Czech Republic) to elucidate factors responsible for this variation. The sample consists of 194 projectile points from 54 Central European Bell Beaker sites (2500–2300/2200 BC) distributed in Morava River catchment. The size and shape of projectile points were studied by landmark-based geometric morphometrics and expressed as shape groups, which have been assessed in terms of their spatial distribution, raw material, and reutilization. Although several shape categories of points were identified, there is a strong degree of uniformity in the research sample. The dominant shape category (75.4 % of points) was pervasive across geographic space and was not significantly affected either by raw material or reutilization. A lower degree of reutilization of points is interpreted as a consequence of a non-utilitarian role of projectile points, which represented a critical component of Bell Beaker mortuary practices.

See also [here]


  1. I was wondering about this recently. Could it be that rather than being the property of the deceased, the items buried with him were gifts from the family/community in his honor? If so, you might not want to 're-gift' used items.

    1. Could be. I think even the poorest people in any society 'dress up' for weddings and in death are dressed in appropriate funeral clothes. Even in the most primitive societies do this.

    2. Traditionally (in our own time), people have dropped flowers into the grave. An archeologist in the future might dig up that grave and think that the deceased was a florist.

  2. Hello Bell Beaker Blogger - if you'd like the full text of the AASci article drop me an email at f.gaynor@ucc.ie. Keep up the good work with the blog, Fergal

    1. Ok, I appreciate it. I'll send this evening.

  3. Maybe they gave the deceased new weapons and pretty clothes to be used in the afterlife