Thursday, March 8, 2018

All About Iberia (Goncalves, 2017)

This is a large 2017 compendium on Iberian Bell Beakers (linked below) with a lot of attention on Portugal and Southern Spain.  The leading archaeologists from the corners of the peninsula presented their cases knowing the early results of the Olalde et al, 2017 pre-print.




Iberia is not that simple for beakers and you get a sense of that reading from the authors presenting here.  It's hard to interpret Iberian Beakers as a coherent group when they are so inconsistent from site to site, region to region.  But it's important to remember the size of the peninsula when overlayed on a map of Europe.  It's a huge area with great human numbers of diverse backgrounds in ancient times.  So rather than saying there is an Iberian Beaker, there's probably several different Beaker nations or traveling groups that were in a constant state of flux and having slightly different cultural backgrounds. 

One of the Portuguese Olalde samples was a 'Beaker without Bell Beakers' as presented by Zilhao.  That's a complicated situation when the individual is only classified as Beaker by a scrap of gold, two buttons and turns up genomically Neolithic (not saying that's wrong).  But identity isn't always as simple as the Amesbury Archer.

And then Goncalves seems to suggests in the introduction that acacia decoration is found outside of Iberia everywhere in a very low degree which would be interesting. (again the translation is garbled, I may have misinterpreted this)



Gonçalves, V. S. (Ed.). (2017). Sinos e Taças. Junto ao oceano e mais longe. Aspectos da presença campaniforme na Península Ibérica. Lisboa: UNIARQ - Centro de Arqueologia da Universidade de Lisboa.  http://hdl.handle.net/10451/31912

Universidade de Lisboa, UNIARQ download [Link]

8 comments:

  1. "So rather than saying there is an Iberian Beaker, there's probably several different Beaker nations or traveling groups that were in a constant state of flux and having slightly different cultural backgrounds."

    Wow! That paradigm has potentially huge implications and importance for how we think of the Beaker phenomena.

    "One of the Portuguese Olalde samples was a 'Beaker without Bell Beakers' as presented by Zilhao. That's a complicated situation when the individual is only classified as Beaker by a scrap of gold, two buttons and turns up genomically Neolithic (not saying that's wrong). But identity isn't always as simple as the Amesbury Archer."

    I think your skepticism here is well founded. Trade in exotic high value items, even over long distances, let alone merely across short distances but across cultural lines, is well established from very ancient times.

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    Replies
    1. Well I mean different tribes or traditions.

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  2. Hi BBB,
    I wanted to comment on this before but busy.
    That link is truly worthwhile. I know how much you love BB culture, so please make an effort to read all other papers in the link, although I can’t imagine why the hell are those published in Portuguese (apart from Valera’s)! in a country where even a street cleaner speaks fairly good English. – Anyway, if parts are not perfectly clear to you, just send an email to Olimpusmons@gmail.com I can translate it.
    Notes:
    a. It’s not the Gonçalves paper that matters, its all others following it on you link. Gonçalves paper is an old dean (very old) setting the record straight with old (50 years old) enemies. Not that the paper itself has no merit.

    b. But the rest of the papers is an effort of Portuguese academia to react to recent genomic papers (olalde, Martiminino, etc). I just browse through it. But enough to notice its serious, its thorough and systematic, and to me it reiterates a couple important messages. Just look at the names in the abstracts, all in English, and it’s obvious that whatever they want to postulate, they brought the big guns.

    c. First impression on messages in papers:

    i. No matter what, BB pottery in Portugal is PRE-2500bc, and clearly has two phases. One starting 2700bc, other arriving 2300bc. First one is diverse and shows sort of continuity with previous sort of beaker making even if with new creative motifs.
    ii. Previous blank spaces in Portugal, as shown in maps, are starting to show BB pottery. Like Alentejo Region ((eg Perdigoes). And they went back to either previously very important 3200bc fortified places (eg Porto Carrretas) or use local iconic/religous places (eg Perdigoes) to join and not replace.
    iii. How in Portugal, places apart one mile, one would be heavy BB pottery and the others never.
    iv. Most important: Alcalar place – Its huge (at par with Porto torrão or Perdigoes) and over the hills into the most Southwestern part Iberia, Algarve, - A powerhouse, very early on (before 2500bc) with bell beakers, a second phase with more ciempozuelos and even a third into 2nd millennia more connected to El algar…. But still bell beaker prevailing.

    Its just a couple notes from what I remember. Do try to read it out.

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  3. Call your attention to the Alcalar paper , from Elena Moran.
    Remember this is in algarve!

    ABSTRACT The analysis of the historical topography of the Alcalar settlement allowed us to identify two occupation horizons, with differentiated architectures that translate different forms of territorial political management. The old horizon with bell beakers, corresponds to the phase in which the Alc7 monument is constructed, coinciding with the affirmation of the settlement of Alcalar, from 2800 a.n.e., as the power centre of the surrounding territory of the Bay of Lagos. The settlement of Alcalar, with circa 60 acres, extends to the north bordering a monumental necropolis, organized in nuclei. In the transition from the Third to the Second millennium b.c.e., the recent horizon with bell beakers, corresponds to the final phase of the occupation of the Alcalar settlement, coinciding with the dissolution of the power centre. A time marked by the absence of public works and the use of space by non-collective domestic architectures.
    KEYWORDS: Power centre, primitive state, Ferradeira Horizon.

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  4. There are also two new papers on Iberia

    http://www.pnas.org/content/early/2018/03/06/1717762115
    https://www.biorxiv.org/content/biorxiv/early/2018/03/12/250191

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