"It seems vain to want to comprehend all the Bell Beakers manifestations in a single theory."
That's from Oliver Lemercier, 2018. Local Data and Global Perspectives in Bell Beaker Archaeology in the Journal of Neolithic Archaeology.
|From the paper|
There is an ironic and inverse relationship between knowledge and theory when it comes to the Bell Beakers. The more you learn about Bell Beakers, the more difficult it is to make bold declarations. I believe it was Turek that said this mystery isn't because Beakers were unusual people or something, but because they lived so long ago and left us no written account of their civilization. So we have to guess at why they did the things they did, why they married who they did, what they spoke, and who they worshiped.
If I remember correctly, Lemercier has read, studied or collected an enormous body of documentation produced on the Bell Beakers; I recall it being several thousand documents. Remember that much of the primary research on Beakers is documented in twenty-something languages spanning a century. There's a lot out there. So when Lemercier says 'it ain't that simple people', he has my attention.
Anyhow, that map above is amazing in the sense that the 'phenomenon' had such a wide arc of influence, even on very distant cultures. The Beaker stylistic influences actually go beyond the yellow peripheral areas in theory.
While a single theory of their development and motivations may be impossible, some basic statements can be said of their civilization, see Czebreszuk