|Castro do Zambujal. Initial build-up of Vila Nova de Sao Pedro culture, Portugal (photo O. Lemercier)|
|Savannah Elephant Ivory, S.W. Spain Photographer: Miguel Ángel Blanco de la Rubia (Schuhmacher, 2012)|
|'Pineapple Vessel' from Valencia de la Concepcion, Seville, Spain. Also known from Perdigoes & Morocco|
(foto Blanco de la Rubia)
The provenance of Elephant ivories and products positively connects this pre-Beaker import culture with Western Morocco. (Garica-Sanjuan et al, 2013) That's a pretty big deal when considering the very origins of the Beaker phenomenon because it is in these fort interiors that bell beakers first appear who might have some material precursors (pottery decoration and lithics) with Morocco.
Again, this region almost appears to exist because of these western lanes. From Schumacher, Cardoso, Banerjee (2009):
"Whereas in Portugal we find a majority of African savannah elephant in the Early Chalcolithic, in south-eastern Spain on the contrary we cannot identify this type of ivory before the Early Bronze Age (end of the third and first half of the second millennium BC). So the analysis of ivory from various tombs from the necropolis of Los Millares (Almeria) revealed a majority of Asian ivory (Elephas maximus) (Figure 6). The situation in south-western Atlantic Spain, on the other hand, coincides with the one in Portugal, where African savannah elephant ivory can be found in the Early Chalcolithic."
"This speaks for the existence of an Atlantic route of contact and exchange for the western part of the Iberian Peninsula already in the first half of the third millennium BC. Finds like the necropolis of Rouazi-Skhirat (Morocco) with cylindrical ivory containers similar to others from the Iberian Peninsula, could, in fact, sustain this idea (Daugas 2002). Could it therefore be possible that the African savannah elephant ivory coming from Atlantic North Africa is in agreement with the mentioned hypothesis of Harrison and Gilman?"
|Crystal & Ivory from Valencina de la Concepción, S.W. Spain Garcia SanJuan et al|
(foto: Miguel Ángel Blanco de la Rubia)
|A man from neighboring Seville (Drawing: Miriam Luciañez Triviño)|
"Harrison and Gilman had already noticed the difficulties of applying this scheme to the Pre-Bell Beaker Chalcolithic, commenting, ‘. . . no characteristic Millaran or VNSP pieces have been found in Northern Africa’. And they asked themselves, ‘. . . why were no VNSP channelled, pattern-burnished copos (the so called Importkeramik) sent to North Africa like the luxury ware of a later time (Beakers)?’"
|(Ukraine, Russia and Horses not depicted)|
Regardless, its spread from the end of the continent is rather apparent, not because of radiocarbon dating, but as was observed nearly eighty years ago, based on decoration and typology. I think Lemercier's map below can help relay the significance of these connections.
|Fig 3, Olivier Lemercier "Le Campaniforme et l'Europe a la fin du Neolithique"|
Antonio Valera writes that beakerware never appears in small ditched enclosures in Western Iberia. In larger enclosures it becomes prevalent, usually one type. Only in the largest walled enclosures are multiple beaker forms present. It's a strange situation.
In my own view, I think it is probable that Western Iberia was overcome by the trading cartels. Whether or not this included immigration or not, who knows. Ancient DNA from Neolithic Saharan Africa would be a good start.