I had meant to post this paper on Peterborough Ware as it relates to the food vessels of British Beakers, but got sidetracked with other news.
|Fengate Ware, Berkshire, 1990,1009.31, British Museum (order FI-000715026)|
The British Middle Neolithic Peterborough Ware may have its roots in Southern Sweden or generally the Baltic coast, having plausibly spread via the similarly named Peterborough Ware of the Dutch lowlands. History repeating itself.
If this was a population movement by stone-axe wielding boatsmen, it may have been part of a flood of similar Middle Neolithic 'pre-Vikings' that were floating down the rivers throwing axes in the faces of Farmers. It's possible that the rise of certain genetic profiles we see in the Middle Neolithic from Hungry and Sardinia to the Languedoc and Northern France, were subject to similar throngs of northern barbarians coming over the walls of the palisades. Environmental conditions again changing the board of history.
The Peterborough People seem to have arisen about 3,330 B.C. and probably overlap the introduction of Bell Beakers (more on that). But before the Beakers, the Peterborough tradition appears to have lived in a system of apartheid or avoidance from the Grooved Ware peoples, reasonably assuming the two wares weren't used differently by the same people. These two peoples seem to have been total opposites in every conceivable way, preferring different living arrangements and beliefs.
The fluffy version of Grooved Ware origins is that it is an independent development in Britain with people being attracted to a cool culture based on communal feasting and alcohol, except for those that avoid it. (Whenever you hear the words "independent development" come from the mouth of an archaeologists, a good rule of thumb is to immediately disregard and begin looking for population movements). Regardless, Grooved Ware culture is intrusive to most or all of the Isles, having come several hundred years after Peterborough Ware. When Bell Beaker Culture arrives, it begins consolidating and/or replacing various separate traditions into a more uniform Early Bronze Age.
How exactly food vessels and urns emerge is another question mark. Clearly food vessels are heavily influenced by islander impressed potteries, like Peterborough, but overlaid with Beaker motifs. According to historical dating schemes, this shouldn't have been possible given the end of one and the beginning of the other. But it may be that Beaker pottery is both earlier than presumed and Peterborough Ware continues strongly with hillbillies.
To add to the weirdness, is it possible that some Peterborough pottery, like the Fengate bowl above, are already beginning to copy certain Beaker stylistic motifs? Perhaps the relationship between Beaker immigrants and hillbillies was agreeable given a common enemy, or Beaker cattle drivers were more frequently in contact with the marginal areas.
The question of Scandinavian influence from the Middle Neolithic is a good one. Given its strong influence on the Isles prior to the Bronze Age, it would certainly seem that British profiles may be shifted towards Fennoscandia and the Baltic Coast. As such, we may expect some British haplogroups to descend from these early migrants, but more interesting is the abundance of certain maternal haplogroup H and V in Britain.
It would truly be the most bizarre situation ever if the maternal lineages in Britian were the recombination of Fennoscandian and Ibero-Saharan sister lineages, both making their way ultimately from the Northern Middle East and both generally pared with members of the R1 paragroup in opposite directions?
REVISITING OLD FRIENDS: THE PRODUCTION,
DISTRIBUTION AND USE OF PETERBOROUGH WARE
IN BRITAIN, VINCENT ARD AND TIMOTHY DARVILL, Wiley, 2014 [Link]
Summary. Peterborough Ware is now recognized as the dominant ceramic tradition of the middle Neolithic in southern Britain during the period 3400–2800 BC, part of a wider north European family of Impressed Wares. Drawing on an extensive inventory of 600 recorded assemblages constructed by enriching previous lists with the results of development-driven research carried out over the last 20 years or so, this paper reviews the production, distribution and use of Peterborough Ware. Support is found for the traditional sub-division of the Peterborough Ware series into three sub-styles: Ebbsfleet, Mortlake and Fengate Wares on the basis of the materials used, forms, and the decorativeMore..
schemes preferred in each. The overall distribution of Peterborough Ware focuses on south-eastern Britain although there are important assemblages from areas to the west and north, especially those composed of Mortlake Ware. The range of contexts in which Peterborough Ware was deposited is wide, but suggests a backward-looking attitude in which the users of this style of pottery were trying to connect with their past.
Alex Gibson [Link]
Julian Thomas [Link]
*Update 1* This big study from Nature genetics hit the wire literally moments after my post - via Dienekes. I consider my above comments as "pre-criticism". Most notable is red square country of England clustering with Scandinavia which overlays Peterborough world. Only large-scale dna from ancient remains can properly resolve the human mosaic over time.