Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Beakers for Dummies (Lemercier) *Update*

Thanks to Oliver Lemercier for uploading this to youtube.  This was on the flier from two weeks ago.

Update 12/1/2015

Oliver Lemercier graciously offered the speaker's notes [here]. < ok, should be visible now.

I'll give a brief summary in English, paraphrasing everything (I believe correctly).  Remember you can cut and paste the document into the Google Translate engine.

What I've done here is summarize by slide.   I've also added time hacks to the speaker's notes if you want to do a side by side.

Slide 1:  Intro
Slide 2   (0:17)  Quest to completely immerse himself in knowledge of the total phenomenon
Slide 3   (1:17)  Prophetic words of Jacques-Pierre and André Millotte Thevenin 'If you want to understand the Beaker phenomenon, be prepared to write the history's history'
Slide 4   (1:47)  Spanning 275 years, of the thousands of references and hundreds of authors Lemercier has read concerning the Beaker phenomenon, he believes much more is out there.  Many publications are now coming to light, being digitized and translated from the many languages of Europe.
Slide 5   (4:18)  Highlights of Beaker historiography:
Slide 6   (4:36)  Beaker slowly comes to light.  Williams Stuckeley, Richard Colt Hoare, Oscar Montelius
Slide 7   (6:17)  Abercromby's "Bell Beakers", a race of invaders from Europe, then Iberia
Slide 8   (6:50)  Every region of Europe has at one time been considered the source
Slide 9   (7:01)  For fifty years, Iberia dominates, Gimpera, Schmidt, Jaroslav, Palliardi, Evans, Childe
Slide 10 (8:05)  Merchants, Warriors, Prospectors?  Iberia questioned, more questions about the relationship of Corded Ware leading to the sixties.
Slide 11 (9:55)  Sangmeister's "Ruckstrom" reconciles Iberia and Holland.  The archaeological community is split from the 60's.  The English speaking world rejects migration and culture for material causes "Functionality".
Slide 12 (11:09)  Big data transforms Beakerology in the 1970's.  "Functionalist" views dominate "Ethnic" views of Beaker in the archaeological community
Slide 13 (12:38)  The Dutch Model dominates from 1976 and twenty years thereafter.  It sees and origin in the Dutch Corded Ware.
Slide 14 (12:50)  Jean Guilaine further updates beaker typologies
Slide 15 (13:20)  Christian Strahm is one of the more important authors in Lemercier's opinion, effectively separating the early Beaker from later divergences.  At the same time, Harry Folkens looking at the regional data in the Netherlands further questions the dominance of the Dutch model
Slide 16 (13:56)  Muller and van Willigen show a clear dating cline from SW Europe to NE Europe
Slide 17 (14:16)  Laure Salanova introduces a 'standard Beaker' of the Atlantic and to the current period there is division amongst all archaeologist, mainly between the Portuguese and Dutch proponents.
Slide 18 (15:07)  The Functionalist school is still alive and well, however there is growing acknowledgement of movement and genetic population turnover among archaeologists.
Slide 19 (16:27)  Having an open mind to these questions and having studied them very well, Lemercier has arrived at some conclusions:
Slide 20 (17:06) 1.  Bell Beaker is not geographically or chronologically homogeneous.  There is an initial Beaker phenomenon, a period of substrate integration, and finally the beginning of the EBA.
Slide 21 (17:48)  2. Beaker does not replace older cultures in the initial phase, the older cultures generally continuing to contribute to the regional Bronze Age.
Slide 22 (18:15)  3.  Beaker, in the first phase, is generally a regional phenomenon, according to the area's substrate.
Slide 23 (19:02)  4.  Again, in the first phase, the 'Beaker package' is really regionally dependent.
Slide 24 (19:26)  5.  The Beaker package varies everywhere, but probably indicate important people.
Slide 25 (19:47)  6.  A codified burial rite is everywhere, maybe more such as cremation.  Collective burials are everywhere too
Slide 26 (20:16)  7.  The Beaker culture and drinking equipment appears to have its origin in Eastern Europe according to current understanding.  However, it's from the West.
Slide 27 (20:58)  8.  Beaker drinking equipment has influences from everywhere.  What influences are more important than others? 
Slide 28 (21:55)  9.  The oldest Atlantic beakers are Maritime.
Slide 29 (22:16)  10.  Mobility, migration may explain much of this, but not all of it.
Slide 30 (22:36)  11.  Many elements point to a spread South to North, West to East.  But later this becomes multi-polar exchange.  Sangmeister's "Ruckstrom", regarded as too complex originally, in later times now seems much too simple.  Alain Gallay is researching these complex networks now.
Slide 31 (23:27)  12.  Some social dimensions are observable from funerary arrangements.  It is a warrior culture.  Some ideological dimensions are easier to understand such as the drinking equipment.
Slide 32 (23:57)  13.  The Beaker phenomenon could be the result of West Iberian civilization incorporating an ideology of Eastern origin.
Slide 33 (24:09)  Lemercier makes an important case that the core archaeological sciences should not be neglected in favor of big data sciences like genetics, isotopes, etc.  He says that basic archaeological studies are still too few and there remains too many questions that risk not being developed or funded. 
Slide 34 (24:56)  Lemercier speaks of his 'Greek Colonial Model' of Mediterranean France which has been well received.
Slide 35 (25:20)  The real enigma of the Beaker Culture is not the Beakers themselves, but the limits of archaeological science given such a narrow period so distant in the past and without a historical record.
Slide 36 (26:28)  End.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Thanks for the link, more interesting for a french speaker (for once)

    The important thing in this video, for Lemercier, the BB movement is from SW to NE and from south to North, for him there is no doubt.
    And the source of this culture is probably of eastern origin ( Steppe ?)

    1. I would agree that it most definitely spreads from Iberia and is really defined there.
      Going back further beyond the beginning of the third mil, it gets really muddy. Eventually, it would
      have an Eastern origin, but I'm skeptical of the certainty of the Pontic steppe, not that it is completely excluded, just less clear to me.

      Although I don't think he mentions it in this lecture, Lemercier has postulated what he calls a 'Greek model' of colonization where maritime colonies are established along water routes and important areas and becomes the dominant culture.

  3. Bonsoir,Si vous me contactez par eMail, je vous fait passer le texte correspondant à cette présentation.
    Olivier Lemercier :