Monday, February 26, 2018

Nature Supplement SI (Heyd, Fokkens, Kristiansen, Sjogren)

Here's the freely accessible seven page supplement to the Nature paper entitled "Archaeological background of the Beaker Complex"

It's only seven pages so click on the Academia link.

"Jan van Oostwoud" The Earliest Beaker Skeleton 575 (Fred Gijbels)

One thing they comment on is that houses of the Beakers Complex continue in the traditions of those regions.  Even when the genetic turnover was nearly total, such as in Britain, houses continue to be constructed as before.

I imagine this means that efficiency, building materials, and proven designs have a lot to do with house architecture rather than who builds them.  Also, well built houses can survive hundreds of years, so it's not as if the wheel needs to be constantly reinvented.

Three more Beaker papers in the queue concerning population movements.  Should have at least one tomorrow morning.


  1. Thanks for running this Blog, Bell Beakers are an important, unsolved question of prehistory. You prove some good info that would be difficult to find otherwise.

    The issue of architecture traditions continuing after population turnover can also be seen with Stonehenge. If my understanding is correct, some of the biggest "phases" of Stonehenge construction continued right through the arrival of the Beakers and the population turnover.
    Stonehenge "phase 3" lasted from 2600 to 1600 BC.

    From wikipedia on phase 3:

    "During the next major phase of activity, 30 enormous Oligocene-Miocene sarsen stones (shown grey on the plan) were brought to the site. They may have come from a quarry around 25 miles (40 km) north of Stonehenge on the Marlborough Downs"

    So the new arrivals must have pitched in to help finish the project. Usually, if new arrivals are "invaders" they tear down and destroy the culture of the conquered people and burn their houses down. The Beakers obviously helped finish the local's big communal project; and as you point out in this post, lived in their houses. This does not strike me as "bronze age warriors" thundering across the plain on horseback from the steppe slaughtering their inferior foe as many like to propose. Besides, I doubt a horse could swim the English channel.

    To the invader theorists I like to point out that in World War 1, for 4 years mankind put all their money and effort into killing each other, applying the latest scientific and industrial methods. The result: about 17 million dead humans. Then in 1918, in one year alone, influenza killed over 50 million humans. It was almost as if the microbes of the world said "17 million in 4 years? LAME! Now let me show you how it's done..."

    The 1918 epidemic was brought about due to a sudden increase in human movement (millions of soldiers around the world moving to Europe). A similar thing happened when Europeans discovered the new world. We now know that around 2500 BC the British isles had a sudden increase in human movement. I think they came for the copper. Unfortunately for the locals they brought some germs with them.

    1. Thanks for commenting. There's some evidence of germs spreading into Eurpe:

      With that, it can be said that most of Europe was experiencing a protracted population crash in the centuries prior to the Copper Age.

  2. Sounds like the Beaker people were good at making durable goods, but had a technological package that didn't include construction.