In this paper, Manasterski et al. discuss the significance of the Suprasl Beakers in NE Poland. The sites consist of what appear to have been bags full of intentionally fragmented and incomplete items (a man's room) with burnt bone in a few. The objects are totally alien to this region. A few of them are unprecedented anywhere.
They start out remembering the issue surrounding the interpretation of Beaker artifacts has always been what defines the standard cultural package because it differs around Europe. When its objects and styles show up in other cultural contexts or in the periphery, what does that mean? Was it imitation, immigration, or cultural imperialism?
Before the discovery of the Suprasl sites, the authors describe the prevailing interpretation of Beaker-like artifacts in the SW Baltic. These "influences" were viewed as the products of a cultural pollination of Beaker styles via the neighboring Iwno Culture. These artifacts appeared in previous agricultural centers, so it seemed mere imitation or trade by native farming cultures. Pretty reasonable.
But the new sites in this periphery (which appear within a bottom-land of hunters) are unambiguously that of the Bell Beakers, and not a watered-down version. Some of the objects are distinctly Southwest Iberian in their flavor, and others are reminiscent of British objects and jeweler tools, and others of Jutland, the Rhine and possibly Central Europe.Suprasl really blows a hole through the necessity of diffusion to the periphery, whereby its style simply jumped neighbor to neighbor. Here, we have the real deal. The pots are literally not local - or most of them.
|Surprising Suprasl (Fig. 1, yellow star)|
In one of the cremation graves, a fragmented West Iberian Chalcolithic slate plaque. WHAAAAAA!!!? Good luck trying to explain that. That's a long donkey ride. The pottery decorations recall the Ciempozuelos style in large part, however some pots are more generalized decorations.
The idea of a Ruckstrom is brought up given the connections and pot cording seen between those items distinctly Iberian and those that are reminders of the Lower Rhine and Veluwe groups. Also, the arrowheads combine features that suggest an origin in either SW Norway or the Czech group.
Hopefully we'll see more of the slate plaque (like actual photos). The interesting take-away from Manasterski et al, is that these pit offerings/graves (basically in the middle of nowhere) are quite possibly that left behind actual travelers, whatever their business was in this part of Europe.