PDA

View Full Version : The Bell Beaker Homeland



rms2
04-20-2018, 05:51 PM
The following quote is from Kathryn Krakowa, "Prehistoric pop culture: Deciphering the DNA of the Bell Beaker Complex", Current Archaeology, Issue 338, May 2018, pp. 19-20:


Wherever the team [Olalde et al] looked, throughout the various populations of Continental Europe, the results painted a striking picture: despite some genetic mixing, for the most part the Beaker-practising groups in Iberia were unrelated to those in central Europe or Britain. This indicates that the Beaker Complex predominantly spread across the Continent not through the migration of a homogenous group of people, but through social interactions and the transmission of ideas. If so, this would be in direct contrast to other earlier or contemporaneous cultures like the early Bronze Age Yamnaya of the Eurasian steppe and the Corded Ware Complex of central and eastern Europe (which overlapped both geographically and chronologically with the Bell Beaker Complex). These appear to have expanded primarily through population movement.


(I placed some of Krakowa's words in the quote above in bold and underlined others for emphasis.)

How does one read The Beaker Complex and the Genomic Transformation of Northwest Europe and come away with the notion that "the Beaker Complex predominantly spread across the Continent not through the migration of a homogenous group of people, but through social interactions and the transmission of ideas . . . in direct contrast to . . . the early Bronze Age Yamnaya of the Eurasian steppe and the Corded Ware Complex of central and eastern Europe . . . [which] appear to have expanded primarily through population movement"?

It seems to me the only way to do that - that is, to be almost completely oblivious to the very obvious Steppe or Kurgan Bell Beaker expansion via migration - is to first be wedded to the idea that Bell Beaker began in Iberia. If it began in Iberia, then surely, if it shows up elsewhere, it first spread there from Iberia. If dna testing like that engaged in by Olalde et al demonstrates that early Iberian Bell Beaker did not spread its genetic material to central Europe or Britain, then it must have transmitted its Bell Beaker ideas via some form of "social interactions".

I'm going to step out on a limb and say I think assuming that Bell Beaker began in Iberia is a fundamental and profound mistake. Obviously there are numerous experts arrayed against me on that, but I (humbly, with fear and trembling) think they are mistaken.

In numerous posts in years past I gave my opinion that early Iberian Bell Beaker and the fully developed Kurgan Bell Beaker were not the same and represented two different peoples. Here (https://anthrogenica.com/showthread.php?3474-Bell-Beakers-Gimbutas-and-R1b&p=102728&viewfull=1#post102728) is one of those posts from 2015, well before even the Olalde et al pre-print appeared.

I do not know how the relatively simple, relatively unadorned Maritime bell beakers ended up in settlements in Portugal and in old, collective Neolithic tombs lacking the warrior package that accompanied Kurgan Bell Beaker burials elsewhere, with longheaded (dolichocephalic) people of small stature who had gracile skeletons. But they were a different people from the Kurgan Bell Beaker people. Olalde et al demonstrated that through genomic testing of ancient remains.

Kurgan Bell Beaker people also differed from early Iberian Bell Beaker people physically. The former were tall for the period, had robust skeletons, and many of them were roundheaded (brachycephalic). They buried their important dead in single graves in pits under round burial mounds, often accompanied by a warrior's kit, which included an archer's wristguard, arrowheads, and stone and copper daggers. They also often included beakers with corded decoration and pottery of Danubian origin called (perhaps in error) Begleitkeramik (German for "accompanying ceramics").

IMHO, the error of the Iberian origin of Bell Beaker got going in the first place because early researchers focused on Iberia. They found Kurgan Bell Beaker burials in Iberia and evidence of Maritime bell beakers among people who would otherwise have been regarded as Neolithic farmers, and they linked the two, deriving the former from the latter. Then they looked beyond those Neolithic farmers and saw in the Iberian Cultura de las Cuevas the ultimate root of the Bell Beaker phenomenon.



This is a hypothesis the objective bases of which are anything but firm at this stage of reasoning, and it is important that this be remembered. There is, at the moment of its emergence, and later during its phase of consolidation, not a single clear reason to locate the cradle of the Bell Beaker in the south-western part rather than in the north-western or eastern parts of its area of distribution, except the mentioned studies on Bell Beaker 14C dates. In order to understand this, we have to go back to the initial reasoning, the one developed by Bosch-Gimpera. According to this author, the earlier date in the Iberian Peninsula and, consequently, the intrusive character of the Bell Beaker everywhere else are demonstrated by the evolutive link established between the Bell Beaker decoration and that of the Cultura de las Cuevas. Today we know that this hypothesis is un-founded as the former Cultura de las Cuevas corresponds to Cardial pottery, an Early Neolithic culture which disappeared more than 2,000 years prior to the emergence of the Bell Beaker. Nonetheless, this narrow view, exclusively based on stylistic comparison, prevailed and then for decades strongly influenced the perception of the Bell Beaker phenomenon and the research approaches, and this influence lasted a long time, even once the senselessness of the theory of filiation Cultura de las Cuevas – Bell Beaker had been demonstrated.


I don't want to turn this into a term paper or a thesis (then nobody will read it), but here's a paper that should get your careful attention, especially now that its author's ideas have been bolstered by the Olalde et al results:

The dogma of the Iberian origin of the Bell Beaker: attempting its deconstruction (https://www.academia.edu/11325848/The_dogma_of_the_Iberian_origin_of_the_Bell_Beaker _attempting_its_deconstruction)

R.Rocca
04-24-2018, 03:35 PM
Even the older Iberian sample (I0826) that is marked as "Beaker Iberia" in the Olalde paper is unlikely to be from the Bell Beaker period. Here is what Olalde's supplementary information states:



Paris Street (Cerdanyola del Vallès, Barcelona, Spain)

During urban construction work at Paris Street in Cerdanyola del Vallès (Vallès Occidental, Barcelona province) in 2003, a large amount of skeletal material and associated pottery was unearthed. Follow-up excavation uncovered a Chalcolithic hypogeum with more than 9,000 human remains as well as lithic and ceramic material, the latter assigned to the Bell Beaker tradition. The hypogeum displays several occupational phases. The oldest one presented an ash layer underlying the first inhumations that could have a ritualistic significance. Charcoal from that basal layer was dated to 2878-2496 calBCE (4110±60 BP, UBAR-817). The first funerary phase (UE-15) shows a large number of successive inhumations (minimal number of individuals 36) that are still in anatomical position, placed in lateral decubitus and with flexed knees. Seven arrow points were retrieved from this layer.

When fact checking the reference Olade used for assigning the Paris Street lithics and ceramics to "...the Bell Beaker tradition", we can see how the cultural affiliation may have been unintentionally misinterpreted by the geneticists. Here is what the paper "L’hipogeu calcolític del carrer de París (Cerdanyola del Vallès)" states about the oldest Paris Street layer:


Pel que fa a l’hipogeu, el nivell funerari més antic està representat per un seguit d’inhumacions successives dipositades tant al centre com a l’extrem oest de l’estructura. Durant l’excavació, ja es va aconseguir identificar 36 individus pertanyents a aquest moment. La quantitat de restes òssies recuperades, però, evidencia que el nombre d’inhumats és superior. El fet de trobar aquesta acumulació d’individus l’un a sobre de l’altre, la majoria amb la pràctica totalitat de les connexions anatòmiques conservades, fa pensar que l’estructura funerària devia funcionar com a lloc de dipòsit primari de les restes. No s’ha pogut detectar un patró de disposició dels cossos, ja que apareixen en posicions i orientacions diverses. En aquest primer moment la morfologia de l’estructura sembla prou complexa, i es diferencien dos espais el segon dels quals, tot i estar sota el carrer, l’hem pogut identificar per la posició dels cossos. Entre el material exhumat d’aquest moment, trobem set exemplars de puntes de fletxa d’aletes i peduncle de sílex i un únic bol ceràmic llis de perfil hemisfèric, sense que s’hagi constatat una associació clara d’aquests materials amb els individus inhumats. En el cas del material lític existeix una certa similitud amb l’hipogeu calcolític de la Costa de Can Martorell a Dosrius (Maresme), tot i que en el nostre cas el conjunt de puntes de fletxa és més reduït i anterior als lots de ceràmica campaniforme. La resta d’elements apareguts correspon a diversos exemplars de dentalia, pertanyents a elements d’abillament, la majoria dels quals apareixen, en aquest cas sí, associats a un individu.

A smooth ceramic bowl with a hemispheric profile and arrow heads similar to the pre-Beaker Copper Age Costa de Can Martorell site. Sample I0826 is labeled "Beaker Iberia" and radiocarbon dated to a very early date (2834–2482 calBCE) that matches the very early date of the oldest layer (2878-2496 calBCE). But, that layer has no Bell Beaker ceramic material, sample I0826 has no steppe ancestry and belongs to non-steppe haplogroup I2a2.

The earliest observation of steppe-related genetic affinities in the Iberian Peninsula is sample I0462 (2465–2211 calBCE). In her case, there is no doubt about her cultural affiliation as she was buried with two Bell Beakers cups.

While Iberia may not be the origin for Bell Beaker ceramics, caution is needed in stating that they appeared in a steppe derived culture first. We know that female sample I1392 from Hégenheim (2833–2475 calBCE) was buried in a single grave with a cored Maritime Beaker but she lacked steppe ancestry. Since archaeologists place cultural classifications primarily based on ceramics, there is no doubt that she belonged to the Bell Beaker culture. Yes, perhaps she was the wife of a R-L51 horse rider and the daughter of an I2a Grand Pressigny flint trader. Perhaps she grew up speaking some form of Proto-Basque and later learned to speak Italo-Celtic. That does not change the fact that her cultural affiliation is correctly assigned to Bell Beaker. Until R-L51 males with steppe ancestry show up that are as old or older than the Hégenheim sample, the archaeological community will continue to preach about social interactions. There are plenty of Bell Beaker single graves from Saxony-Anhalt and All-Over-Ornamental Beakers in the Netherlands that would make prime candidates for testing. As I've posted the Saxony-Anhalt dates elsewhere, here are AOO Beaker date ranges that are based on short lived materials only:

http://www.r1b.org/imgs/AOO_Netherlands_Chronology.png

rms2
04-24-2018, 10:50 PM
Even the older Iberian sample (I0826) that is marked as "Beaker Iberia" in the Olalde paper is unlikely to be from the Bell Beaker period . . .

I apologize in advance, Rich, but I don't understand the point of your comments on Paris Street, at least relative to the topic of this thread. I understand the remains that were tested probably predate Bell Beaker, but I'm not sure why that is relevant to the topic of the Bell Beaker homeland, since the idea that BB began in Iberia isn't based on Paris Street but on, as I understand it, finds from Portugal.



The earliest observation of steppe-related genetic affinities in the Iberian Peninsula is sample I0462 (2465–2211 calBCE). In her case, there is no doubt about her cultural affiliation as she was buried with two Bell Beakers cups.

There is no doubt there are Kurgan Bell Beaker burials in Iberia, but they aren't used to support the claim that Bell Beaker began in Iberia.



While Iberia may not be the origin for Bell Beaker ceramics, caution is needed in stating that they appeared in a steppe derived culture first. We know that female sample I1392 from Hégenheim (2833–2475 calBCE) was buried in a single grave with a cored Maritime Beaker but she lacked steppe ancestry. Since archaeologists place cultural classifications primarily based on ceramics, there is no doubt that she belonged to the Bell Beaker culture. Yes, perhaps she was the wife of a R-L51 horse rider and the daughter of an I2a Grand Pressigny flint trader. Perhaps she grew up speaking some form of Proto-Basque and later learned to speak Italo-Celtic. That does not change the fact that her cultural affiliation is correctly assigned to Bell Beaker. Until R-L51 males with steppe ancestry show up that are as old or older than the Hégenheim sample, the archaeological community will continue to preach about social interactions . . .

That's an interesting find for sure. The beaker that was buried with her was partly decorated with impressions made with a cord, which sets it apart from early Iberian Maritime beakers, even though Olalde et al speak of it as being of "a mixed maritime style, considered to be an early stage of the Bell Beaker tradition". The use of corded impressions was not part the early stage of the Bell Beaker tradition in Iberia, anyway. Of course, one of Jeunesse's criticisms of the whole Iberian origin dogma is the chronology that sets the Maritime beaker first.

And the Hegenheim burial, as you noted, was in a single grave, which sets it apart from early Iberian BB burials.

I guess the point is that she could represent a social connection to Iberia, if she was Iberian herself or the descendant of Iberian BB's who expanded into west central Europe, and maybe it was Iberian women who spread the BB ceramic tradition to central Europe by marrying steppe-derived men. That last part doesn't seem likely, though, since Olalde et al found very little that was genetically Iberian about Kurgan Bell Beaker. But maybe the contention is that people like her affected Kurgan BB simply by being that far east, where they could sell or trade their pots to people from even farther east.

Anyway, I1392 (the Hegenheim woman) seems to have had some sort of connection to steppe-derived BB people, given the manner in which she was buried and the fact that the beaker buried with her was decorated with corded impressions. Honestly, I don't know what to make of her exactly except to think that she was a local who married into Kurgan Bell Beaker. I certainly don't see in her evidence that Bell Beaker began in Iberia.

One of the problems with Bell Beaker, which really bedeviled us before Olalde et al released their paper, but which continues to be a problem, is the fact that the whole complex is named after the ceramic beaker. Obviously it is much more than that, and most of what it is cannot be traced to Iberia.

I personally doubt Bell Beaker originated in Iberia. Even if its characteristic pot did, which I also strongly doubt, that is but a small part of what makes Bell Beaker Bell Beaker.

R.Rocca
04-25-2018, 12:04 AM
I apologize in advance, Rich, but I don't understand the point of your comments on Paris Street, at least relative to the topic of this thread. I understand the remains that were tested probably predate Bell Beaker, but I'm not sure why that is relevant to the topic of the Bell Beaker homeland, since the idea that BB began in Iberia isn't based on Paris Street but on, as I understand it, finds from Portugal.


The Mullen & van Willigen (1998) radiocarbon paper is what really turned the tide towards an Iberian origin, and it certainly had older dates in NE Iberia (where the Paris Street site is). I think Paris Street highlights the problem that any people buried in any collective graves that contain even a single shard of Bell Beaker pottery gets classified as a Bell Beaker site.

The Olalde samples from Galeria da Cisterna, Portugal also further show the issue. Here is what the paper says:


A set of typical Bell Beaker V-perforated ivory buttons and a small fragment of a gold spiral suggested that a Bell Beaker component ought to exist among the human bone remains. This was eventually corroborated by direct radiocarbon dating to this period of four right first pedal phalanges.

So another words, they radiocarbon tested some bones in a collective burial that was used from the Early Neolithic to the Iron Age, and just because it fell within what they feel is a Bell Beaker time period, they labeled it "Beaker Iberia". The other Portuguese site in the Olalde paper is Cova da Moura which had 90 commingled individuals from the pre-Beaker and Bell Beaker period. The lone sample tested lacked steppe ancestry and was also I2a1a1.

rms2
04-25-2018, 11:43 AM
Okay, so if I understand you correctly, you're saying that perhaps the early dates for BB in Iberia are erroneous?

R.Rocca
04-25-2018, 01:10 PM
Okay, so if I understand you correctly, you're saying that perhaps the early dates for BB in Iberia are erroneous?

I think the assignment of the earlier dates to the Bell Beaker Culture in Iberia are erroneous.