Corded ware coastal communities: Using ceramic analysis to reconstruct third millennium BC societies in the Netherlands

Sandra Mariët Beckerman

Research output: ThesisThesis fully internal (DIV)

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Using ceramic analysis to reconstruct third millennium BC societies in the Netherlands

The Corded Ware Culture (c. 2900–2300 BC) is found in a large area, from Russia to the Netherlands and from Scandinavia to Switzerland. Supra-regional elements include beakers decorated with cord and/or spatula imprints, battle-axes, and a funerary customs involving crouched inhumations under barrows with gender-specific placement of the body gender-specific funerary gifts.

This period is seen by many scientists as a period that saw radical changes in material culture, economy and social organisation. Gordon Childe (1929: p.158) descibed it as “a wandering race of hunters and pastoralist. They appear as pre-eminently martial folk: yet, whether by plunder or trade, they were able to secure products of distant lands. … These conquering battle-axe wielders exerted a profound influence wherever they went.” The name giving beakers were seen as alcohol drinking cups.

Analysis of ceramics from well-preserved Corded Ware settlements from the Dutch coastal zone has shown that the beakers were not used for alcohol but were used to cook meals, such as porridge with fish or meat, in. Furtermore many other aspects of reconstructions of the Corded Ware Communities proved incorrect. For example these people were not, as Childe proposed, a conquering and plundering race. His quote should be altered to read: “communities of farmers, cattle breeders, fishers, hunters and gatherers. They appear as pre-eminently of local origin: yet exchanged products and ideas with those from distant lands…These beaker owners had regional traditions as well as a desire to locally express supra-regional affinities.”
Translated title of the contributionKustgemeenschappen van de Enkelgrafcultuur: Een reconstructie van samenlevingen in het derde millennium v. Chr. in Nederland door middel van aardewerkanalyse
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • University of Groningen
  • Raemaekers, Daan, Supervisor
  • Arnoldussen, Stijn, Co-supervisor
Award date4-Jun-2015
Place of PublicationLeiden
Print ISBNs978-90-8890-318-2
Electronic ISBNs978-90-8890-319-9
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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