On the Outskirts of the European Bell Beaker Phenomenon – the Danish Case

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Torben Sarauw


This article explores the Danish Bell Beaker phenomenon by focusing on the meaning of this distinctive pottery and seeking answers to the following questions: Does the pottery reflect social identities with respect to gender, rank, religion and so forth, and is the symbolic meaning of beakers the same all over their wide area of distribution? Furthermore, why are Bell Beakers adopted in some regions but rejected in others? The starting point for this article is a detailed analysis of a comprehensive selection of potsherds comprising not only Bell Beakers, but also different types of coarse ware found at Bejsebakken, a settlement site in northern Jutland. The intra-site distribution of pottery may reflect learning patterns and, consequently, matrimonial traditions. This has wider implications for our understanding of the social organisation of Late Neolithic society. Finally, this article discusses the directions of influence, rejecting a single source of origin, but arguing that the material culture of the Danish Bell Beaker phenomenon was shaped by many-sided influences.

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How to Cite
Sarauw 2007: T. Sarauw, On the Outskirts of the European Bell Beaker Phenomenon – the Danish Case. JNA, 2007. DOI: https://doi.org/10.12766/jna.2007.23.