The dogma of the Iberian origin of the Bell Beaker: attempting its deconstruction

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Christian Jeunesse


The hypothesis of an Iberian origin of the Bell Beaker has been advanced from the beginning of the 20th century on. For a time challenged by the assumption of a cradle located rather in the north-western part of continental Europe, it is currently making a comeback and is supported by most specialists of the Bell Beaker phenomenon. An examination of the conditions related to its construction demonstrates that its dominant position owes more to contingent causes such as the charismatic personalities of its creators and their study areas than to an objective analysis of the archaeological record. A small exercise of archaeology-fiction in which we will trace back the history of research based on the assumption of a central-European origin highlights the structural weakness and the dogmatic character of the hypothesis of the Iberian cradle.


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Jeunesse, Christian. 2015. “The Dogma of the Iberian Origin of the Bell Beaker: Attempting Its Deconstruction”. Journal of Neolithic Archaeology 16 (March), 158-66.