Cardium pottery

Cardium pottery or Cardial ware is a Neolithic decorative style that gets its name from the imprinting of the clay with the shell of the cockle, an edible marine mollusk formerly known as Cardium edulis (now Cerastoderma edule). These forms of pottery are in turn used to define the Neolithic culture which produced and spread them, mostly commonly called the "Cardial culture".

The alternative name impressed ware is given by some archaeologists to define this culture, because impressions can be with sharp objects other than cockle shell, such as a nail or comb.[1] Impressed pottery is much more widespread than the Cardial.[2] Impressed ware is found in the zone "covering Italy to the Ligurian coast" as distinct from the more western Cardial extending from Provence to western Portugal. The sequence in prehistoric Europe has traditionally been supposed to start with widespread Cardial ware, and then to develop other methods of impression locally, termed "epi-Cardial". However the widespread Cardial and Impressed pattern types overlap and are now considered more likely to be contemporary.[3]

Cardium pottery culture
Cardial map
Geographical rangeMiddle East, North Africa, Southern Europe
PeriodNeolithic Europe
Datesc. 6400 BC – c. 5500 BC
Major sitesLiguria, Sardinia, Coppa Nevigata
Preceded byPaleolithic Europe
Followed byButmir culture
Map of Italy showing important sites that were occupied in the Cardium culture (clickable map)
Neolithic expansion
A map showing the Neolithic expansions from the 7th to the 5th millennium BC, including the Cardium culture in blue.
Europe in c. 4500–4000 BC. showing the Cardium culture in green.

The Mediterranean Neolithic

This pottery style gives its name to the main culture of the Mediterranean Neolithic: Cardium pottery culture or Cardial culture, or impressed ware culture, which eventually extended from the Adriatic sea to the Atlantic coasts of Portugal and south to Morocco.[4]

The earliest impressed ware sites, dating to 6400–6200 BC, are in Epirus and Corfu. Settlements then appear in Albania and Dalmatia on the eastern Adriatic coast dating to between 6100 and 5900 BC.[5] The earliest date in Italy comes from Coppa Nevigata on the Adriatic coast of southern Italy, perhaps as early as 6000 cal B.C. Also during Su Carroppu culture in Sardinia, already in its early stages (low strata into Su Coloru cave, c. 6000 BC) early examples of cardial pottery appear.[6] Northward and westward all secure radiocarbon dates are identical to those for Iberia c. 5500 cal BC, which indicates a rapid spread of Cardial and related cultures: 2,000 km from the gulf of Genoa to the estuary of the Mondego in probably no more than 100–200 years. This suggests a seafaring expansion by planting colonies along the coast.[7]

Older Neolithic cultures existed already at this time in eastern Greece and Crete, apparently having arrived from the Levant, but they appear distinct from the Cardial or impressed ware culture. The ceramic tradition in the central Balkans also remained distinct from that along the Adriatic coastline in both style and manufacturing techniques for almost 1,000 years from the 6th millennium BC.[8] Early Neolithic impressed pottery is found in the Levant, and certain parts of Anatolia, including Mezraa-Teleilat, and in North Africa at Tunus-Redeyef, Tunisia. So the first Cardial settlers in the Adriatic may have come directly from the Levant. Of course it might equally well have come directly from North Africa, and impressed pottery also appears in Egypt. Along the East Mediterranean coast impressed ware has been found in North Syria, Palestine and Lebanon.[9]

Cardial and Epicardial fossils that were analysed for ancient DNA were found to carry the rare mtDNA (maternal) basal haplogroup N*, supporting an early Neolithic maritime colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands by Near-Eastern farmers.[10]


Cerámica cardial-La Sarsa (España)
Cardium pottery example
Cardial Impression 1
Cardial Impression 2
Cardial Impression 3
Cardial Impression 4
Cardial fragmento

See also


  1. ^ "Impressed Ware Culture". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  2. ^ "Impressed Ware". The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Archaeology. Retrieved 11 May 2008.
  3. ^ William K. Barnett, Cardial pottery and the agricultural transition, in Douglas T Price (ed.), Europe's First Farmers (2000), p. 96.
  4. ^ Antonio Gilman, Neolithic of Northwest Africa, Antiquity, vol 48, no. 192 (1974), pp 273–282.
  5. ^ Barry Cunliffe, Europe Between the Oceans (2008), pp.115–6; Staso Forenbaher and Preston Miracle, The spread of farming in the Eastern Adriatic, Antiquity, vol. 79, no. 305 (September 2005), additional tables.
  6. ^ Showcase 3 in the Archeological Museum G. A. Sanna in Sassari
  7. ^ Zilhão (2001). "Radiocarbon evidence for maritime pioneer colonization at the origins of farming in west Mediterranean Europe". PNAS. 98 (24): 14180–14185. doi:10.1073/pnas.241522898. PMC 61188. PMID 11707599.
  8. ^ Michela Spataro, Cultural diversities: The Early Neolithic in the Adriatic region and the Central Balkans: a pottery perspective, chapter 3 in Dragos Gheorghiu (ed.), Early Farmers, Late Foragers, and Ceramic Traditions: On the Beginning of Pottery in the Near East and Europe (2009).
  9. ^ Emre Guldogan, Mezraa-Teleilat settlement impressed ware and transferring Neolithic life style?, in Paolo Matthiae et al. (eds.), Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of the Archaeology, vol. 3 (2010), pp. 375–380.
  10. ^ Fernández, Eva; et al. (2014). "Ancient DNA analysis of 8000 BC near eastern farmers supports an early neolithic pioneer maritime colonization of Mainland Europe through Cyprus and the Aegean Islands". PLoS Genetics. 10 (6): e1004401. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004401. PMC 4046922. PMID 24901650.

External links

Bank barrow

A bank barrow, sometimes referred to as a barrow-bank, ridge barrow, or ridge mound, is a type of tumulus first identified by O.G.S. Crawford in 1938.

In the United Kingdom, they take the form of a long, sinuous, parallel-sided mound, approximately uniform in height and width along its length, and usually flanked by ditches on either side. They may be the result of a single phase of construction, or be the result of the addition of one or more linear extensions to the bank of a pre-existing barrow. Although burials have been found within the mound, no burial chambers as such have been identified in bank barrows. These ancient monuments are of middle Neolithic date.

There exist fewer than 10 bank barrows in the United Kingdom; examples may be found at

Maiden Castle, Broadmayne and Martin's Down in Dorset;

Long Low near Wetton in Staffordshire.

Cortaillod culture

The Cortaillod culture is one of several archaeologically defined cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Cortaillod Culture in the west of the region is contemporary with the Pfyn Culture

in the east and dates from between 3900-3500 BC. The Classic Cortaillod Culture of the western Alpine foreland and the Early Cortaillod Culture of central Switzerland pre-date this at 4300-3900 BC.

Evidence such as higher frequencies of dog bones and pendants made from dog metapodials suggests a special relationship between dog and man during the later part of this period in the western part and the early Horgen culture in the eastern part of the Alpine foreland.


Cursus monuments are Neolithic structures which represent some of the oldest prehistoric monumental structures of the Islands of Britain and Ireland. Relics found within them show that they were built between 3400 and 3000 BC.

Superficially resembling ditches or trenches, they range in length from 50 yards (46 m) to almost 6 miles (9.7 km) and the distance between the parallel earthworks can be up to 100 yards (91 m). Banks at the terminal ends enclose the cursus. Over fifty have been identified via aerial photography while many others have doubtless been obliterated by farming and other subsequent landscaping activities.Examples include the four cursuses at Rudston in Yorkshire, that at Fornham All Saints in Suffolk, the Cleaven Dyke in Perthshire and the Dorset cursus. A notable example is the Stonehenge Cursus, within sight of the more famous stone circle, on land belonging to The National Trust's Stonehenge Landscape.

Dudești culture

The Dudeşti culture is a farming/herding culture that occupied part of Romania in the 6th millennium BC, typified by semi-subterranean habitations (Zemlyanki) on the edges of low plateaus. This culture contributed to the origin of both the subsequent Hamangia culture and the Boian culture. It was named after Dudeşti, a quarter in the southeast of Bucharest.

First Temperate Neolithic

The First Temperate Neolithic (FTN) is an archaeological horizon consisting of the earliest archaeological cultures of Neolithic Southeastern Europe, dated to c. 6400–5100 BCE. The cultures of the FTN were the first to practice agriculture in temperate Europe, which required significant innovations in farming technology previously adapted to a mediterranean climate.The constituent cultures of the FTN are:

the Starčevo–Kőrös–Criș culture, encompassing:the Starčevo culture, c. 6200–5200 BCE, Serbia, Bosnia, eastern Croatia and western Hungary;

the Kőrös culture, c. 6400–5100 BCE, eastern Hungary;

the Criş culture, c. 6400–5200 BCE, Romania;the Karanova I/II culture, c. 6300–5100 BCE, central and southern Bulgaria;

the Macedonian First Neolithic, c. 6600–5300 BCE, Macedonia;

the Poljanica group, c. 6300–5200 BCE, northeast Bulgaria;

and the West Bulgarian Painted Ware culture, c. 6200–5200 BCE, western Bulgaria.

Funnelbeaker culture

The Funnel(-neck-)beaker culture, in short TRB or TBK (German: Trichter(-rand-)becherkultur, Dutch: Trechterbekercultuur; Danish: Tragtbægerkultur; c. 4300 BC–c. 2800 BC) was an archaeological culture in north-central Europe.

It developed as a technological merger of local neolithic and mesolithic techno-complexes between the lower Elbe and middle Vistula rivers, introducing farming and husbandry as a major source of food to the pottery-using hunter-gatherers north of this line.

It was preceded by Lengyel-influenced Stroke-ornamented ware culture (STK) groups/Late Lengyel and Baden-Boleráz in the southeast, Rössen groups in the southwest and the Ertebølle-Ellerbek groups in the north.

The TRB techno-complex is divided into a northern group including modern northern Germany and southern Scandinavia (TRB-N, roughly the area that previously belonged to the Ertebølle-Ellerbek complex), a western group in the Netherlands between the Zuiderzee and lower Elbe that originated in the Swifterbant culture, an eastern group centered on the Vistula catchment, roughly ranging from Oder to Bug, and south-central groups (TRB-MES, Altmark) around the middle and upper Elbe and Saale. Especially in the southern and eastern groups, local sequences of variants emerged. In the late 4th millennium BC, the Globular Amphora culture (KAK) replaced most of the eastern and subsequently also the southern TRB groups, reducing the TRB area to modern northern Germany and southern Scandinavia.

The younger TRB in these areas was superseded by the Single Grave culture (EGK) at about 2800 BC.

The north-central European megaliths were built primarily during the TRB era.

Hamangia culture

The Hamangia culture is a Late Neolithic archaeological culture of Dobruja (Romania and Bulgaria) between the Danube and the Black Sea and Muntenia in the south. It is named after the site of Baia-Hamangia, discovered in 1952 along Golovița Lake.

Horgen culture

The Horgen culture is one of several archaeological cultures belonging to the Neolithic period of Switzerland. The Horgen culture may derive from the Pfyn culture and early Horgen pottery is similar to the earlier Cortaillod culture pottery of Twann, Switzerland. It is named for one of the principal sites, in Horgen, Switzerland.

Karanovo culture

The Karanovo culture is a neolithic culture (Karanovo I-III ca. 62nd to 55th centuries BC) named after the Bulgarian village of Karanovo (Караново, Sliven Province 42°30′41″N 25°54′54″E). The site at Karanovo itself was a hilltop settlement of 18 buildings, housing some 100 inhabitants. The site was inhabited more or less continuously from the early 7th to the early 2nd millennia BC.

The layers at Karanovo are employed as a chronological system for Balkans prehistory.

Körös culture

The Körös culture/Criş culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture in Central Europe that was named after the river Körös in eastern Hungary. The same river has the name Criș in Romania, hence the name Criş culture. The 2 variants of the river name are used for the same archaeological culture in the 2 regions. The Criș culture survived from about 5800 to 5300 BC. It is related to the neighboring Starčevo culture and is included within a larger grouping known as the Starčevo–Körös–Criş culture.

La Almagra pottery

La Almagra (red ochre), also known as ″La Almagra Pottery culture″ is a red pottery found in a number of archaeological sites of the Neolithic period in Spain. It is not known how it relates to other pottery of the Neolithic period.

In the sixth millennium BC Andalusia experiences the arrival of the first agriculturalists. Their origin is uncertain, and though North Africa is a serious candidate, desertification of extensive regions in the few centuries before makes almost impossible archaeological work to retrieve related cultures that for now remain unknown and lost maybe to the sands or coasts; but they arrive with already developed crops (domesticated forms of cereals and legumes). The presence of domestic animals is uncertain, but the known later as domestic species of pig and rabbit remains have been found in large quantities, and though these could belong to wild animals their unique consumption seems to indicate some preference or made up availability to these. They also consumed large amounts of olives but it's uncertain too whether this tree was cultivated or merely harvested in its wild form. Their typical artifact is the La Almagra style pottery, quite variegated.

The Andalusian Neolithic also influenced other areas, notably Southern Portugal a few centuries after, where, soon after neolithization, the first dolmen tombs begin to be built c.4800 BC, being possibly the oldest of their kind anywhere.

Ca. 4700 BC Cardium Pottery Neolithic culture (also known as Mediterranean Neolithic) arrives to Eastern Iberia.

Some ignored these early Neolithic radiocarbon dates noted above looking for a similar archaeological context to the earliest occurrences. They speculated that the origin ranged from Near East, Anatolian and northern Syrian. In this view, the first indication comes from the early Ugaritic, dating from between 2400 and 2300 BC. From these localities it probably migrated to Cyprus. An alternative explanation connected it to the colouration and fabrication technique of the ‘‘Diana style’’ of Lipari (final phase of the Neolithic of Lipari), although the shapes are very different. However, the sixth millennium BC radiocarbon dates confirmed for the archaeological context of the earliest occurrences of this pottery make such speculations untenable since these examples of La Almagra pottery occurred at least 3,000 years before their alleged prototypes in the east Mediterranean.

Neolithic Europe

Neolithic Europe is the period when Neolithic technology was present in Europe, roughly between 7000 BCE (the approximate time of the first farming societies in Greece) and c. 1700 BCE (the beginning of the Bronze Age in Scandinavia). The Neolithic overlaps the Mesolithic and Bronze Age periods in Europe as cultural changes moved from the southeast to northwest at about 1 km/year - this is called Neolithic Expansion.The duration of the Neolithic varies from place to place, its end marked by the introduction of bronze implements: in southeast Europe it is approximately 4,000 years (i.e. 7000 BCE–3000 BCE) while in parts of Northwest Europe it is just under 3,000 years (c. 4500 BCE–1700 BCE), although copper metallurgy was already in use on a small scale from c.2800 BCThe spread of the Neolithic from the Near East Neolithic to Europe was first studied quantitatively in the 1970s, when a sufficient number of 14C age determinations for early Neolithic sites had become available. Ammerman and Cavalli-Sforza discovered a linear relationship between the age of an Early Neolithic site and its distance from the conventional source in the Near East (Jericho), thus demonstrating that, on average, the Neolithic spread at a constant speed of about 1 km/yr. More recent studies confirm these results and yield the speed of 0.6–1.3 km/yr at 95% confidence level.

Neolithic Tibet

Neolithic Tibet refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Tibet.

Tibet has been inhabited since the Late Paleolithic. During the mid-Holocene, Neolithic immigrants from northern China largely replaced the original inhabitants, bringing with them elements of Neolithic culture and technology, although a degree of genetic continuity with the Paleolithic settlers still exists.

Prehistory of the Valencian Community

The prehistory in the Valencian Community refers to the period from the Paleolithic (around 350,000 BCE), including the appearance of the first populations, until the appearance of colonizing peoples (Greeks, Phoenicians, and Carthaginians; around 500 BCE), in the territory of the Valencian Community.

Around 350,000 BCE, evidence of the first settlers of the current region known as the Valencian community was left in Cueva de Bolomor. About 50,000 BCE, the Neanderthals occupied the region, leading a completely nomadic existence. The Cova Negra represents this period well. Around 30,000 BCE, the Neanderthals became extinct, replaced by the anatomically modern man; and Levant was the last region populated by the dying species. This change brought an improvement in the economy and technology, and art appeared. In the Valencia region, the most common Paleolithic art was portable art (unlike other regions of the Iberian Peninsula like in Cueva de Altamira, where cave art predominates), the Cueva de Parpalló providing the best examples.

The Valencian region was one of the first to witness the agricultural revolution at the dawn of the Neolithic (5,500 BCE approximately). Ceramics appeared, like the Cardium pottery in the Mediterranean, and large settlements, like the Cova de l'Or and the Mas d'ls, were populated. Rock art from this period is abundant, especially in places like Valltorta and Pla de Petracos, the latter being a World Heritage Site.

With the dawn of the Copper Age, the number of settlements in the region increased, evidenced by the number of burial caves. Iberian cultures began to differentiate at the beginning of the Bronze Age (around 2000 BCE), and the independent culture inhabiting the region, the Bronze Valencian, was stagnant. Although limited, there were metals, like the Treasure of Villena, the second largest collection of gold in Europe. The settlements feature defensive walls, and were situated in areas difficult to access. Some major settlements are in the towns of Redondo Cabezo and Muntanya Asolada.

In the late Bronze Age, settlements were gradually depopulated, although many were revived during the Iron Age, a period when Iberian and pre-Roman culture developed in the territory.

Round barrow

A round barrow is a type of tumulus and is one of the most common types of archaeological monuments. Although concentrated in Europe, they are found in many parts of the world, probably because of their simple construction and universal purpose.In Britain, most of them were built between 2200BC and 1100BC. . This was the Late Neolithic period to the Late Bronze Age. Later Iron Age barrows were mostly different, and sometimes square.

Tisza culture

The Tisza culture is a Neolithic archaeological culture of the Alföld plain in modern-day Hungary, Western Romania, Eastern Slovakia and Ukrainian Zakarpattia Oblast in Central Europe. The culture is dated to the 5th and 4th millennia BCE.

Tor enclosure

A tor enclosure is a prehistoric monument found in the southwestern part of Great Britain. These monuments emerged around 4000 BC in the early


Trihedral Neolithic

Trihedral Neolithic is a name given by archaeologists to a style (or industry) of striking spheroid and trihedral flint tools from the archaeological site of Joub Jannine II in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. The style appears to represent a highly specialized Neolithic industry. Little comment has been made of this industry.

Windmill Hill culture

The Windmill Hill culture was a name given to a people inhabiting southern Britain, in particular in the Salisbury Plain area close to Stonehenge, c. 3000 BC. They were an agrarian Neolithic people; their name comes from Windmill Hill, a causewayed enclosure. Together with another Neolithic tribe from East Anglia, a tribe whose worship involved stone circles, it is thought that they were responsible for the earliest work on the Stonehenge site.

The material record left by these people includes large circular hill-top enclosures, causewayed enclosures, long barrows, leaf-shaped arrowheads, and polished stone axes. They raised cattle, sheep, pigs, and dogs, and grew wheat and mined flints.

Since the term was first coined by archaeologists, further excavation and analysis has indicated that it consisted of several discrete cultures such as the Hembury and the Abingdon cultures; and that "Windmill Hill culture" is too general a term.


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