Corded Ware culture

The Corded Ware culture, CWC[2] (German: Schnurkeramik; French: céramique cordée; Dutch: touwbekercultuur) comprises a broad archaeological horizon of Europe between c. 2900 BCE – circa 2350 BCE, thus from the late Neolithic, through the Copper Age, and ending in the early Bronze Age.[3] Corded Ware culture encompassed a vast area, from the Rhine on the west to the Volga in the east, occupying parts of Northern Europe, Central Europe and Eastern Europe.[3]

According to Haak et al. (2017), the Corded Ware people were genetically closely related to the people of the Yamna culture (or Yamnaya), "documenting a massive migration into the heartland of Europe from its eastern periphery," the Eurasiatic steppes.[4] The Corded Ware culture may have disseminated the Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic Indo-European languages. The Corded Ware Culture also shows genetic affinity with the later Sintashta culture, where the proto-Indo-Iranian language may have originated.[1]

Corded Ware culture
Map Corded Ware culture-en
Geographical rangeEurope
PeriodChalcolithic Europe
Datescirca 2900 BCE – circa 2350 BCE
Major sitesBronocice
Preceded byNarva culture, Funnelbeaker culture, Globular Amphora culture
Followed byBeaker culture, Andronovo culture (derived from Corded Ware culture)[1]


The term Corded Ware culture (German: Schnurkeramik-Kultur, Dutch: touwbekercultuur, French: ceramique cordée) was first introduced by the German archaeologist Friedrich Klopfleisch in 1883.[5] He named it after cord-like impressions or ornamentation characteristic of its pottery.[5] The term Single Grave culture comes from its burial custom, which consisted of inhumation under tumuli in a crouched position with various artifacts. Battle Axe culture, or Boat Axe culture, is named from its characteristic grave offering to males, a stone boat-shaped battle axe.[5]


Corded Ware encompassed most of continental northern Europe from the Rhine on the west to the Volga in the east, including most of modern-day Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Belarus, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia, Switzerland, northwestern Romania, northern Ukraine, and the European part of Russia, as well as coastal Norway and the southern portions of Sweden and Finland.[3] In the Late Eneolithic/Early Bronze Age, it encompassed the territory of nearly the entire Balkan Peninsula, where Corded Ware mixed with other steppe elements.[6]

Archaeologists note that Corded Ware was not a "unified culture," as Corded Ware groups inhabiting a vast geographical area from the Rhine to Volga seem to have regionally specific subsistence strategies and economies.[3]:226 There are differences in the material culture and in settlements and society.[3] At the same time, they had several shared elements that are characteristic of all Corded Ware groups, such as their burial practices, pottery with "cord" decoration and unique stone-axes.[3]

The contemporary Beaker culture overlapped with the western extremity of this culture, west of the Elbe, and may have contributed to the pan-European spread of that culture. Although a similar social organization and settlement pattern to the Beaker were adopted, the Corded Ware group lacked the new refinements made possible through trade and communication by sea and rivers.[7]

Relation to Indo-European speaking groups

Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Berlin 031
Corded Ware pottery in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Berlin). Ca. 2500 BCE


The origins and dispersal of Corded Ware culture is one of the pivotal unresolved issues of the Indo-European Urheimat problem.[8] The Corded Ware culture has long been regarded as Indo-European because of its relative lack of settlements compared to preceding cultures, which suggested a mobile, pastoral economy, similar to that of the Yamna culture, and the culture of the Indo-Europeans inferred from philology. Its wide area of distribution indicates rapid expansion at the assumed time of the dispersal of Indo-European languages. Indeed, the Corded Ware culture was once presumed to be the Urheimat of the Proto-Indo-Europeans based on their possession of the horse and wheeled vehicles, apparent warlike propensities, wide area of distribution and rapid intrusive expansion at the assumed time of the dispersal of Indo-European languages.[8] Today this idea has lost currency, as the Kurgan hypothesis is currently the most widely accepted proposal to explain the origins and spread of the Indo-European languages.[9]

There is a stark division between archaeologists regarding the origins of Corded Ware. Some archaeologists believed it sprang from central Europe while others saw an influence from nomadic pastoral societies of the steppes.[9] In favour of the first view was the fact that Corded Ware coincides considerably with the earlier north-central European Funnelbeaker culture (TRB). According to Gimbutas, the Corded Ware culture was preceded by the Globular Amphora culture (3400–2800 BCE), which she regarded to be an Indo-European culture. The Globular Amphora culture stretched from central Europe to the Baltic sea, and emerged from the Funnelbeaker culture.[10] However, in other regions Corded Ware appears to herald a new culture and physical type.[8] On most of the immense, continental expanse that it covered, the culture was clearly intrusive, and therefore represents one of the most impressive and revolutionary cultural changes attested by archaeology.[7] The degree to which cultural change generally represents immigration was a matter of debate, and such debate had figured strongly in discussions of Corded Ware.

Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Berlin 027
Corded Ware stone-axe in the Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte (Berlin). Ca. 2800-2400 BCE.

According to controversial radiocarbon dates, Corded Ware ceramic forms in single graves develop earlier in the area that is now Poland than in western and southern Central Europe.[11] The earliest radiocarbon dates for Corded Ware indeed come from Kujawy and Lesser Poland in central and southern Poland and point to the period around 3000 BCE. However, subsequent review has challenged this perspective, instead pointing out that the wide variation in dating of the Corded Ware, especially the dating of the culture's beginning, is based on individual outlier graves, is not particularly in line with other archaeological data and runs afoul of plateaus in the radiocarbon calibration curve; in the one case where the dating can be clarified with dendrochronology, in Switzerland, Corded Ware is found for only a short period from 2750 BCE to 2400 BCE. [12] Furthermore, because the short period in Switzerland seems to represent examples of artifacts from all the major sub-periods of the Corded Ware culture elsewhere, some researchers conclude that Corded Ware appeared more or less simultaneously throughout North Central Europe approximately in the early 29th century BCE (around 2900 BCE), in a number of "centers" which subsequently formed their own local networks.[3]:297 Carbon-14 dating of the remaining central European regions shows that Corded Ware appeared after 2880 BCE.[13] According to this theory, it spread to the Lüneburg Heath and then further to the North European Plain, Rhineland, Switzerland, Scandinavia, the Baltic region and Russia to Moscow, where the culture met with the pastoralists considered indigenous to the steppes.[7]

Recent palaeogenomic data show that samples of the Corded Ware population from ca. 2400 BCE were genetically at least 75% similar to the Yamna population of the steppes, suggesting massive migrations from the steppes as a source for the Corded Ware culture. While honouring the possibilities of genetic research, this interpretation has been questioned by archaeologists as being too simple, as it ignores the complex processes involved in archaeological explanations.

In the western regions the transition to Corded Ware has been proposed to be a quick, smooth and internal change that occurred at the preceding Funnelbeaker culture, having its origin in the direction of eastern Germany.[14] Whereas in the area of the present Baltic states and north-east of Poland, it is seen as an intrusive successor to the southwestern portion of the Narva culture. However, today Corded Ware is now everywhere seen as intrusive, though not necessarily aggressively so, and coexisting with earlier indigenous cultures in many cases.[15]

Genetic studies

Relation with Yamna culture

A genetic study conducted by Haak et al. (2015) found that a large proportion of the ancestry of the Corded Ware culture's population is similar to the Yamna culture, tracing the Corded Ware culture's origins to migrations of the Yamna from the steppes 4,500 years ago.[4] About 75% of the DNA of late Neolithic Corded Ware skeletons found in Germany was a precise match to DNA from individuals of the Yamna culture.[4] The same study estimated a 40–54% ancestral contribution of the Yamna in the DNA of modern Central & Northern Europeans, and a 20–32% contribution in modern Southern Europeans, excluding Sardinians (7.1% or less), and to a lesser extent Sicilians (11.6% or less).[4][16][17] Haak et al. also note that their results "suggest" that haplogroups R1b and R1a "spread into Europe from the East after 3,000 BCE."[4]:5

In terms of phenotypes, Wilde et al. (2014) and Haak et al. (2015) found that the intrusive Yamna population, generally inferred to be the first speakers of an Indo-European language in the Corded Ware culture zone, were overwhelmingly dark-eyed (brown), dark-haired and had a skin colour that was moderately light, though somewhat darker than that of the average modern European.[4] These studies also showed that light pigmentation traits had already existed in pre-Indo-European Neolithic Europeans (in both farmers and hunter-gatherers), so long-standing philological attempts to correlate them with the arrival of Indo-Europeans from the steppes were misguided.[18]

Autosomal DNA tests also indicate that the Yamna migration from the steppes introduced a component of ancestry referred to as "Ancient North Eurasian" admixture into Europe.[4] "Ancient North Eurasian" is the name given in genetic literature to a component that represents descent from the people of the Mal'ta-Buret' culture[4] or a population closely related to them.[4] The "Ancient North Eurasian" genetic component is visible in tests of the Yamna people[4] as well as modern-day Europeans, but not of Western or Central Europeans predating the Corded Ware culture.[19]

Haak et al. (2015) also warned:[4]

We caution that the sampled Yamna individuals from Samara might not be directly ancestral to Corded Ware individuals from Germany. It is possible that a more western Yamna population, or an earlier (pre-Yamna) steppe population may have migrated into central Europe, and future work may uncover more missing links in the chain of transmission of steppe ancestry.

— W. Haak et al., Nature (2015)

Goldberg et al. (2016) found that Neolithic farming migration into Europe "was driven by mass migration of both males and females in roughly equal numbers, perhaps whole families", while Bronze Age Pontic steppe "migration and cultural shift were instead driven by male migration, potentially connected to new technology and conquest." [20]

Influence on Sintashta culture

Furthermore, Allentoft et al. (2015) has presented surprising evidence of genetic affinity of the Corded Ware Culture with the later Sintashta culture, suggesting that the "Western" or European Neolithic component of Sintashta and its daughter cultures may have come from the Corded Ware culture.[1]

Formation of the Indo-European languages in Europe

West-European Indo-European languages

The Corded Ware culture may have played a central role in the spread of the Indo-European languages in Europe during the Copper and Bronze Ages.[21][22] According to Mallory, the Corded Ware culture may have been "the common prehistoric ancestor of the later Celtic, Germanic, Baltic, Slavic, and possibly some of the Indo-European languages of Italy."[23] Yet, Mallory also notes that the Corded Ware can not account for Greek, Illyrian, Thracian and East Italic, which may be derived from Southeast Europe.[23] According to Anthony, the Corded Ware horizon may have introduced Germanic, Baltic and Slavic into northern Europe.[24]

According to Anthony, the Pre-Germanic dialects may have developed in the Usatovo culture in south-eastern Central Europe between the Dniestr and the Vistula between c. 3,100 and 2,800 BCE, and spread with the Corded Ware culture.[25] Between 3100 and 2800/2600 BCE, a real folk migration of Proto-Indo-European speakers from the Yamna-culture took place into the Danube Valley,[26] which eventually reached as far as Hungary,[27] where pre-Celtic and pre-Italic may have developed.[24] Slavic and Baltic developed at the middle Dniepr (present-day Ukraine).[28]

Haak et al. (2015) note that German Corded Ware "trace ~75% of their ancestry to the Yamna,"[29] envisioning a west-north-west migration from the Yamna culture into Germany.[30] Allentoft et al. (2015) envision a migration from the Yamna culture towards north-western Europe via Central Europe, and towards the Baltic area and the eastern periphery of the Corded Ware culture via the territory of present-day Ukraine, Belarus and Russia.[31]

Language shift

According to Gimbutas' original theory, the process of "Indo-Europeanization" of Corded Ware (and, later, the rest of Europe) was essentially a cultural transformation, not one of physical type.[15] The Yamna migration from Eastern to Central and Western Europe is understood by Gimbutas as a military victory, resulting in the Yamna imposing a new administrative system, language and religion upon the indigenous groups.[32][a] [b] The social organization greatly facilitated the Yamna people's effectiveness in war, their patrilineal and patriarchal structure.[33][c] The Old Europeans (indigenous groups) had neither a warrior class nor horses.[34] They lived in (probably) theocratic monarchies presided over by a queen-priestess or were egalitarian societies.[35][d] This Old European social structure contrasted with the social structure of the Yamna-derived cultures that followed them.[36]

David Anthony (2007), in his "revised Steppe hypothesis"[37] proposes that the spread of the Indo-European languages probably did not happen through "chain-type folk migrations," but by the introduction of these languages by ritual and political elites, which were emulated by large groups of people,[38]:117 a process which he calls "elite recruitment".[38]:117-8[e] Yet, in supplementary information to Haak et al. (2015) Anthony, together with Lazaridis, Haak, Patterson, and Reich, notes that the mass migration of Yamna people to northern Europe shows that "the Steppe hypothesis does not require elite dominance to have transmitted Indo-European languages into Europe. Instead, our results show that the languages could have been introduced simply by strength of numbers: via major migration in which both sexes participated."[39][f]

Linguist Guus Kroonen points out that speakers of Indo-European languages encountered existing populations in Europe that spoke unrelated, non-Indo-European languages when they migrated further into Europe from the Yamna culture's steppe zone at the margin of Europe. He focuses on both the effects on Indo-European languages that resulted from this contact and investigation of the pre-existing languages. Relatively little is known about the Pre-Indo-European linguistic landscape of Europe, except for Basque, as the "Indo-Europeanization" of Europe caused a largely unrecorded, massive linguistic extinction event, most likely through language shift.[40] Kroonen's 2015 [40] study purports to show that Pre-Indo-European speech contains a clear Neolithic signature emanating from the Aegean language family and thus patterns with the prehistoric migration of Europe’s first farming populations.[40]:10

Marija Gimbutas, as part of her theory, had already inferred that the Corded Ware culture's intrusion into Scandinavia formed a synthesis with the indigenous people of the Funnelbeaker culture, giving birth to the Proto-Germanic language.[15] According to Edgar Polomé, 30% of the non-Indo-European substratum found in modern German derives from non-Indo-European-speakers of Funnelbeaker culture, indigenous to southern Scandinavia.[41] When Yamna Indo-European speakers came into contact with the indigenous peoples during the 3rd millennium BCE, they came to dominate the local populations yet parts of the indigenous lexicon persisted in the formation of Proto-Germanic, thus giving Proto-Germanic the status of being an "Indo-Europeanized" language.[42]

Language continuity

In opposition to the invasionist theories proposed by Gimbutas and others, Mario Alinei – in his Paleolithic Continuity Theory – has supported the continuity of languages in the area of the Corded Ware (as elsewhere in Europe) since the Paleolithic. Based on predecessors such as Yevgeny Yu. Krichevsky and V. Gordon Childe,[43] he stressed the universal character of the innovations generally connected to the people of the Corded Ware (such as a special mixture of farming and nomadic pastoralism, and the patrilineal and patriarchal structures connected to the latter).[44] Nevertheless, Alinei accepted a heightened influence of the migratorial element in the area between the Black Sea and the Pannonian Basin, but emphasized the continuity – "with or without human appositions from the steppes" – of the Funnelbeaker culture via the Globular Amphora culture to the Corded Ware or Battle Axe culture, and the Single Grave culture.

He believes that speakers of Baltic languages may have played an important role in the diffusion of the Corded Ware culture.[45] The main arguments for this pivotal role of the Baltic speakers would be:

The latter trait unites them with most of the Scandinavian and some Low German dialects of the coastal region, as well as with certain Slavic (Northern Kashubian) and Finnic languages (Livonian and Estonian).[46]


There are very few discovered settlements, which led to the traditional view of this culture as exclusively nomadic pastoralists. However, this view was modified, as some evidence of sedentary farming emerged. Traces of emmer, common wheat and barley were found at a Corded Ware site at Bronocice in south-east Poland. Wheeled vehicles (presumably drawn by oxen) are in evidence, a continuation from the Funnelbeaker culture era.[8]

Cows' milk was used systematically from 3400 BCE onwards in the northern Alpine foreland. Sheep were kept more frequently in the western part of Switzerland due to the stronger Mediterranean influence. Changes in slaughter age and animal size are possibly evidence for sheep being kept for their wool at Corded Ware sites in this region.[47]


Vanlig, sen skafthålsyxa, Nordisk familjebok
Late battle axe from Gotland

Burial occurred in flat graves or below small tumuli in a flexed position; on the continent males lay on their right side, females on the left, with the faces of both oriented to the south. However, in Sweden and also parts of northern Poland the graves were oriented north-south, men lay on their left side and women on the right side - both facing east. Originally, there was probably a wooden construction, since the graves are often positioned in a line. This is in contrast with practices in Denmark where the dead were buried below small mounds with a vertical stratigraphy: the oldest below the ground, the second above this grave, and occasionally even a third burial above those. Other types of burials are the niche-graves of Poland. Grave goods for men typically included a stone battle axe. Pottery in the shape of beakers and other types are the most common burial gifts, generally speaking. These were often decorated with cord, sometimes with incisions and other types of impressions.

The approximately contemporary Beaker culture had similar burial traditions, and together they covered most of Western and Central Europe. The Beaker culture originated around 2800 BCE in the Iberian Peninsula and subsequently extended into Central Europe, where it partly coexisted with the Corded Ware region.

In April 2011, it was reported that a deviant Corded Ware burial had been discovered in a suburb of Prague.[48] The remains, believed to be male, were orientated in the same way as women's burials and were not accompanied by any gender-specific grave goods. The excavators suggested the grave may have been that of a "member of a so-called third gender, which were people either with different sexual orientation or transsexuals or just people who identified themselves differently from the rest of the society",[48] while media reports heralded the discovery of the world's first "gay caveman".[49][50] Archaeologists and biological anthropologists criticised media coverage as sensationalist. "If this burial represents a transgendered individual (as well it could), that doesn't necessarily mean the person had a 'different sexual orientation' and certainly doesn't mean that he would have considered himself (or that his culture would have considered him) 'homosexual,'" anthropologist Kristina Killgrove commented. Other items of criticism were that someone buried in the Copper Age was not a "caveman" and that identifying the sex of skeletal remains is difficult and inexact.[51] A detailed account of the burial has not yet appeared in scientific literature.


Corded Ware culture

The prototypal Corded Ware culture, German Schnurkeramikkultur, is found in Central Europe, mainly Germany and Poland, and refers to the characteristic pottery of the era: twisted cord was impressed into the wet clay to create various decorative patterns and motifs. It is known mostly from its burials, and both sexes received the characteristic cord-decorated pottery. Whether made of flax or hemp, they had rope.

Single Grave culture

Museum für Vor- und Frühgeschichte Berlin 028
Protruding-Foot Beaker culture (PFB), subset of the Single Grave culture.

Single Grave term refers to a series of late Neolithic communities of the 3rd millennium BCE living in southern Scandinavia, Northern Germany, and the Low Countries that share the practice of single burial, the deceased usually being accompanied by a battle-axe, amber beads, and pottery vessels.[52]

The term Single Grave culture was first introduced by the Danish archaeologist Andreas Peter Madsen in the late 1800s, he found Single Graves to be quite different from the already known dolmens, long barrows and passage graves.[53] In 1898, archaeologist Sophus Müller was first to present a migration-hypothesis stating that previously known dolmens, long barrows, passage graves and newly discovered single graves may represent two completely different groups of people, stating "Single graves are traces of new, from the south coming tribes".[54]

The cultural emphasis on drinking equipment already characteristic of the early indigenous Funnelbeaker culture, synthesized with newly arrived Corded Ware traditions. Especially in the west (Scandinavia and northern Germany), the drinking vessels have a protruding foot and define the Protruding-Foot Beaker culture (PFB) as a subset of the Single Grave culture.[55] The Beaker culture has been proposed to derive from this specific branch of the Corded Ware culture.

Swedish-Norwegian Battle Axe culture

ALB - Neolithikum Bootsaxt
Boat-shaped battle axe, characteristic of Scandinavian and coastal-German Corded Ware.

The Swedish-Norwegian Battle Axe culture, or the Boat Axe culture, appeared ca. 2800 BCE and is known from about 3,000 graves from Scania to Uppland and Trøndelag. The "battle-axes" were primarily a status object. There are strong continuities in stone craft traditions, and very little evidence of any type of full-scale migration, least of all a violent one. The old ways were discontinued as the corresponding cultures on the continent changed, and the farmers living in Scandinavia took part in those changes since they belonged to the same network. Settlements on small, separate farmsteads without any defensive protection is also a strong argument against the people living there being aggressors.

About 3000 battle axes have been found, in sites distributed over all of Scandinavia, but they are sparse in Norrland and northern Norway. Less than 100 settlements are known, and their remains are negligible as they are located on continually used farmland, and have consequently been plowed away. Einar Østmo reports sites inside the Arctic Circle in the Lofoten, and as far north as the present city of Tromsø.

The Swedish-Norwegian Battle Axe culture was based on the same agricultural practices as the previous Funnelbeaker culture, but the appearance of metal changed the social system. This is marked by the fact that the Funnelbeaker culture had collective megalithic graves with a great deal of sacrifices to the graves, but the Battle Axe culture has individual graves with individual sacrifices.

A new aspect was given to the culture in 1993, when a death house in Turinge, in Södermanland was excavated. Along the once heavily timbered walls were found the remains of about twenty clay vessels, six work axes and a battle axe, which all came from the last period of the culture. There were also the cremated remains of at least six people. This is the earliest find of cremation in Scandinavia and it shows close contacts with Central Europe.

In the context of the entry of Germanic into the region, Einar Østmo emphasizes that the Atlantic and North Sea coastal regions of Scandinavia, and the circum-Baltic areas were united by a vigorous maritime economy, permitting a far wider geographical spread and a closer cultural unity than interior continental cultures could attain. He points to the widely disseminated number of rock carvings assigned to this era, which display "thousands" of ships. To seafaring cultures like this one, the sea is a highway and not a divider.

Finnish Battle Axe culture

The Finnish Battle Axe culture was a mixed cattle-breeder and hunter-gatherer culture, and one of the few in this horizon to provide rich finds from settlements.

Middle Dnieper and Fatyanovo-Balanovo cultures

The eastern outposts of the Corded Ware culture are the Middle Dnieper culture and on the upper Volga, the Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture. The Middle Dnieper culture has very scant remains, but occupies the easiest route into Central and Northern Europe from the steppe. If the association of Battle Axe cultures with Indo-European languages is correct, then Fatyanovo would be a culture with an Indo-European superstratum over a Uralic substratum, and may account for some of the linguistic borrowings identified in the Indo-Uralic thesis. However, according to Häkkinen, the Uralic–Indo-European contacts only start in the Corded Ware period and the Uralic expansion into the Upper Volga region postdates it. Häkkinen accepts Fatyanovo-Balanovo as an early Indo-European culture, but maintains that their substratum (identified with the Volosovo culture) was neither Uralic nor Indo-European.[56] Genetics seems to support Häkkinen.

See also


  1. ^ Gimbutas uses the term Old Europe to refer to indigenous, Pre-Indo-European Europeans during the Neolithic – including the Chalcolithic –, representing a clearly unbroken cultural tradition of nearly 3 millennia (c. 6500–3500 B.C.). Notably, the Narva culture, the Funnelbeaker culture, the Linear Pottery culture, the Cardium pottery culture, the Vinča culture, the early Helladic culture, and the Minoans, among others, are all part of her "Old Europe."
  2. ^ Marija Gimbutas: "Three millennium long traditions were truncated by two waves of semi-nomadic horse riding people from the east: the towns and villages disintegrated, the magnificent painted pottery vanished; so did the shrines, frescoes, sculptures, symbols and script. ... [This is evident in] the archaeological record not only by the abrupt absences of the magnificent painted pottery and figurines and the termination of sign use, but by the equally abrupt appearance of thrusting weapons and horses infiltrating the Danubian Valley and other major grasslands of the Balkans and Central Europe. Their arrival initiated a dramatic shift in the prehistory of Europe, a change in social structure and in residence patterns, in art and in religion and it was a decisive factor in the formation of Europe’s last 5,000 years."
  3. ^ Additionally, this "Old Europe"social structure is inferred to have contrasted with the Indo-European culture, who were mobile and non-egalitarian. This relates to the three-category hierarchy reconstructed for Indo-Europeans earlier by Georges Dumézil: warrior priest rulers, warrior nobility, and laborers/agriculturalists at the bottom. The members of the Kurgan Culture were also warlike, were either mobile or lived in smaller villages, and had an ideology that centered on the virile male. Their gods were often heroic warriors of the shining and thunderous sky rather than peaceful mother goddesses of birth and regeneration. In sum, when comparing and contrasting these two groups through the eyes of Gimbutas, it can be said that, “the Old Europeans put no emphasis on dangerous weapons whereas the Kurgans glorified the sharp blade” (Gimbutas 1997g: 241). What eventually occurred was the “drastic upheaval of Old Europe”.
  4. ^ Additionally, "Old Europeans" often dwelled in “large agglomerations”, were sedentary-horticulturalist, had an ideology which “focused on the eternal aspects of birth, death, and regeneration, symbolized by the feminine principle, a mother creatrix”, buried their dead in communal megalith graves and were generally peaceful.[35]
  5. ^ David Anthony (1995): "Language shift can be understood best as a social strategy through which individuals and groups compete for positions of prestige, power, and domestic security […] What is important, then, is not just dominance, but vertical social mobility and a linkage between language and access to positions of prestige and power […] A relatively small immigrant elite population can encourage widespread language shift among numerically dominant indigenes in a non-state or pre-state context if the elite employs a specific combination of encouragements and punishments. Ethnohistorical cases […] demonstrate that small elite groups have successfully imposed their languages in non-state situations."
  6. ^ They further note:
    • "the main argument in favor of the Anatolian hypothesis (that major language change requires major migration) can now also be applied to the Steppe hypothesis."[39]
    • "our results level the playing field between the two leading hypotheses [the Steppe hypothesis and the Anatolian hypothesis] of Indo-European origins, as we now know that both the Early Neolithic and the Late Neolithic were associated with major migrations."[39]
  7. ^ This linguistic feature is well-known from Ancient Greek phonology.


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  8. ^ a b c d Mallory 1997, pp. 127–128
  9. ^ a b Asya Pereltsvaig and Martin Lewis 2015. The Indo-European Controversy: Facts and Fallacies in Historical Linguistics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  10. ^ Mallory 1999, p. 250.
  11. ^ Furholt, Martin (2004). "Entstehungsprozesse der Schnurkeramik und das Konzept eines Einheitshorizontes". Archäologisches Korrespondenzblatt (in German). 34 (4): 479–498. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011.
  12. ^ Wlodarczak, Piotr (2009). "Radiocarbon and Dendrochronological Dates of the Corded Ware Culture". Radiocarbon. 51 (2): 737–749. doi:10.1017/s003382220005606x. Retrieved 2 July 2016.
  13. ^ Czebreszuk, Janusz (2004). "Corded Ware from East to West". In Crabtree, Pam; Bogucki, Peter (eds.). Ancient Europe, 8000 B.C. to A.D. 1000: An Encyclopedia of the Barbarian World.
  14. ^ Bloemers, JHF; van Dorp, T (1991). Pre- & protohistorie van de lage landen, onder redactie (in Dutch). De Haan/Open Universiteit. ISBN 978-90-269-4448-2. 644.
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  17. ^ Gibbons, Ann (10 June 2015). "Nomadic herders left a strong genetic mark on Europeans and Asians". Science. AAAS.
  18. ^ Wilde, Sandra; Timpson, Adrian (2014). "Direct evidence for positive selection of skin, hair, and eye pigmentation in Europeans during the last 5,000 y" (PDF). PNAS. 111 (13): 4832–4837. Bibcode:2014PNAS..111.4832W. doi:10.1073/pnas.1316513111. PMC 3977302. PMID 24616518.
  19. ^ Lazaridis 2014.
  20. ^ Goldberg, Amy; Günther, Torsten; Rosenberg, Noah; Jakobsson, Mattias (2016). "Familial migration of the Neolithic contrasts massive male migration during Bronze Age in Europe inferred from ancient X chromosomes". bioRxiv 078360.
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  27. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 362, 367.
  28. ^ Anthony 2007, p. 368, 380.
  29. ^ Haak 2015, p. 1.
  30. ^ Haak 2015, p. 11, figure 4c.
  31. ^ Allentoft 2015, p. 108, topright map.
  32. ^ Gimbutas 1997, p. 240.
  33. ^ Gimbutas 1997, p. 361.
  34. ^ Gimbutas 1997, p. 316.
  35. ^ a b Gimbutas 1997, p. 241.
  36. ^ Gimbutas 1997, p. 241, 316.
  37. ^ Pereltsvaig, Asya; Lewis, Martin W. (2015). The Indo-European Controversy. Cambridge University Press. pp. 43–45.
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  40. ^ a b c Kroonen, Guus (2015), Pre-Indo-European speech carrying a Neolithic signature emanating from the Aegean (PDF)
  41. ^ Karlene 1996.
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  43. ^ Cfr. V. Gordon Childe: The Dawn of European Civilization. Sixth, revised edition. Routledge & Kegan, London 1957.
  44. ^ Mario Alinei: Origini delle lingue d'Europa. II. Continuità dal Mesolitico all'età del Ferro nelle principali aree etnolinguistiche. Società editrice il Mulino, Bologna 2000, pp. 279–288, especially p. 282 ff.
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External links

Abashevo culture

The Abashevo culture is an early Bronze Age (ca. 2500–1900 BCE) archaeological culture found in the valleys of the Volga and Kama River north of the Samara bend and into the southern Ural Mountains. It receives its name from the village of Abashevo in Chuvashia. Artifacts are kurgans and remnants of settlements. The Abashevo was the easternmost of the Russian forest zone cultures that descended from Corded Ware ceramic traditions. The Abashevo culture played a significant role in the origin of the Sintashta culture. The Abashevo culture does not pertain to the Andronovo culture and genetically belongs to the circle of Central European cultures employing the Corded Ware ceramics of the type represented by the Fatyanovo culture.The economy was mixed agriculture. Cattle, sheep, and goats, as well as other domestic animals were kept. Horses were evidently used, inferred by cheek pieces typical of neighboring steppe cultures. The population of Sintashta derived their stock-breeding from Abashevo, although the role of the pig shrinks sharply.It follows the Yamna culture and Balanovo culture in its inhumation practices in tumuli. Flat graves were also a component of the Abashevo culture burial rite, as in the earlier Fatyanovo culture. Grave offerings are scant, little more than a pot or two. Some graves show evidence of a birch bark floor and a timber construction forming walls and roof.There is evidence of copper smelting, and the culture would seem connected to copper mining activities in the southern Urals. The Abashevo culture was an important center of metallurgy and stimulated the formation of Sintashta metallurgy.The Abashevo ethno-linguistic identity is a subject of speculation, although it likely reflected a merger of the earlier Indo-European Poltavka culture in the Volga-Ural steppes, Fatyanovo-Balanovo traditions, and contacts with speakers of Uralic; Abashevo was likely the area in which some loan-words entered Uralic. The skulls of the Abashevo differ from those of the Timber Grave culture, early Catacomb culture, or the Potapovka culture. The anthropological type is a transitional group in which Mongoloid and Europoid features are commingled, probably due to Siberian admixture. Abashevo probably witnessed a bilingual population undergo a process of assimilation. Some members of the hunter-gatherer Volosovo culture were apparently also absorbed into the Abashevo populace, as Corded-impressed Abashevo pottery has been found alongside comb-stamped Volosovo ceramics at archaeological sites, sometimes even in the same structure.Abashevo occupied part of the area of the earlier Fatyanovo-Balanovo culture, the eastern variant of the earlier Corded Ware culture, but whatever relationship there is between the two cultures is uncertain. The pre-eminent expert on the Abashevo culture, A. Pryakhin, concluded that it originated from contacts between Fatyanovo / Balanovo and Catacomb / Poltavka peoples in the southern forest-steppe. Early Abashevo ceramic styles strongly influenced Sintashta ceramics.It was preceded by the Yamna culture and succeeded by the Srubna culture and the Sintashta culture.

Early history of Pomerania

After the glaciers of the Ice Age in the Early Stone Age withdrew from the area, which since about 1000 AD is called Pomerania, in what are now northern Germany and Poland, they left a tundra. First humans appeared, hunting reindeer in the summer. A climate change in 8000 BC allowed hunters and foragers of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture to continuously inhabit the area. These people became influenced by farmers of the Linear Pottery culture who settled in southern Pomerania. The hunters of the Ertebølle-Ellerbek culture became farmers of the Funnelbeaker culture in 3000 BC. The Havelland culture dominated in the Uckermark from 2500 to 2000 BC. In 2400 BC, the Corded Ware culture reached Pomerania and introduced the domestic horse. Both Linear Pottery and Corded Ware culture have been associated with Indo-Europeans. Except for Western Pomerania, the Funnelbeaker culture was replaced by the Globular Amphora culture a thousand years later.During the Bronze Age, Western Pomerania was part of the Nordic Bronze Age cultures, while east of the Oder river the Lusatian culture dominated. Throughout the Iron Age, the people of the western Pomeranian areas belonged to the Jastorf culture, while the Lusatian culture of the East was succeeded by the Pomeranian culture, then in 150 BC by the Oksywie culture, and at the beginning of the first millennium by the Wielbark culture.While the Jastorf culture is usually associated with Germanic peoples, the ethnic category of the Lusatian culture and its successors is debated. Veneti, Germanic peoples like Goths, Rugians, and Gepids, and Slavs are assumed to have been the bearers of these cultures or parts thereof.From the 3rd century onwards, many settlements were abandoned, marking the beginning of the migration period in Pomerania. It is assumed that Burgundians, Goths and Gepids with parts of the Rugians left Pomerania during that stage, while some Veneti, Vidivarii and other, Germanic groups remained, and formed the Gustow, Debczyn and late Wielbark cultures, which existed in Pomerania until the 6th century.The name Pomerania comes from Slavic po more, which means "[land] by the sea".


Erlenbach–Winkel is one of the 111 serial sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, of which are 56 located in Switzerland.

Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture

The Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture, 3200 BC–2300 BC, is an eastern extension of the Corded Ware culture into Russia.

It runs from Lake Pskov in the west to the middle Volga in the east, with its northern reach in the valley of the upper Volga. It is really two cultures, the Fatyanovo in the west, the Balanovo in the east. The Fatyanovo culture emerged at the northeastern edge of the Middle Dnieper culture, and was probably derived from an early variant of this culture.Fatyanovo migrations correspond to regions with hydronyms of a Baltic language dialect mapped by linguists as far as the Oka river and the upper Volga. Spreading eastward down the Volga they discovered the copper ores of the western Ural foothills, and started long term settlements in lower Kama river region. The Balanovo culture occupied the region of the Kama–Vyatka–Vetluga interfluves where metal resources (local copper sandstone deposits) of the region were exploited.Fatyanovo ceramics show mixed Corded Ware / Globular Amphorae traits. The later Abashevo culture pottery looked somewhat like Fatyanovo-Balanovo Corded Ware, but Abashevo kurgans were unlike Fatyanovo flat cemeteries, although flat graves were a recognizable component of the Abashevo burial rite. Balanovo burials (like the Middle Dnieper culture) were both of the flat and kurgan type, containing individual and also mass graves.Settlements are scant, and bear evidence of a degree of fortification. The villages were usually situated on the high hills of the riverbanks, consisting of several above-ground houses built from wooden logs with saddle roofs, and also joined by passages. The economy seems to be quite mobile, but then we are cautioned that domestic swine are found, which suggests something other than a mobile society. The Fatyanovo culture is viewed as introducing an economy based on domestic livestock (sheep, cattle, horse & dog) into the forest zone of Russia. The Balanovo also used draught cattle and two wheeled wagons.As is usual with such ancient cultures, our main knowledge comes from their inhumations. Shaft graves were evident, which might be lined with wood. The deceased were wrapped in animal skins or birch bark and placed into wooden burial chambers in subterranean rectangular pits. The interments are otherwise in accord with Corded Ware practices, with males resting on their right side and females on their left. Local metal objects of a Central European provenance type were present. Copper ornaments and tools have been found in Balanovo burials (Chalcolithic). Burial goods depended on sex, age, and social position. Copper axes primarily accompanied persons of high social position, stone axe-hammers were given to men, flint axes to children and women. Amulets are frequently found in the graves as well as metal working implements.The theory for an intrusive culture is based upon the physical type of the population (physical anthropology), flexed burial under barrows, the presence of battle-axes and ceramics. There are similarities between Fatyanovo and Catacomb culture stone battle-axes. The Volosovo culture of indigenous forest foragers was different in its ceramics, economy, and mortuary practices. It dispersed when the Fatyanovo people pushed into the Upper and Middle Volga basin. Ceramic finds indicate Balanovo coexisted with the Volosovo people (mixed Balanovo-Volosovo sites), and also displaced them. Note that the ethnic and linguistic attribution of the Volosovo culture is uncertain; Häkkinen maintains that their language was neither Uralic nor Indo-European, but a substratum to Finno-Permic. The cultures of the Prikamsky subarea in the Late Bronze Age continued preceding traditions in pottery, house designs, and stable animal husbandry with the breeding of horse, cattle, and to a lesser extent, pigs and sheep. Scholars interpret some of these cultures with stages in the development of the proto-Permian language. Some have argued that this culture represents the acculturation of Pit-Comb Ware culture people of this area from contacts with Corded Ware agriculturists in the West. It does not seem to represent a northern extension of the Indo-European Yamna culture horizon further south.Historical sources mention a people inhabiting the region of the earlier Fatyanovo region. The Hypatian Codex of Chronicles mentions that in 1147 the Prince of Rostov-Suzdal defeated the Golyad' (Голядь) who lived by the River Porotva. The Protva is a tributary of the Oka river near Moscow, where there is a wealth of Baltic hydronyms.

Globular Amphora culture

The Globular Amphora Culture (GAC) (German: Kugelamphoren-Kultur (KAK); Russian: Культура шаровидных амфор, translit. Kultura sharovidnykh amfor), c. 3400–2800 BC, is an archaeological culture in central Europe.

Marija Gimbutas

assumed an Indo-European origin, though this is contradicted by newer genetic studies.The GAC preceded the Corded ware culture in its central area. Somewhat to the south and west, it was bordered by the Baden culture. To the northeast was the Narva culture. It occupied much of the same area as the earlier Funnelbeaker culture. The name was coined by Gustaf Kossinna because of the characteristic pottery, globular-shaped pots with two to four handles.

Indo-European migrations

The Indo-European migrations are the migrations of the peoples speaking the Proto-Indo-European language (PIE) towards the locations where Indo-European languages are spoken today, particularly the earliest migrations following the split of the ancestor language. According to the most widely held hypothesis, the Kurgan hypothesis, the earliest proto-Indo-European speech community was identical with the archeological Yamnaya culture, and other related cultures in the Pontic–Caspian steppe, at c. 4000 BCE. Their descendants spread throughout Europe and parts of Asia, forming new cultures with the people they met on their way, including the Corded Ware culture in Northern Europe and the Vedic culture in the Indian subcontinent. These migrations ultimately seeded the cultures and languages of most of Europe, Greater Iran, and much of the Indian subcontinent (and subsequently resulted in the largest and most broadly-spoken language-family in the world). Alternative theories, such as the Anatolian hypothesis see the migrations as starting in Anatolia, at a much earlier date.

Modern understandings of these migrations depend on synthesis of data from linguistics, archaeology, anthropology and genetics. Comparative linguistics describes the similarities between various languages and the linguistic laws at play in the changes in those languages (see Indo-European studies). Archaeological data traces the spread of cultures presumed to be created by speakers of Proto-Indo-European in several stages: from the hypothesized locations of the Proto-Indo-European homeland, into their later locations Western Europe, Central, South and Eastern Asia by migrations and by language shift through élite-recruitment as described by anthropological research. Recent genetic research has increasingly contributed to understanding of the relations between various prehistoric cultures.

Proto-Celtic and Proto-Italic probably developed in and spread from Central Europe into western Europe after new Yamnaya migrations into the Danube Valley, while Proto-Germanic and Proto-Balto-Slavic may have developed east of the Carpathian mountains, in present-day Ukraine, moving north and spreading with the Corded Ware culture in Middle Europe (third millennium BCE). Alternatively, a European branch of Indo-European dialects, termed "North-west Indo-European" and associated with the Beaker culture, may have been ancestral to not only Celtic and Italic, but also to Germanic and Balto-Slavic.The Indo-Iranian language and culture emerged within the Sintashta culture (c. 2100–1800 BCE), at the eastern border of the Yamnaya horizon and the Corded ware culture, growing into the Andronovo culture (c. 1800–800 BCE). Indo-Aryans moved into the Bactria–Margiana Archaeological Complex (c. 2400–1600 BCE) and spread to the Levant (Mitanni), northern India (Vedic people, c. 1500 BCE), and China (Wusun). The Iranian languages spread throughout the steppes with the Scyths and into Iran with the Medes, Parthians and Persians from c. 800 BCE.


Karsdorf is a municipality in the Burgenlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

Recently, Karsdorf became known for its genetic testimonies. Haak et al. published an older, male individual "KAR6a, dated with 5207 to 5070 calBC into the Early-Neolithic Lienbandkeramik, having the Human mitochondrial DNA haplogroup H1 and the Y-haplogroup T1a.

The other, female individuum was dated with 2564-2475 cal. BC into the Corded Ware Culture (German Schnurkeramik) and had the mitochondrial haplogroup T1a1.

Kong Asgers Høj

Kong Asgers Høj is a large passage grave on the island of Møn in Denmark.

The megalithic structure dated to Neolithic Funnel Beaker culture. The grave consists of a chamber (10 m long by 2 m wide) with a long passage (7.5 m long). This type of graves is found primarily in Denmark, Germany and Scandinavia, and occasionally in France and the Netherlands.

Study of King Asger Høj began in 1839, when the Danish merchant Gustav Hage tried to find a treasure, found it empty. The grave is structurally untouched since ancient times, but may have been cleared then. It was used as Secondary burial for Corded Ware culture period.

Lengyel culture

The Lengyel culture, is an archaeological culture of the European Neolithic, centered on the Middle Danube in Central Europe. It flourished during 5000-3400 BC. The eponymous type site is at Lengyel in Tolna county, Hungary.

It was preceded by the Linear Pottery culture and succeeded by the Corded Ware culture.

In its northern extent, overlapped the somewhat later but otherwise approximately contemporaneous Funnelbeaker culture.

Also closely related are the Stroke-ornamented ware and Rössen cultures, adjacent to the north and west, respectively.

Subgroups of the Lengyel horizon include the Austrian/Moravian Painted Ware I and II, Aichbühl, Jordanów/Jordanov/Jordansmühl, Schussenried, Gatersleben, etc.

It is a wide interaction sphere or cultural horizon rather than an archaeological culture in the narrow sense.

Its distribution overlaps with the Tisza culture and with Stroke-Ornamented Pottery (STK) as far north as Osłonki, central Poland.

Lengyel pottery was found in western Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Austria, Poland, and in the Sopot culture of the northern parts of Former Yugoslavia.

Influence in pottery styles is found even further afield, in parts of Germany and Switzerland.

Agriculture and stock raising (mainly cattle, but also pigs, and to a lesser extent, ovicaprids) was practiced, though a large number of wild faunal remains have also been recovered. Settlements consisted of small houses as well as trapezoid longhouses. These settlements were sometimes open, sometimes surrounded by a defensive ditch.

Inhumation was in separate cemeteries, in the flexed position with apparently no preference for which side the deceased was laid out in.

Lengyel sites of the later period show signs of the use of copper in form of beads and hammered ribbons, marking the dawn of the Chalcholithic period in Central Europe.

It was associated with the cover-term Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas, though may have been undergone "kurganization" by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and become integrated into the successor Globular Amphora culture.

Middle Dnieper culture

The Middle Dnieper culture is an eastern extension of the Corded Ware culture, ca. 3200—2300 BC, of northern Ukraine and Belarus. As the name indicates, it was centered on the middle reach of the Dnieper River and is contemporaneous with the latter phase and then a successor to the Indo-European Yamnaya culture, as well as to the latter phase of the Tripolye culture.

Geographically it is directly behind the area occupied by the Globular Amphora culture (south and east), and while commencing a little later and lasting a little longer, it is otherwise contemporaneous with it.

More than 200 sites are attested to, mostly as barrow inhumations under tumuli; some of these burials are secondary depositions into Yamnaya-era kurgans. Grave goods included pottery and stone battle-axes. There is some evidence of cremation in the northerly area. Settlements seem difficult to define; the economy was much like that of the Yamnaya and Corded Ware cultures, semi-to-fully-nomadic pastoralism.Within the context of the Kurgan hypothesis of Marija Gimbutas, this culture is a major center for migrations (or invasions, if one prefers) from the Yamnaya culture and its immediate successors into Northern and Central Europe.

It has been argued that the area where the Middle Dnieper culture is situated would have provided a better migration route for steppe tribes along the Pripyat tributary of the Dnieper and perhaps provided the cultural bridge between Yamnaya and Corded Ware cultures. This area has also been a classic invasion route as seen historically with the armies of the Mongol Golden Horde (moving east to west from the steppes) and Napoleon Bonaparte (moving west to east from Europe). On the other hand, the Middle-Dnieper culture has been viewed as a contact zone between Yamnaya steppe tribes and occupants of the forest steppe zone possibly signaling communications between pre-Indo-Iranian speakers and pre-Balto-Slavs as interpreted by an exchange of material goods evident in the archaeological record sans migration.The Fatyanovo–Balanovo culture is, in turn, considered an eastern extension of the Middle Dnieper culture.

Narva culture

Narva culture or eastern Baltic (c. 5300 to 1750 BC) was a European Neolithic archaeological culture found in present-day Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kaliningrad Oblast (former East Prussia), and adjacent portions of Poland, Belarus and Russia. A successor of the Mesolithic Kunda culture, Narva culture continued up to the start of the Bronze Age. The technology was that of hunter-gatherers. The culture was named after the Narva River in Estonia.

Necropolis of Soderstorf

The Necropolis of Soderstorf is a prehistoric cemetery in the valley of the Luhe river valley near Soderstorf in the Lüneburg district of Lower Saxony, Germany. The site was used for more than 2000 years. It includes a megalithic tomb, a tumulus tomb, a stone circle, paving stones, funerary urns and a flat grave.

Pitted Ware culture

For the North-East European culture of similar name, see Pit–Comb Ware culture.

The Pitted Ware culture (c. 3200 BC–c. 2300 BC) was a hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia, mainly along the coasts of Svealand, Götaland, Åland, north-eastern Denmark and southern Norway. Despite its Mesolithic economy, it is by convention classed as Neolithic, since it falls within the period in which farming reached Scandinavia. It was first contemporary and overlapping with the agricultural Funnelbeaker culture, and later with the agricultural Corded Ware culture.

Rzucewo culture

The Rzucewo (also Rutzau or Bay Coast culture, German: Haffküstenkultur, 2700 BC) was a local archaeological culture of late Neolithic. It centered at the coast of the Bay of Gdansk (Danzig) and Vistula Lagoon (Frisches Haff) and extended north to the Curonian Lagoon and up to Šventoji settlement in Lithuania. It is either named after the adjacent bays, or after an archeological site in the village of Rzucewo (Rutzau) near Puck.

The Rzucewo culture was a hybrid of pre-Indo-European Narva culture, Globular Amphora culture and Corded Ware culture. Traditionally Rzucewo was identified as a variation of Corded Ware culture; however newest research suggests that the culture formed before Corded Ware. This culture specialized in exploitation of marine resources, and existed in parallel to its mother culture for some time. Rzucewo settlements, consisting of characteristic houses reinforced against sea erosion, were located along the coast and further east. The Rzucewo people had domesticated cattle, pigs, some goats, but did little cultivation and engaged in fishery and hunting, especially of seals, then numerous along the Baltic coast. The Rzucewo culture people produced and widely traded amber decorative items in specialist shops. A large number of amber artifacts was found in Juodkrantė.

Formerly, this culture was interpreted as the earliest detection of the Balts. Tracing formation of the Balts to Rzucewo culture would explain differences between Western and Eastern Balts and their languages. Typically Polish and German archeologists place the culture just on the coast, while Lithuanian and Latvian scientists extend it much further inland describing coastal settlements as a cultural and economic center and inland villages as a periphery.


The Schnidejoch is a mountain pass in the Bernese Alps, at 2,756 m (9,042 ft) above sea level, cutting across the ridge connecting the Schnidehorn and the Wildhorn.

Archaeological artifacts, their dates spread over six millennia (from the Neolithic to the Late Middle Ages), have been discovered near the pass. They suggest that the pass was in regular use as a short route across the Bernese Alps, connecting the Bernese Oberland and the Valais, throughout this period. The nearest easier passes across the massif are the Sanetschpass (2,252 m (7,388 ft)) and the Rawilpass (2,429 m (7,969 ft)), situated a short distance to the west and east, respectively.

In September 2003, Bronze Age or Neolithic artifacts were discovered at the icefield just below the pass, at ca. 2,500 m (8,200 ft). The discovery was made possible by the melting away of the formerly permanent ice field during the exceptionally hot summer of 2003.

Further searches in 2004 and 2005 yielded more than 400 objects dating to various epochs, about half of them placed by carbon dating to between 29th and the 27th centuries BC (Corded ware period). The objects include hunting weapons and clothing. A yew bow found at the site and taken home by a German tourist in 2003 was returned to the Bernese cantonal archaeologists in 2005.The 3rd millennium dates of the oldest artifacts were revised to the mid 5th millennium BC (linear pottery period) in a 2008 press release. The revised dates would establish the artifacts as older than Ötzi the Iceman.

Sintashta culture

The Sintashta culture, also known as the Sintashta-Petrovka culture or Sintashta-Arkaim culture, is a Bronze Age archaeological culture of the northern Eurasian steppe on the borders of Eastern Europe and Central Asia, dated to the period 2100–1800 BCE. The culture is named after the Sintashta archaeological site, in Chelyabinsk Oblast, Russia.

The Sintashta culture is widely regarded as the origin of the Indo-Iranian languages. The earliest known chariots have been found in Sintashta burials, and the culture is considered a strong candidate for the origin of the technology, which spread throughout the Old World and played an important role in ancient warfare. Sintashta settlements are also remarkable for the intensity of copper mining and bronze metallurgy carried out there, which is unusual for a steppe culture.

Vlaardingen culture

Vlaardingen Culture was an archaeological culture on the border of the middle and late Neolithic era in what is now the coastal region in the west of the Netherlands. Archeologists found in 1958 in Vlaardingen, a city near Rotterdam, objects from the period between 3500 BC and 2500 BC which justify the designation as a separate culture. Utensils were made of wood and bone, and polished small stone axes were found, which appear to originate from Belgium. Also needles and the remains of a primitive canoe were found.

This hunting and fishing culture was sedentary and semi-nomadic. In the old dunes at the then much further east lying coastline the remains of some peasant settlements were found. From these findings it can be deduced that animal husbandry (sheep and goats) and agriculture (wheat and barley) had been practised on a small scale. Vlaardingen culture had also traits of a Mesolithic hunter-gatherer society because agriculture in much of the Wadden Sea area and the Rhine–Meuse–Scheldt delta was difficult. Hunting and fishing were important means of livelihood. Bones found near the settlements of deer, bears, otters and sturgeon support that.Vlaardingen culture co-existed with the more land inward Funnel beaker culture to which it shows similarities and differences. Based on the pottery and the occupied environment, the Vlaardingen culture and the Funnel beaker culture seem clearly distinguishable from one another. When the Funnel beaker culture ceases to exist, the Corded Ware culture succeeds it. The Vlaardingen culture however, endures in the west (3400–2500 BC), until it is finally succeeded by the Corded Ware culture as well.

Wädenswil–Vorder Au

Wädenswil–Vorder Au is one of the 111 serial sites of the UNESCO World Heritage Site Prehistoric pile dwellings around the Alps, of which are 56 located in Switzerland.

Zvejnieki burial ground

The Zvejnieki burial ground is a Stone Age cemetery located along a drumlin on the northern shore of Lake Burtnieks in northern Latvia.

The site had been known among archaeologists since the nineteenth century. However, it was excavations led by Francis Zagorskis between 1964 and 1978 which uncovered the site. Before the discovery of a human skull in 1964, the site was used primarily for quarrying gravel. Researchers estimate that the site originally contained over 400 burials.The cemetery contains 330 burials, with roughly equal numbers of male and females. About one third of the burials are children. The principal grave goods are animal tooth pendants, occurring in both adult and child graves. A smaller number of male and female graves contain hunting and fishing equipment, including harpoons, spears, arrowheads and fish-hooks. The earliest burials are dated to the Middle Mesolithic, 8th millennium BCE, but they continue throughout the Stone Age, extending over at least four millennia.Two settlement sites have been identified close to the cemetery: Zvejnieki I (Neolithic) and Zvejnieki II (Mesolithic).


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