Linear Pottery culture

The Linear Pottery culture is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic, flourishing c. 5500–4500 BC. It is abbreviated as LBK (from German: Linearbandkeramik), and is also known as the Linear Band Ware, Linear Ware, Linear Ceramics or Incised Ware culture, and falls within the Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe.

The densest evidence for the culture is on the middle Danube, the upper and middle Elbe, and the upper and middle Rhine. It represents a major event in the initial spread of agriculture in Europe. The pottery after which it was named consists of simple cups, bowls, vases, and jugs, without handles, but in a later phase with lugs or pierced lugs, bases, and necks.[2]

Important sites include Nitra in Slovakia; Bylany in the Czech Republic; Langweiler and Zwenkau in Germany; Brunn am Gebirge in Austria; Elsloo, Sittard, Köln-Lindenthal, Aldenhoven, Flomborn, and Rixheim on the Rhine; Lautereck and Hienheim on the upper Danube; and Rössen and Sonderhausen on the middle Elbe.

Two variants of the early Linear Pottery culture are recognized:

Middle and late phases are also defined. In the middle phase, the Early Linear Pottery culture intruded upon the Bug-Dniester culture and began to manufacture musical note pottery. In the late phase, the Stroked Pottery culture moved down the Vistula and Elbe.

A number of cultures ultimately replaced the Linear Pottery culture over its range, but without a one-to-one correspondence between its variants and the replacing cultures. The culture map, instead, is complex. Some of the successor cultures are the Hinkelstein, Großgartach, Rössen, Lengyel, Cucuteni-Trypillian, and Boian-Maritza cultures.

Linear Pottery culture
Geographical rangeCentral Europe
PeriodNeolithic Europe
Datesc. 5500 BC — c. 4500 BC
Major sitesLangweiler, Bylany, Nitra, Zwenkau, Brunn am Gebirge, Elsloo, Sittard, Lindenthal, Aldenhoven, Flomborn, Rixheim, Rössen, Osłonki
Preceded byMesolithic Europe, Starčevo–Kőrös–Criș culture
Followed byHinkelstein culture, Rössen culture, Lengyel culture, Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, Boian culture
Neolithic expansion
A map showing the Neolithic expansions from the 7th to the 5th millennium BC, including the Cardium Culture in blue.
Centres of origin and spread of agriculture
Map of the world showing approximate centers of origin of agriculture and its spread in prehistory: the Fertile Crescent (11,000 BP), the Yangtze and Yellow River basins (9,000 BP) and the New Guinea Highlands (9,000–6,000 BP), Central Mexico (5,000–4,000 BP), Northern South America (5,000–4,000 BP), sub-Saharan Africa (5,000–4,000 BP, exact location unknown), eastern North America (4,000–3,000 BP).[1]
The Neolithic
Fertile Crescent
Heavy Neolithic
Shepherd Neolithic
Trihedral Neolithic
Pre-Pottery (A, B)
Qaraoun culture
Tahunian culture
Yarmukian Culture
Halaf culture
Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period
Ubaid culture
Nile valley
Faiyum A culture
Tasian culture
Merimde culture
El Omari culture
Maadi culture
Badari culture
Amratian culture
Arzachena culture
Boian culture
Butmir culture
Cardium pottery culture
Cernavodă culture
Coțofeni culture
Cucuteni-Trypillian culture
Dudeşti culture
Gorneşti culture
Gumelniţa–Karanovo culture
Hamangia culture
Linear Pottery culture
Malta Temples
Ozieri culture
Petreşti culture
San Ciriaco culture
Shulaveri-Shomu culture
Sesklo culture
Tisza culture
Tiszapolgár culture
Usatovo culture
Varna culture
Vinča culture
Vučedol culture
Neolithic Transylvania
Neolithic Southeastern Europe
Peiligang culture
Pengtoushan culture
Beixin culture
Cishan culture
Dadiwan culture
Houli culture
Xinglongwa culture
Xinle culture
Zhaobaogou culture
Hemudu culture
Daxi culture
Majiabang culture
Yangshao culture
Hongshan culture
Dawenkou culture
Songze culture
Liangzhu culture
Majiayao culture
Qujialing culture
Longshan culture
Baodun culture
Shijiahe culture
Yueshi culture
South Asia
Philippine Jade culture
Capsian culture
Savanna Pastoral Neolithic

farming, animal husbandry
pottery, metallurgy, wheel
circular ditches, henges, megaliths
Neolithic religion

Linear pottery: "The vessels are oblated globes, cut off on the top and slightly flattened on the bottom suggestive of a gourd."—Frank Hibben[2] Note the imitation of painted bands by incising the edges of the band. Stroked Ware is shown in the upper left corner.


The term "Linear Band Ware" derives from the pottery's decorative technique. The "Band Ware" or Bandkeramik part of it began as an innovation of the German archaeologist, Friedrich Klopfleisch (1831–1898).[3] The earliest generally accepted name in English was the Danubian of V. Gordon Childe. Most names in English are attempts to translate Linearbandkeramik.

Since Starčevo-Körös pottery was earlier than the LBK and was located in a contiguous food-producing region, the early investigators looked for precedents there. Much of the Starčevo-Körös pottery features decorative patterns composed of convolute bands of paint: spirals, converging bands, vertical bands, and so on. The LBK appears to imitate and often improve these convolutions with incised lines; hence the term, linear, to distinguish painted band ware from incised band ware.

Geography and chronology

Bandkeramik-Museum Schwanfeld 06
Reconstructions of Linear Pottery vessels from shards. Bandkeramik-Museum in Schwanfeld, Bavaria, Germany

The LBK did not begin with this range and only reached it toward the end of its time. It began in regions of densest occupation on the middle Danube (Bohemia, Moravia, Hungary) and spread over about 1,500 km along the rivers in 360 years. The rate of expansion was therefore about 4 km per year,[4] which can hardly be called an invasion or a wave by the standard of current events, but over archaeological time seems especially rapid.

The LBK was concentrated somewhat inland from the coastal areas; i.e., it is not evidenced in Denmark or the northern coastal strips of Germany and Poland, or the coast of the Black Sea in Romania. The northern coastal regions remained occupied by Mesolithic cultures exploiting the then fabulously rich Atlantic salmon runs. There are lighter concentrations of LBK in the Netherlands, such as at Elsloo, Netherlands, with the sites of Darion, Remicourt, Fexhe, or Waremme-Longchamps and at the mouths of the Oder and Vistula. Evidently, the Neolithics and Mesolithics were not excluding each other.

The LBK at maximum extent ranged from about the line of the SeineOise (Paris Basin) eastward to the line of the Dnieper,[5] and southward to the line of the upper Danube down to the big bend. An extension ran through the Southern Bug valley, leaped to the valley of the Dniester, and swerved southward from the middle Dniester to the lower Danube in eastern Romania, east of the Carpathians.

Johann Christian Brand 002

Danube lands near Vienna, by Johann Christian Brand, circa 1760


The Danube bend in Hungary

Elbe - flussabwärts kurz nach Ort Königstein

The Elbe

Oder Fluss

The Oder


A good many C-14 dates have been acquired on the LBK, making possible statistical analyses, which have been performed on different sample groups. One such analysis by Stadler and Lennais[6] sets 68.2% confidence limits at about 5430–5040 BC; that is, 68.2% of possible dates allowed by variation of the major factors that influence measurement, calculation, and calibration fall within that range. The 95.4% confidence interval is 5600–4750 BC.

Data continue to be acquired and therefore any one analysis should be taken as a rough guideline only. Overall, it is probably safe to say that the Linear Pottery culture spanned several hundred years of continental European prehistory in the late sixth and early fifth millennia BC, with local variations. Data from Belgium indicate a late survival of LBK there, as late as 4100 BC.[7]

The Linear Pottery culture is not the only food-producing player on the stage of prehistoric Europe. It has been necessary, therefore, to distinguish between it and the Neolithic, which was most easily done by dividing the Neolithic of Europe into chronological phases. These have varied a great deal. An approximation is:[8][9][10]

  • Early Neolithic, 6000–5500. The first appearance of food-producing cultures in the south of the future Linear Pottery culture range: the Körös of southern Hungary and the Bug-Dniester culture in Ukraine.
  • Middle Neolithic, 5500–5000. Early and Middle Linear Pottery culture.
  • Late Neolithic, 5000–4500. Late Linear Pottery and legacy cultures.

The last phase is no longer the end of the Neolithic. A "Final Neolithic" has been added to the transition between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age.[11] All numbers depend to some extent on the geographic region.

The pottery styles of the LBK allow some division of its window in time. Conceptual schemes have varied somewhat. One is:[10]

  • Early: The Eastern and Western LBK cultures, originating on the middle Danube
  • Middle: Musical Note pottery - the incised lines of the decoration are broken or terminated by punctures, or "strokes", giving the appearance of musical notes. The culture expanded to its maximum extent, and regional variants appeared. One variant is the late Bug-Dniester culture.
  • Late: Stroked pottery – lines of punctures are substituted for the incised lines.

Early or Western

The early or earliest Western Linear Pottery culture began conventionally at 5500 BC, possibly as early as 5700 BC, in western Hungary, southern Germany, Austria, and the Czech Republic.[12] It is sometimes called the Central European Linear Pottery (CELP) to distinguish it from the ALP phase of the Eastern Linear Pottery culture. The Hungarians tend to use DVK, Dunántúl Vonaldiszes Kerámia, translated as "Transdanubian Linear Pottery". A number of local styles and phases of ware are defined.[13]

The end of the early phase can be dated to its arrival in the Netherlands at about 5200 BC. The population there was already food-producing to some extent. The early phase went on there, but meanwhile the Music Note Pottery (Notenkopfkeramik) phase of the Middle Linear Band Pottery culture appeared in Austria at about 5200 and moved eastward into Romania and the Ukraine. The late phase, or Stroked Pottery culture (Stichbandkeramik or SBK, 5000–4500 BC) evolved in central Europe and went eastward.

This article includes a brief introduction to some of the features of the Western Linear Pottery culture below.


The Eastern Linear Pottery culture developed in eastern Hungary and Transylvania roughly contemporaneously with, perhaps a few hundred years after, the Transdanubian.[12] The great plain there (Hungarian Alföld) had been occupied by the Starčevo-Körös-Criş culture of "gracile Mediterraneans" from the Balkans as early as 6100 BC.[14] Hertelendi and others give a reevaluated date range of 5860–5330 for the Early Neolithic, 5950–5400 for the Körös.[15] The Körös Culture went as far north as the edge of the upper Tisza and stopped. North of it the Alföld plain and the Bükk Mountains were intensively occupied by Mesolithics thriving on the flint tool trade.

At around 5330 BC, the classical Alföld culture of the LBK appeared to the north of the Körös culture and flourished until about 4940.[16] This time also is the Middle Neolithic. The Alföld culture has been abbreviated ALV from its Hungarian name, Alföldi Vonaldíszes Kerámia, or ALP for Alföld Linear Pottery culture, the earliest variant of the Eastern Linear Pottery culture.

In one view, the AVK came "directly out of" the Körös.[8] The brief, short-ranged Szatmár group on the northern edge of the Körös culture seems transitional.[8] Some place it with the Körös, some with the AVK. The latter's pottery is decorated with white painted bands with incised edges. Körös pottery was painted.

As is presented above, however, no major population movements occurred across the border. The Körös went on into a late phase in its accustomed place, 5770–5230.[16] The late Körös is also called the Proto-Vinča, which was succeeded by the Vinča-Tordo, 5390–4960. There is no necessity to view the Körös and the AVK as closely connected. The AVK economy is somewhat different: it used cattle and swine, both of which occur wild in the region, instead of the sheep of the Balkans and Mediterranean. The percentage of wild animal bones is greater. Barley, millet and lentils were added.

Around 5100 or so, towards the end of the Middle Neolithic, the classical AVK descended into a complex of pronounced local groups called the Szakálhát-Esztár-Bükk,[8][16] which flourished about 5260–4880:

  • The Szakálhát group was located on the lower and middle Tisza and the Körös Rivers, taking the place of the previous Körös culture. Its pottery went on with the painted white bands and incised edge.
  • The Esztár group to the north featured pottery with bands painted in dark paint.
  • The Szilmeg group was located in the foothills of the Bükk Mountains.
  • The Tiszadob group was located in the Sajó Valley.
  • The Bükk group was located in the mountains.

These are all characterised by finely crafted and decorated ware. The entire group is considered by the majority of the sources listed in this article to have been in the LBK. Before the chronology and many of the sites were known, the Bükk was thought to be a major variant; in fact, Gimbutas[17] at one point believed it to be identical with the Eastern Linear Pottery culture. Since 1991, the predominance of the Alföld has come to light.

The end of the Eastern Linear Pottery culture and the LBK is less certain. The Szakálhát-Esztár-Bükk descended into another Late Neolithic legacy complex, the Tisza-Hérpály-Csöszhalom, which is either not LBK or is transitional from the LBK to the Tiszapolgar, a successor culture.


The origin of the culture must be distinguished from the origin of the people who used it.


The earliest theory of Linear Pottery culture origin is that it came from the Starčevo-Körös culture of Serbia and Hungary.[12] Supporting this view is the fact that the LBK appeared earliest about 5600–5400 BC on the middle Danube in the Starčevo range. Presumably, the expansion northwards of early Starčevo-Körös produced a local variant reaching the upper Tisza that may have well been created by contact with native epi-Paleolithic people. This small group began a new tradition of pottery, substituting engravings for the paintings of the Balkanic cultures.

A site at Brunn am Gebirge just south of Vienna seems to document the transition to LBK. The site was densely settled in a long house pattern around 5550–5200. The lower layers feature Starčevo-type plain pottery, with large number of stone tools made of material from near Lake Balaton, Hungary. Over the time frame, LBK pottery and animal husbandry increased, while the use of stone tools decreased.

A second theory proposes an autochthonous development out of the local Mesolithic cultures.[18] Although the Starčevo-Körös entered southern Hungary about 6000 BC and the LBK spread very rapidly, there appears to be a hiatus of up to 500 years[12] in which a barrier seems to have been in effect.[8][19] Moreover, the cultivated species of the near and middle eastern Neolithic do not do well over the Linear Pottery culture range. And finally, the Mesolithics in the region prior to the LBK used some domestic species, such as wheat and flax. The La Hoguette culture on the northwest of the LBK range developed their own food production from native plants and animals.

A third theory attributes the start of Linear Pottery to an influence from the Mesolithic cultures of the east European plain.[20] The pottery was used in intensive food gathering.

The rate at which it spread was no faster than the spread of the Neolithic in general. Accordingly, Dolukhanov and others postulate that an impulse from the steppe to the southeast of the barrier stimulated the Mesolithics north of it to innovate their own pottery. This view only accounts for the pottery; presumably, the Mesolithics combined it de novo with local food production, which began to spread very rapidly throughout a range that was already producing some food.


The initial LBK population theory hypothesized that the culture was spread by farmers moving up the Danube practicing slash-and-burn methods. The presence of the Mediterranean sea shell, Spondylus gaederopus, and the similarity of the pottery to gourds, which did not grow in the north, seemed to be evidence of the immigration,[21] as does the genetic evidence cited below. The lands into which they moved were believed untenanted or too sparsely populated by hunter-gatherers to be a significant factor.

The barrier causing the hiatus mentioned above does not have an immediate geographical cause. The Körös culture ended in the middle of the Hungarian plain, and although the climate to the north is colder, the gradient is not so sharp as to form a barrier there.

Genetic evidence

Genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture populations (5,500–4,900 calibrated BC) and modern Western Eurasian populations
Ancient European Neolithic farmers were genetically closest to modern Neast-Eastern/ Anatolian populations. Genetic matrilineal distances between European Neolithic Linear Pottery Culture populations (5,500–4,900 calibrated BC) and modern Western Eurasian populations.[22]

In 2005, scientists successfully sequenced mtDNA coding region 15997–16409 derived from twenty-four 7,500- to 7,000-year-old human remains associated with the LBK culture. Of those remains, 22 were from locations in Germany near the Harz Mountains and the upper Rhine Valley, while one was from Austria and one from Hungary. The scientists did not reveal the detailed hypervariable segment I (HVSI) sequences for all the samples, but identified that seven of the samples belonged to H or V branch of the mtDNA phylogenetic tree, six belonged to the N1a branch, five belonged to the T branch, four belonged to the K(U8) branch, one belonged to the J branch, and one belonged to the U3 branch. All branches are extant in the current European population, although the K branch was present in roughly twice the percentages as would be found in Europe today (15% vs. 8% now.).

Comparison of the N1a HVSI sequences with sequences of living individuals found three of them to correspond with those of individuals currently living in Europe. Two of the sequences corresponded to ancestral nodes predicted to exist or to have existed on the European branch of the phylogenetic tree. One of the sequences is related to European populations, but with no apparent descendants amongst the modern population.[23] The N1a evidence supports the notion that the descendants of LBK culture have lived in Europe for more than 7,000 years and have become an integral part of the current European population. The lack of mtDNA haplogroup U5 supports the notion that U5 at this time is uniquely associated with mesolithic European cultures.

A 2010 study of ancient DNA suggested the LBK population had affinities to modern-day populations from the Near East and Anatolia, such as an overall prevalence of G2.[24] The study also found some unique features, such as the prevalence of the now-rare Y-haplogroup H2 and mitochondrial haplogroup frequencies.[24]


Land use - spras
Slovakian loess

The LBK people settled on fluvial terraces and in the proximities of rivers. They were quick to identify regions of fertile loess. On it they raised a distinctive assemblage of crops and associated weeds in small plots, an economy that Gimbutas called a "garden type of civilization".[25] The difference between a crop and a weed in LBK contexts is the frequency. Crop foods are:

Species that are found so rarely as to warrant classification as possible weeds are:

Triticum dicoccum

Emmer wheat

Usdaeinkorn1 Triticum monococcum

Einkorn wheat

NCI snow peas


Illustration Lens culinaris0


Grand-Reng JPG02
Poppies and flax
Vasilyev wet medow
Wet meadow, by Vasiliev

The emmer and the einkorn were sometimes grown as maslin, or mixed crops. The lower-yield einkorn predominates over emmer, which has been attributed to its better resistance to heavy rain.[26] Hemp (Cannabis sativum) and flax (Linum usitatissimum) gave the LBK people the raw material of rope and cloth, which they no doubt manufactured at home as a cottage industry. From poppies (Papaver somniferum), introduced later from the Mediterranean, they may have manufactured palliative medicine.

The LBK people were stock-raisers, as well, with cattle favoured, though goats and swine are also recorded. Like farmers today, they may have used the better grain for themselves and the lower grades for the animals. The ubiquitous dogs are present here too, but scantly. Substantial wild faunal remains are found. The LBK supplemented their diets by hunting deer and wild boar in the open forests of Europe as it was then.

Demographic history

Although no significant population transfers were associated with the start of the LBK, population diffusion along the wetlands of the mature civilisation (about 5200 BC) had levelled the high percentage of the rare gene sequence mentioned above by the late LBK. The population was much greater by then, a phenomenon termed the Neolithic demographic transition (NDT). According to Bocquet-Appel[27] beginning from a stable population of "small connected groups exchanging migrants" among the "hunter-gatherers and horticulturalists" the LBK experienced an increase in birth rate caused by a "reduction in the length of the birth interval". The author hypothesizes a decrease in the weaning period made possible by division of labor. At the end of the LBK, the NDT was over and the population growth disappeared due to an increase in the mortality rate, caused, the author speculates, by new pathogens passed along by increased social contact.

The new population was sedentary up to the capacity of the land, and then the excess population moved to less-inhabited land. An in-depth GIS study by Ebersbach and Schade of an 18-km² region in the wetlands region of Wetterau, Hesse, traces the land use in detail and discovers the limiting factor.[28] In the study region, 82% of the land is suitable for agriculture, 11% for grazing (even though wetland), and 7% steep slopes. The investigators found that the LBK occupied this land for about 400 years. They began with 14 settlements, 53 houses, and 318 people, using the wetlands for cattle pasture. Settlement gradually spread over the wetlands, reaching a maximum of 47 settlements, 122 houses, and 732 people in the late period. At that time, all the available grazing land was in use.

Toward the end, the population suddenly dropped to initial levels, though much of the arable land was still available. The investigators concluded cattle were the main economic interest and available grazing land was the limiting factor in settlement. The Neolithic of the Middle East featured urban concentrations of people subsisting mainly on grain. Beef and dairy products, however, were the mainstay of LBK diet. When the grazing lands were all in use, they moved elsewhere in search of them. As the relatively brief window of the LBK falls roughly in the centre of the Atlantic climate period, a maximum of temperature and rainfall, a conclusion that the spread of wetlands at that time encouraged the growth and spreading of the LBK is to some degree justified.

Material culture

Tool kit

The tool kit was appropriate to the economy. Flint and obsidian were the main materials used for points and cutting edges.[29] There is no sign of metal. For example, they harvested with sickles manufactured by inserting flint blades into the inside of curved pieces of wood. One tool, the "shoe-last celt", was made of a ground stone chisel blade tied to a handle,[30] with shape and wear showing that they were used as adzes to fell trees and to work wood. Augurs were made of flint points tied to sticks that could be rotated. Scrapers and knives are found in abundance. The use of flint pieces, or microliths, descended from the Mesolithic, while the ground stone is characteristic of the Neolithic.

These materials are evidence both of specialization of labor and commerce. The flint used came from southern Poland; the obsidian came from the Bükk and Tatra mountains. Settlements in those regions specialized in mining and manufacture. The products were exported to all the other LBK regions, which must have had something to trade. This commerce is a strong argument for an ethnic unity between the scattered pockets of the culture.

20161001 Kurtkowiec i Czerwone Stawy Gąsienicowe 1730

West Tatra Mountains: Note the wet meadows and the stone.

Slovakia-West Tatras-Rohace 6

Western Tatras, Slovakia





Settlement patterns

The unit of residence was the long house, a rectangular structure, 5.5 to 7.0 m wide, of variable length; for example, a house at Bylany was 45 m. Outer walls were wattle-and-daub, sometimes alternating with split logs, with slanted, thatched roofs, supported by rows of poles, three across.[31] The exterior wall of the home was solid and massive, oak posts being preferred. Clay for the daub was dug from pits near the house, which were then used for storage. Extra posts at one end may indicate a partial second story. Some LBK houses were occupied for as long as 30 years.[32]

It is thought that these houses had no windows and only one doorway. The door was located at one end of the house. Internally, the house had one or two partitions creating up to three areas. Interpretations of the use of these areas vary. Working activities might be carried out in the better lit door end, the middle used for sleeping and eating and the end farthest from the door could have been used for grain storage. According to other view, the interior was divided in areas for sleeping, common life and a fenced enclosure at the back end for keeping animals.[32]

Ditches went along part of the outer walls, especially at the enclosed end. Their purpose is not known, but they probably are not defensive works, as they were not much of a defense. More likely, the ditches collected waste water and rain water. A large house with many people and animals would have had to have a drainage system. One can conceive of a smelly end, where the animals and latrines were located, and a domestic end.

Trash was regularly removed and placed in external pits. The waste-producing work, such as hide preparation and flint-working, was done outside the house.

Long houses were gathered into villages of five to eight houses, spaced about 20 m apart, occupying 300–1250 acres. Nearby villages formed settlement cells, some as dense as 20 per 25 km², others as sparse as one per 32 km².[31] This structuring of settlements does not support a view that the LBK population had no social structure, or was anarchic. However, the structure remains obscure and interpretational. One long house may have supported one extended family, but the short lifespan would have precluded more than two generations. The houses required too much labor to be the residences of single families; consequently, communal houses are postulated.[32] Though the known facts are tantalizing, the correct social interpretation of the layout of a long house and the arrangement of villages will have to wait for clearer evidence. At least some villages were fortified for some time with a palisade and outer ditch.[33]

Excavations at Oslonki in Poland revealed a large, fortified settlement (dating to 4300 BC, i. e., Late LBK), covering an area of 4,000 m². Nearly 30 trapezoidal longhouses and over 80 graves make it one of the richest such settlements in archaeological finds from all of central Europe. The rectangular longhouses were between 7 and 45 meters long and between 5 and 7 meters wide. They were built of massive timber posts chinked with wattle and daub mortar.[34][35]

Easy access to fresh water also would have been mandatory, which is another reason why settlements were in bottom lands near water. A number of wells from the times have been discovered, with a log-cabin type lining constructed one layer at a time as the previous layers sank into the well.[36][37]

An earlier view saw the Linear Pottery culture as living a "peaceful, unfortified lifestyle".[38] Since then, settlements with palisades and weapon-traumatized bones have been discovered, such as at Herxheim,[39] which, whether the site of a massacre or of a martial ritual, demonstrates, "...systematic violence between groups". Most of the known settlements, however, left no trace of violence. In 2015 a study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences details the findings of researchers at a site near Schöneck-Kilianstädten, who "found the skeletons of 26 adults and children, who were killed by devastating strikes to the head or arrow wounds. The skull fractures are classic signs of blunt force injuries caused by basic stone age weapons."[40][41]

Pottery has been found in long houses, as well as in graves. Analysis of the home pottery reveals that each house had its own tradition. The occurrence of pottery primarily in female graves indicates the women of the long house probably made the pottery; in fact, lineages have been defined. Gimbutas goes so far as to assert, "The indirect results indicate an endogamous, matrilocal residence."[42]


As is true of all prehistoric cultures, the details of actual belief systems maintained by the Linear Pottery culture population are poorly understood relative to beliefs and religions of historical periods. The extent to which prehistoric beliefs formed a systematic religious canon is also the subject of some debate. Nevertheless, comparative, detailed, scientific study of cultural artifacts and iconography has led to the proposal of models.

The mother goddess model is the major one applied to the Neolithic of the middle and near east, the civilization of the Aegean and Europe. The iconography was inherited from the Palaeolithic. The Gravettian culture introduced it into the range of the future LBK from western Asia and south Russia.[43] From there, it diffused throughout Europe in the Upper Palaeolithic, which was inhabited by Cro-Magnon man and was responsible for many works of art, such as the Venus of Willendorf.[44]

With the transition to the Neolithic, "the female principle continued to predominate the cultures that had grown up around the mysterious processes of birth and generation."[45] The LBK, therefore, did not bring anything new spiritually to Europe, nor was the cult in any way localized to Europe. It is reflected in the vase paintings, figurines, graves and grave goods, and surviving customs and myths of Europe. In the north, the goddess could manifest herself as the mistress of animals, grain, distaff and loom, household, and life and death.[46]

The works of the noted late archaeologist Marija Gimbutas present a major study of the iconography and surviving beliefs of the European Neolithic, including the Linear Pottery culture. She was able to trace the unity of reproductive themes in cultural objects previously unsuspected of such themes. For example, the burial pits of the Linear Pottery culture, which were lined with stone, clay, or plaster, may have been intended to represent eggs. The deceased returns to the egg, so to speak, there to await rebirth.[47]

The presence of such pits contemporaneously with the burial of women and children under the floors of houses suggests a multiplicity of religious convictions, as does the use of both cremation and inhumation. Some of the figurines are not of females, but are androgynous. Perhaps the beliefs of Europeans of any culture always were complex.[48]

Funerary customs

The early Neolithic in Europe featured burials of women and children under the floors of personal residences. Remains of adult males are missing. Probably, Neolithic culture featured sex discrimination in funerary customs, and women and children were important in ideology concerning the home.[49]

Burials beneath the floors of homes continued until about 4000 BC. However, in the Balkans and central Europe, the cemetery also came into use at about 5000 BC. LBK cemeteries contained from 20 to 200 graves arranged in groups that appear to have been based on kinship. Males and females of any age were included. Both cremation and inhumation were practiced. The inhumed were placed in a flexed position in pits lined with stones, plaster, or clay. Cemeteries were close to, but distinct from, residential areas.

The presence of grave goods indicates both a sex and a dominance discrimination. Male graves included stone celts, flint implements, and money or jewelry of Spondylus shells. Female graves contained many of the same artifacts as male graves, but also most of the pottery and containers of ochre. The goods have been interpreted as gifts to the departed or personal possessions.

Only about 30% of the graves have goods. This circumstance probably rightly has been interpreted as some sort of distinction in dominance, but the exact nature is not known. If the goods were gifts, then some were more honored than others; if they were possessions, then some were wealthier than others.

These practices are contrasted to mass graves, such as the Talheim Death Pit and the Herxheim archeological site.


  1. ^ Diamond, J.; Bellwood, P. (2003). "Farmers and Their Languages: The First Expansions". Science. 300 (5619): 597–603. Bibcode:2003Sci...300..597D. CiteSeerX doi:10.1126/science.1078208. PMID 12714734.
  2. ^ a b Hibben, page 121.
  3. ^ Klopfleisch (1882), Die Grabhügel von Leubingen, Sömmerda und Nienstädt, in the Voraufgehend: allgemeine Einleitung, section entitled Charakteristik und Zeitfolge der Keramik. Brief recognition of his authorship is given in English by Fagan, Brian Murray (1996), The Oxford Companion to Archaeology, Oxford University Press, ISBN 0-19-507618-4 page 84.
  4. ^ Dolukhanov under External links, Models. The numbers are stated in the abstract. Note that figures such as this although true given the parameters depend on data that was selected by the investigator and are best regarded as approximations.
  5. ^ Gaskevych, Dmytro. (2006). "Vita-Poshtova 2 — New The Easternmost Site of The Linear Band Pottery Culture". Sprawozdania Archeologiczne, Vol. 58, pp. 205–221.
  6. ^ External links, Dates below
  7. ^ See the article The Interaction Between Early Farmers and Indigenous People in Central Belgium included under External links, People below.
  8. ^ a b c d e KRAP (2007) under External Links, Places.
  9. ^ Hertelendi and others (1995) under External links, Places, especially page 242.
  10. ^ a b Gimbutas (1991) pages 35–45.
  11. ^ [1] Archived 4 February 2007 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ a b c d Baldia (2006) The Earliest Bandkeramik..
  13. ^ This article does not have space for all the names, but they can for the most part be found in the sources.
  14. ^ Baldia (2003) Starcevo-Koros-Cris under External links, Places.
  15. ^ External links, Places. These numbers are their 1σ range. For the tolerances, see the article.
  16. ^ a b c Hertelendi and others, External links, Places.
  17. ^ 1991 pages 43–46
  18. ^ Price, pages 13–16, gives an overview of the theory's development.
  19. ^ The article by Kertész covers the research on the area and the concepts of hiatus and barrier.
  20. ^ Dolukhanov and others (2005) pages 1453–1457.
  21. ^ Clark & Piggott, pages 240–246.
  22. ^ Consortium, the Genographic; Cooper, Alan (9 November 2010). "Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities". PLOS Biology. 8 (11): 1–20. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536. ISSN 1545-7885.
  23. ^ Haak, Wolfgang et al, Ancient DNA from the first European Farmers in 7,500-Year-Old Neolithic Sites, Vol. 310, Science, November 11, 2005, page 1018
  24. ^ a b Haak, Wolfgang (9 November 2010). "Ancient DNA from European Early Neolithic Farmers Reveals Their Near Eastern Affinities". PLOS Biology. 8 (11): e1000536. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1000536. PMC 2976717. PMID 21085689.
  25. ^ Gimbutas (1991) page 38.
  26. ^ The crop and weed information is indebted to Kreuz and others, cited under External links, Economy.
  27. ^ 2002, External links, People.
  28. ^ 2003, under External links, Economy.
  29. ^ A brief discussion of tools is to be found in Gimbutas (1991) page 39, and a fuller presentation with pictures of the tool kit in Lodewijckx & Bakels (2005) under External links, People.
  30. ^ R. Elburg, W. Hein, A. Probst and P. Walter, Field Trials in Neolithic Woodworking – (Re)Learning to Use Early Neolithic Stone Adzes. Experimental Archaeology, Issue 2015/2
  31. ^ a b The numbers are from Gimbutas (1991) pages 39–41. However, they are approximately the same as the numbers given by other researchers and can therefore be taken as true measurements within a tolerance.
  32. ^ a b c Marciniak, Chapter 1.
  33. ^ Krause (1998) under External links, places.
  34. ^ "Archaeological Research at Oslonki, Poland". Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  35. ^ "Linearbandkeramik Culture - The First Farmers of Europe". 17 January 2013. Retrieved 23 April 2013.
  36. ^ Baldia (2000) The Oldest Dated Well under External links, People, describes an LBK well.
  37. ^ Tegel W, Elburg R, Hakelberg D, Stäuble H, Büntgen U (2012). "Early Neolithic Water Wells Reveal the World's Oldest Wood Architecture PLoS ONE 7(12): e51374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051374". PLOS ONE. 7 (12): e51374. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051374.
  38. ^ Gimbutas (1991) page 143.
  39. ^ Orschiedt (2006) under External links, Places.
  40. ^ Mass grave reveals prehistoric warfare in ancient European farming community
  41. ^ The massacre mass grave of Schöneck-Kilianstädten reveals new insights into collective violence in Early Neolithic Central Europe
  42. ^ 1991 page 331.
  43. ^ James Chapter 1 page 13.
  44. ^ James pages 20–22.
  45. ^ James, page 22.
  46. ^ The reader may find a thorough recapitulation in Davidson (1998), whose chapter titles the above list repeats; however, the topic has received attention from many noted scholars and writers.
  47. ^ The works of Gimbutas listed in the Bibliography are sufficient to give the reader an overall view of her study. However, those interested in an immediately available comprehensive view from a Gimbutas supporter may access Marler (2005) under External links, Models.
  48. ^ An outstanding advocacy of complexity can be found in Hayden (1998) cited under External links, Models. Hayden discovers some of the limitations of Gimbutas' thought. His view was answered in detail in Marler (1999), External links, Models. The reader should be aware that all of Gimbutas' career was surrounded by controversy, perhaps fueled by sexist allegations and counter-allegations. Nevertheless Marler and Hayden are professionals with something valuable to contribute, as are Renfrew and other protagonists of Gimbutas' ongoing debates.
  49. ^ This section is heavily indebted to Gimbutas (1991) pages 331–332.


  • Braidwood, Robert, Prehistoric men, William Morrow and Company, many editions
  • Childe, Vere Gordon (1951). Man Makes Himself. New York: the New American Library (a Mentor Book).
  • Christensen, Jonas (2004). "Warfare in the European Neolithic". Acta Archaeologica. 75 (142, 144, 136): 129. doi:10.1111/j.0065-001X.2004.00014.x.
  • Clark, Grahame; Piggott, Stuart (1967). Prehistoric Societies. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. ISBN 978-0-14-021149-8.
  • Davidson, Hilda Ellis (1998). Roles of the Northern Goddess. Routledge. ISBN 978-0-415-13610-5.
  • Ehrich, Robert W., Editor (1965). Chronologies in Old World Archaeology. Chicago and London: The University of Chicago Press. ISBN 978-0-226-19445-5.CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link) CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1982). The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe 6500–3500 BC: Myths and Cult Images: New and Updated Edition. Berkeley, Los Angeles: University of California Press. p. 27. ISBN 978-0-520-04655-9.
  • Gimbutas, Marija (1991). The Civilization of the Goddess: The World of Old Europe. San Francisco: HarperCollins Publishers (HarperSanFrancisco). ISBN 978-0-06-250368-8.
  • Hawkes, Jacquetta (1965). Prehistory. New York: the New American Library (a Mentor Book).
  • Hibben, Frank (1958). Prehistoric Man in Europe. Norman, Oklahoma: University of Oklahoma Press.
  • James, E.O. (1994). The Cult of the Mother-Goddess. New York: Barnes&Noble. ISBN 978-1-56619-600-0.
  • Kertész, Róbert (2002). "Mesolithic Hunter-Gatherers in the Northwestern Part of the Great Hungarian Plain" (PDF). Praehistoria. 3. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007.
  • Mallory, J.P. (1997). "Linear Band Ware Culture". Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture. Fitzroy Dearborn.
  • Marciniak, Arkadiusz (2005). Placing Animals in the Neolithic: Social Zooarchaeology of Prehistoric Farming Communities. Routledge Cavendish. ISBN 978-1-84472-092-7.
  • Renfrew, Colin (1990). Archaeology and Language : The Puzzle of Indo-European Origins. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-38675-3.
  • Stäuble, Harald (2005). Häuser und absolute Datierung der Ältesten Bandkeramik. Habelt.

External links

Below are some relevant links to sites publishing current research or recapitulating recent thinking concerning the Neolithic of Europe. Many of the sites referenced contain links to other sites not mentioned here.



  • Dolukhanov, Pavel; Shukurov, Anvar (2003). "Modelling the Neolithic Dispersal in Northern Eurasia" (PDF). Documenta Praehistorica XXXI. Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 September 2007.
  • Hayden, Brian (1998). "An Archaeological Evaluation of the Gimbutas Paradigm". The Virtual Pomegranate (6).
  • Marler, Joan (1999). "A Response to Brian Hayden's article". The Virtual Pomegranate (10).





  1. ^ Liverani, Mario (2013). The Ancient Near East: History, Society and Economy. Routledge. p. 13, Table 1.1 "Chronology of the Ancient Near East". ISBN 9781134750917.
  2. ^ a b Shukurov, Anvar; Sarson, Graeme R.; Gangal, Kavita (7 May 2014). "The Near-Eastern Roots of the Neolithic in South Asia". PLOS ONE. 9 (5): 1-20 and Appendix S1. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0095714. ISSN 1932-6203.
  3. ^ Bar-Yosef, Ofer; Arpin, Trina; Pan, Yan; Cohen, David; Goldberg, Paul; Zhang, Chi; Wu, Xiaohong (29 June 2012). "Early Pottery at 20,000 Years Ago in Xianrendong Cave, China". Science. 336 (6089): 1696–1700. doi:10.1126/science.1218643. ISSN 0036-8075.
  4. ^ Thorpe, I. J. (2003). The Origins of Agriculture in Europe. Routledge. p. 14. ISBN 9781134620104.
  5. ^ Price, T. Douglas (2000). Europe's First Farmers. Cambridge University Press. p. 3. ISBN 9780521665728.
  6. ^ Jr, William H. Stiebing; Helft, Susan N. (2017). Ancient Near Eastern History and Culture. Routledge. p. 25. ISBN 9781134880836.
Aue (Suhle)

The Aue (German: Aue or Aue Bach) is a meandering stream in Lower Saxony, Germany.

The Aue source is near Waake. It enters the Seeburger See near Seeburg and drains it at Bernshausen. A mere creek, it is not navigable. It is a left (west) tributary of the Suhle in Germershausen, part of Rollshausen. The elevation at the mouth is about 157 m asl. There are a number of small neolithic Linear Pottery culture settlements along its banks.

Breitenbach (archaeological site)

The archaeological site near the village of Breitenbach in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany is an important open-air settlement that dates to the period of initial colonization of Europe by anatomically modern humans. The occupations date to the early Upper Palaeolithic and more specifically belong to the Aurignacian cultural complex. Breitenbach is currently the biggest open-air settlement site in western Eurasia dating to this time period. Overlying the Palaleolithic deposits are the remains of a younger settlement that has been dated to the Neolithic.

Bylany (archaeological site)

Bylany is a Danubian Neolithic settlement located around 65 km (40 mi) east of Prague in the Czech region of Bohemia. Excavation began in 1956 and work continues today.

It covered a large area of around 6,500 square metres and was primarily occupied during the fifth millennium BC. Successive long houses were rarely placed on top of or overlapping each other, and archaeologists were able to excavate the site and easily identify around 130 buildings which could be attributed to 25 successive phases, each lasting a presumed 20 years or so and in 3 distinct focal areas. This works out at around ten contemporary long houses at any one time. At least four periods of hiatus or abandonment of settlement have also been suggested. The settlement was associated with two rondel enclosures.

This intact phasing has been invaluable in analysing the emergence of the Linearbandkeramic culture as more than 100,000 pottery fragments have been recovered.

Bükk culture

Bükk culture (Hungarian: Bükki kultúra, Slovak: Bukovohorská kultúra, Ukrainian: Буковогірська культура) may have belonged to a dense pocket of Cro-magnon type people inhabiting the Bükk mountains of Hungary (inner western Carpathians) and the upper Tisza and its tributaries. The surrounding Neolithic was mainly of a more gracile Mediterranean type, with a Cro-magnon admixture as another possibility. As to whether the Cro-magnons were a remnant squeezed into this pocket, there is no sign of conflict there and the Cro-magnons were doing rather well in the obsidian trade. They were, so to speak, the wealthy men of the European Neolithic.

The Cro-magnons did acquire the Neolithic from the Starčevo culture to the south. In the Szatmár culture prior to 5500 BC, the Cro-magnons modified their Mesolithic ways and took on Starcevan artifact types and pottery styles, and the same can be said of the succeeding Tiszadob culture of roughly 5200-5000. By 5000 the LBK had replaced the Starcevo in the surrounding region and it influenced the Cro-magnons in the Bükk culture.

Bükk pottery is the finest ware of the LBK. It has a larger variety of forms: tall stands, jars with feet, globular bowls, and so on. Their fabric is tempered with sand, as opposed to the chaff of the western LBK. The walls of the pots are thin and delicate. Decoration consists of LBK patterns composed of bands that are both painted and engraved with fine lines. Colors are white, red and yellow, just the ones to brighten and make warm a successful household. The patterns are more complex, more regular and evidence more care in their execution. Some of the patterns are probably symbols. The Cro-magnons also owned abstract human figurines, in which geometric forms represent people. These are covered with symbols.

The source of Bükk culture wealth is the fine obsidian of which the mountains are an abundant source. The Cro-magnons probably encouraged each other to settle there and take up the ethnic trade. Workshops for the manufacture of obsidian tools are common. They are identified by the hundreds of tools littering the floor of the site, which must have been a shed. These workshops were near homes. They probably represent a family business. In some cases jars of knives stand ready for export. The knives are sorted by size. An abundance of spondylus shells in the graves suggests that this collectible was used for currency. Their ultimate source was the Mediterranean. These Cro-magnons, as opposed to the Mesolithics of the Atlantic coast, are probably best regarded as men of the world, dominating the market for stone tools from their mountain retreats.

The Bükk people lived a very different life from the residents of the long houses. Bükk homes are individual and rectangular, a few meters wide and about twice as long. Many are dug into the earth as wholly or partly subterranean. Others are wholly above ground, wattle and daub construction. The Bükk people sited their homes on hills, slopes, or in ravines. They used caves for sacred purposes, but may have lived there as well.

When not engaged in manufacture and trade, the Bükk people shared the same garden economy as the western variant. To the light game of the open forests they added the fierce aurochs. When death came they buried the deceased in the village, sometimes under the house. Such a custom implies a belief in spiritual continuity and lends to the family a dimension in time as well as space. In the village resided simultaneously both the living family and the spirits of their deceased.

Danubian culture

The term Danubian culture was coined by the Australian archaeologist Vere Gordon Childe to describe the first agrarian society in central and eastern Europe. It covers the Linear Pottery culture (Linearbandkeramik, LBK), stroked pottery and Rössen cultures.

The beginning of the Linear Pottery culture dates to around 5500 BC. It appears to have spread westwards along the valley of the river Danube and interacted with the cultures of Atlantic Europe when they reached the Paris Basin.

Danubian I peoples cleared forests and cultivated fertile loess soils from the Balkans to the Low Countries and the Paris Basin. They made LBK pottery and kept domesticated cows, pigs, dogs, sheep and goats. The characteristic tool of the culture is the shoe-last celt, a kind of long thin stone adze which was used to fell trees and sometimes as a weapon, evidenced by the skulls found at Talheim, Neckar in Germany and Schletz in Austria. Settlements consisted of longhouses. According to a theory by Eduard Sangmeister, these settlements were abandoned, possibly as fertile land was exhausted, and then reoccupied perhaps when the land had lain fallow for long enough. In contrast, Peter Modderman and Jens Lüning believe the settlements were constantly inhabited, with individual families using specific plots (Hofplätze). They also imported spondylus shells from the Mediterranean.

A second wave of the culture, which used painted pottery with Asiatic influences, superseded the first phase starting around 4500 BC. This was followed by a third wave which used stroke-ornamented ware.

Danubian sites include those at Bylany in Bohemia and Köln-Lindenthal in Germany.

In Marija Gimbutas's speculative model of European prehistory, the Danubian culture forms the core of what she calls Old Europe, which she envisions as a relatively advanced matrilineal and "gynocentric" civilisation speaking Pre-Indo-European languages, which was eventually overrun by patriarchal invaders from the steppe, which she identifies with the Proto-Indo-European Kurgan 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".

Ertebølle culture

The Ertebølle culture (ca 5300 BC – 3950 BC) (Danish pronunciation: [ˈæɐ̯təˌpølə]) is the name of a hunter-gatherer and fisher, pottery-making culture dating to the end of the Mesolithic period. The culture was concentrated in Southern Scandinavia, but genetically linked to strongly related cultures in Northern Germany and the Northern Netherlands. It is named after the type site, a location in the small village of Ertebølle on Limfjorden in Danish Jutland. In the 1890s, the National Museum of Denmark excavated heaps of oyster shells there, mixed with mussels, snails, bones and bone, antler and flint artifacts, which were evaluated as kitchen middens (Danish køkkenmødding), or refuse dumps. Accordingly, the culture is less commonly named the Kitchen Midden. As it is approximately identical to the Ellerbek culture of Schleswig-Holstein, the combined name, Ertebølle-Ellerbek is often used. The Ellerbek culture (German Ellerbek Kultur) is named after a type site in Ellerbek, a community on the edge of Kiel, Germany.

In the 1960s and 1970s another closely related culture was found in the (now dry) Noordoostpolder in the Netherlands, near the village Swifterbant and the former island of Urk. Named the Swifterbant culture (5300 – 3400 BC) they show a transition from hunter-gatherer to both animal husbandry, primarily cows and pigs, and cultivation of barley and emmer wheat. During the formative stages contact with nearby Linear Pottery culture settlements in Limburg has been detected. Like the Ertebølle culture, they lived near open water, in this case creeks, riverdunes and bogs along post-glacial banks of the Overijsselse Vecht. Recent excavations show a local continuity going back to (at least) 5600 BC, when burial practices resembled the contemporary gravefields in Denmark and South Sweden "in all details", suggesting only part of a diverse ancestral "Ertebølle"-like heritage was locally continued into the later (Middle Neolithic) Swifterbant tradition (4200 – 3400 BC).

The Ertebølle culture was roughly contemporaneous with the Linear Pottery culture, food-producers whose northernmost border was located just to the south. The Ertebølle did not practice agriculture but it did utilize domestic grain in some capacity, which it must have obtained from the south.

The Ertebølle culture replaced the earlier Kongemose culture of Denmark. It was limited to the north by the Scandinavian Nøstvet and Lihult cultures. It is divided into an early phase ca 5300 BC-ca 4500 BC, and a later phase ca 4500 BC-3950 BC. Shortly after 4100 BC the Ertebølle began to expand along the Baltic coast at least as far as Rügen. Shortly thereafter it was replaced by the Funnelbeaker culture.

In recent years archaeologists have found the acronym EBK most convenient, parallel to LBK for German Linearbandkeramik (Linear Pottery culture) and TRB for German Trichterbecher, Danish Tragtbæger (Funnelbeaker culture) and Dutch trechterbekercultuur. Ostensibly for Ertebølle Kultur, EBK could be either German or Danish and has the added advantage that Ellerbek also begins with E.

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.

Herxheim (archaeological site)

The archaeological site of Herxheim, located in the municipality of Herxheim in southwest Germany, was a ritual center and a mass grave formed by people of the Linear Pottery culture (LBK) culture in Neolithic Europe. The site is often compared to that of the Talheim Death Pit and Schletz-Asparn, but is quite different in nature. The site dates from between 5300 and 4950 BC.


Hoe-farming is a term introduced (as German: Hackbau; as opposed to Ackerbau) by Eduard Hahn in 1910

to collectively refer to primitive forms of agriculture, defined by the absence of the plough. Tillage in hoe-farming cultures is done by simple manual tools such as

digging sticks or hoes.

Hoe-farming is the earliest form of agriculture practiced in the Neolithic Revolution.

Early forms of the plough (ard) were introduced throughout the Near East (Naqada II) and Europe (Linear Pottery culture) by the 5th to 4th millennium BC.

The invention spread throughout Greater Persia and parts of Central Asia, reaching East Asia in the 2nd millennium BC (Chinese Bronze Age).The parts of the world where agriculture was introduced but not the plough (in the case of the New World up to the introduction of plough-farming with European colonization) were named the hoe-cultivation belt (Hackbaugürtel) by Hahn (1914), followed by Werth (1954).

The Hoe-cultivation belt is mostly located in tropical latitudes, including Sub-Saharan Africa (but not the Horn of Africa, where the plough appears to have been introduced

via Egypt), the Indian subcontinent, Maritime Southeast Asia, and the pre-Columbian Americas.Hoe-farming often coincides with long fallow systems and shifting cultivation, The split hoe, (also known as prong hoes, tined hoes or bent forks) are hoes that have two or more tines at right angles to the shaft. Their use is typically to loosen the soil, prior to planting or sowing. It points out that the ability to cultivate effectively at small row distances. Split hoeing, contrasted to permanent plough-based cultivation systems and the intensification of agriculture. Hoe-farming may contain slash and burn clearance techniques, but they are not strictly necessary. It is usually embedded in the logic of subsistence agriculture.

Langweiler (archaeological site)

Langweiler is an archaeological site situated in the Merzbach Valley on the Aldenhovener Plateau of western Germany. Systematic excavations have revealed evidence of 160 houses from eight distinct settlement sites, plus three enclosures and a cemetery, belonging to the period 5300-4900 BC. The site is a key region for understanding the nature of the earliest farming societies in west-central Europe (Bandkeramik era).

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.

Neolithic circular enclosures in Central Europe

Approximately 120–150 Neolithic earthworks enclosures are known in Central Europe.

They are called Kreisgrabenanlagen ("circular ditched enclosures") in German, or alternatively as roundels (or "rondels"; German Rondelle; sometimes also "rondeloid", since many are not even approximately circular). They are mostly confined to the Elbe and Danube basins, in modern-day Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, Slovakia, as well as the adjacent parts of Hungary and Poland, in a stretch of Central European land some 800 km (500 mi) across.

They date to the first half of the 5th millennium BC; they are associated with the late Linear Pottery culture and its local successors, the Stroke-ornamented ware (Middle Danubian) and Lengyel (Moravian Painted Ware) cultures. The best known and oldest of these Circular Enclosures is the Goseck circle, constructed c. 4900 BC.

Only a few examples approximate a circular form; the majority are only very approximately circular or elliptic. One example at Meisternthal is an exact ellipse with identifiable focal points.

The distribution of these structures seems to suggest a spread from the middle Danube (southern Slovakia and western Hungary) towards the west (Lower Austria, Lower Bavaria) along the Danube and to the northwest (Moravia, Bohemia, Saxony-Anhalt) following the Elbe.

They precede the comparable circular earthwork or timber enclosures known from Great Britain and Ireland, constructed much later during c. 3000 to 1000 BC (late Neolithic to Bronze Age).

But, by contrast to the long lifetime of the "Megalithic" culture, the time window during which the

neolithic Roundels were in use is surprisingly narrow, lasting only for about 200–300 years (roughly 49th to 47th centuries BC).The earliest roundel to be described was the one at Krpy (Kropáčova Vrutice), Bohemia, by Woldřich 1886, but it was only with systematic aerial survey in the 1980s and the 1990s that their ubiquity in the region became apparent.

Three types have been distinguished:

two semicircular ditches forming a circle and separated by causeways at opposing entrances.

multiple circuits of ditches interrupted with entrances at cardinal or astronomically-oriented points and also having an internal single or double timber palisade.

a single ring ditch.The structures are mostly interpreted as having served a cultic purpose.

Most of them are aligned and seem to have served the function of a calendar (Kalenderbau), in the context of archaeoastronomy sometimes dubbed "observatory", with openings aligned with the points sunrise and/or sunset at the solstices. This is the case with the "gates" or openings of the roundels of Quenstedt, Goseck and Quedlinburg.

The observational determination of the time of solstice would not have served a practical (agricultural) purpose, but could have been used to maintain a lunisolar calendar (i.e. knowledge of the date of solstice allows an accurate handling of intercalary months).Known Circular Enclosures:

in Slovakia (Ivan Kuzma 2004): about 50 candidate sites from aerial surveys, not all of which are expected to date to the Neolithic. There are 15 known neolithic (Lengyel) sites. The largest of these are (with outer diameters of more than 100 m): Svodín 2 (140 m), Demandice (120 m), Bajtava (175 m), Horné Otrokovce (150 m), Podhorany-Mechenice (120 m), Cífer 127 m, Golianovo (210 m), Žitavce (145 m), Hosťovce (250–300 m), Prašník (175 m). others: Borovce, Bučany, Golianovo, Kľačany, Milanovce, Nitrianský Hrádok, Ružindol-Borová

in Hungary: Aszód, Polgár-Csőszhalom, Sé, Vokány, Szemely-Hegyes

in the Czech Republic (Jaroslav Ridky 2004): 15 known sites, all dated to the late Stroked pottery (Stk IVA). Běhařovice, Borkovany, Bulhary, Krpy, Křepice, Mašovice, Němčičky, Rašovice, Těšetice, Vedrovice

in Austria (Doneus et al. 2004): 47 known sites with diameters between 40 and 180 m. Lower Austria: Asparn an der Zaya, Altruppersdorf, Altruppersdorf, Au am Leithagebirge, Friebritz (2 sites), Gauderndorf, Glaubendorf (2 sites), Gnadendorf, Göllersdorf, Herzogbirbaum, Hornsburg, Immendorf, Kamegg, Karnabrunn, Kleedorf, Kleinrötz, Michelstetten, Moosbierbaum, Mühlbach am Manhartsberg, Oberthern, Perchtoldsdorf, Plank am Kamp, Porrau, Pottenbrunn, Pranhartsberg, Puch, Rosenburg, Schletz, Simonsfeld, Statzendorf, Steinabrunn, Stiefern, Straß im Straßertale, Strögen, Velm, Wetzleinsdorf, Wilhelmsdorf, Winden, Würnitz. Upper Austria: Ölkam.

in Poland:

Biskupin (Wielkopolska)

Bodzów, Rąpice [2][3]

Pietrowice Wielkie (Śląsk)

Nowe Objezierze (Pomorze)

Drzemlikowice (Dolny Śląsk)

in Germany

Saxony Anhalt (Ralf Schwarz 2004): Quenstedt, Goseck, Kötschlitz, Quedlinburg, outer diameters between 72 and 110 m.

Saxony: Dresden-Nickern (3 sites), Eythra (2 sites), Neukyhna (3 sites)

Bavaria: Lower Bavaria: Eching-Viecht, Künzing-Unternberg, Meisternthal, Moosburg an der Isar-Kirchamper, Oberpöring-Gneiding, Osterhofen-Schmiedorf (2 sites), Stephansposching Wallerfing-Ramsdorf, Zeholfing-Kothingeichendorf; Upper Bavaria: Penzberg

Nordrhein-Westfalen: Borchum-Harpen, Warburg-Daseburg

Niedersachsen: Müsleringen

Franconia: Hopferstadt, Ippesheim

Brandenburg: Bochow, Quappendorf

Rheinland-Pfalz: Goloring

Neolithic long house

The Neolithic long house was a long, narrow timber dwelling built by the first farmers in Europe beginning at least as early as the period 5000 to 6000 BC. They first appeared in central Europe in connection with the early Neolithic cultures such as the Linear Pottery culture or Cucuteni culture. This type of architecture represents the largest free-standing structure in the world in its era. Long houses are present across numerous regions and time periods in the archaeological record.

The long house was a rectangular structure, 5.5 to 7.0 m wide, of variable length, around 20 m up to 45 m. Outer walls were wattle-and-daub, sometimes alternating with split logs, with pitched, thatched roofs, supported by rows of poles, three across. The exterior walls would have been quite short beneath the large roof. They were solid and massive, oak posts being preferred. Clay for the daub was dug from pits near the house, which were then used for storage. Extra posts at one end may indicate a partial second story. Some Linear Pottery culture houses were occupied for as long as 30 years.It is thought that these houses had no windows and only one doorway. The door was located at one end of the house. Internally, the house had one or two partitions creating up to three areas. Interpretations of the use of these areas vary. Working activities might be carried out in the better lit door end, the middle used for sleeping and eating and the end farthest from the door could have been used for grain storage. According to other view, the interior was divided in areas for sleeping, common life and a fenced enclosure at the back end for keeping animals.Twenty or thirty people could have lived in each house, with villages composed typically of five to eight houses. Exceptionally, nearly 30 longhouses in a fortified settlement (dating to 4300 BC, i.e., Late Linear Pottery culture) were revealed by excavations at Oslonki in Poland.

Pottery Neolithic

The Pottery Neolithic (abbreviated PN) began around 6,400 BC in the Fertile Crescent, succeeding the period of the Pre-Pottery Neolithic. By then distinctive cultures emerged, with pottery like the Halafian (Turkey, Syria, Northern Mesopotamia) and Ubaid (Southern Mesopotamia). This period has been further divided into PNA (Pottery Neolithic A) and PNB (Pottery Neolithic B) at some sites.The Chalcolithic (Stone-Bronze) period began about 4500 BC, then the Bronze Age began about 3500 BC with the invention of writing, replacing the Neolithic cultures and starting the historical period.

Stroke-ornamented ware culture

The Stroke-ornamented ware (culture) or (German) Stichbandkeramik (abbr. STK or STbK), Stroked Pottery culture, Danubian Ib culture of V. Gordon Childe, or Middle Danubian culture is the successor of the Linear Pottery culture, a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic in Central Europe.

The STK flourishes during approximately 4600-4400 BC.

Centered on Silesia in Poland, eastern Germany and the northern Czech Republic, it overlaps with the Lengyel horizon to the south, and the Rössen culture to the west.


Strážnice (German: Straßnitz) is a town in Hodonín District, South Moravian Region, Czech Republic. It has a population of 5,829 (2006 est.). It is located in Slovácko microregion.

Items from the Neolithic Linear Pottery culture have been found in the area.The Strážnice Castle – originally a water castle – was founded in the second half of the 13th century, later rebuilt in Renaissance style. Positioned at the river Morava, it served as a guarding point on Hungarian border. Nowadays, the National Institute of Folk Culture resides here. There is a permanent exposition of "Folk instruments of the Czech Republic" and the Castle library. The castle is surrounded by an informal park with the longest plane alley in Central Europe founded in the first half of the 19th century. Amphitheatres, a summer cinema, lakes, a dendrology path with educational boards and many benches are located in the park. The Jewish cemetery in Sadova street holds about 1100 gravestones, the oldest ones dating back to 17th century. The synagogue rebuilt in early 20th century has been recently renovated in mid-2008 and is an adjunct to the local museum. Most of the Straznice Jews were deported to their deaths in the Holocaust but many of the houses in the old ghetto still stand.

The roads leading to neighbouring towns of Veselí nad Moravou and Skalica are flanked by massive early-16th century bastions.

Talheim Death Pit

The Talheim Death Pit (German: Massaker von Talheim), discovered in 1983, was a mass grave found in a Linear Pottery Culture settlement, also known as a Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture. It dates back to about 5000 BC. The pit takes its name from its site in Talheim, Germany. The pit contained the remains of 34 bodies, and evidence points towards the first signs of organized violence in Early Neolithic Europe.

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.


  Pre-Pottery Neolithic   Pottery Neolithic
Europe Egypt Syria
Anatolia Khabur Sinjar Mountains
Middle Tigris Low
Iran Indus/
10000 Pre-Pottery Neolithic A
(10,500 BC)
Early Pottery
(18,000 BC)[3]
9000 Jericho
Tell Abu Hureyra
8000 Pre-Pottery Neolithic B
Tell Aswad
Göbekli Tepe
Aşıklı Höyük
Initial Neolithic
(8500–8000 BC)
7000 Egyptian Neolithic
Nabta Playa
(7500 BC)
(7000 BC)
Tell Sabi Abyad
Jarmo Ganj Dareh
Chia Jani
Ali Kosh
Mehrgarh I[2]
6500 Neolithic Europe
Pre-Pottery Neolithic C
('Ain Ghazal)
Pottery Neolithic
Tell Sabi Abyad
Pottery Neolithic
Chogha Bonut Teppe Zagheh Pottery Neolithic
(7000-5000 BC)
6000 Pottery Neolithic
Pottery Neolithic
(Sha'ar HaGolan)
Pottery Neolithic
Ubaid 0
(Tell el-'Oueili)
Pottery Neolithic
Chogha Mish
Pottery Neolithic
Sang-i Chakmak
Pottery Neolithic

Mehrgarh II

Mehrgarh III
5600 Faiyum A
Amuq A


Umm Dabaghiya
(6000-4800 BC)
Tepe Muhammad Djafar Tepe Sialk
5200 Linear Pottery culture
(5500-4500 BC)

Amuq B



Ubaid 1
(Eridu 19-15)

Ubaid 2
(Hadji Muhammed)
(Eridu 14-12)

Susiana A
Yarim Tepe
Hajji Firuz Tepe
4800 Pottery Neolithic

Amuq C
Hassuna Late

Gawra 20

Tepe Sabz
Kul Tepe Jolfa
Amuq D
Gian Hasan
Ubaid 3 Ubaid 3
Ubaid 3 Khazineh
Susiana B

Ubaid 4

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