View Poll Results: Did the Beaker Culture evolve into the Celtic culture?

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Thread: Did the Bell Beaker Culture evolve into the Celts?

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    Default Did the Bell Beaker Culture evolve into the Celts?

    Note: Please read the posts before voting in the poll, please.

    Bell Beaker culture


    Bell Beaker




    Celts

    David Anthony traced the movement of Pre-Proto-Italo-Celtic people up the Danube as far as the Hungarian Plain (Carpathian Basin) by their kurgans. Then we start to see the Bell Beaker Culture spreading over a swathe of Europe. This culture is recognised by its characteristic pottery, shaped like an inverted bell. Bell Beaker ware is found as far east as Poland, as far south as Northern Morocco, as far north as Scotland, northern Denmark, and even the southern tip of Norway. Archaeologists have found the distinctive beaker so useful in identifying the culture that rather too much emphasis has been placed upon it.
    There are far more important aspects to this culture than its pottery. It forms part of a wave across Europe which brought the plough, wheeled vehicles, woolly sheep - the whole Secondary Products Revolution, together with metallurgy and horse power . Some aspects of this revolution had already spread in the late Neolithic, but it was in the 3rd millennium BC that the full impact of the transformation was felt.
    The most widespread early type of Bell Beaker pottery, known as All Over Corded (AOC), is decorated with impressions made with cord. That similarity to Corded Ware, together with the similarity of burial custom, and the fact that the two cultures overlap geographically, led to the assumption that Bell Beaker developed from Corded Ware. It is now recognised that the two are contemporary. Carbon-14 has dated the earliest Bell Beaker sites to c.2,900 BC.7 On archaeological evidence alone the Beaker culture arrived in much of Europe with immigrants. Isotope, craniometric and inherited dental trait studies also show the Beaker folk as incomers in most places.

    By the time that Classical authors began to note the Celts, over 2,000 years later, they were spread over much of Europe west of the Rhine and in pockets east of it. Some lived in the Alps and northern Italy, while Italic-speakers were in Central Italy. This coincides fairly well with the spread of the Bell Beaker Culture. In between the periods when archaeologists can see the new, intrusive Beaker culture arrive and historians begin to see the Celts and Italics, there is a long continuity from Bronze to Iron Age cultures apparent in the archaeology in many places. So the finger points at the Beaker people as the carriers of this branch of the Indo-European languages. Their evident mobility and the comparative uniformity of their culture over the whole Celtic area makes them the most likely bearers of the new language. The idea that the Celts first arrived in the British Isles and Iberia in the Iron Age used to be popular, but has been abandoned, because archaeological evidence of Celtic Iron Age arrivals covers too limited an area to explain the full spread of Celtic languages.
    Copper-workers may have arrived in Iberia with a small company of migrants, to be gradually reinforced by others seeking pastures new. Carved stone anthropomorphic stelae mark the trail of these copper-workers, so let us call them the Stelae People. An early splinter group from the Proto-Italo-Celtic parent would help to explain why the Celtic of Iberia had such an archaic structure, retaining Italic elements. A similarly mixed language was spoken by the Ligures in what is now Northern-Western Italy and South-Eastern France. There is tantalisingly little evidence for Ligurian, but it appears primarily Celtic and Italic.

    Distribution of Stelae

    The earliest anthropomorphic stelae have been found in Yamnaya burial mounds in Ukraine. They are particularly associated with one sub-culture, known as the Kemi Oba Culture, centred on Crimea, which was influenced by the neighbouring Maikop Culture. Similar stelae are found at Bell Beaker sites in the Swiss and Italian Alps, and in the Italian regions of Lunigiana and Trento-Alto-Adige, southern France and Iberia. Other examples are scattered as far afield as Malta and the Channel Isles. These figures are curiously stylised and slab-like, quite different from earlier and later depictions of the human form. Males are generally given tools or weapons. Females often have necklaces. The stelae probably recorded honoured ancestors.
    Further reading...

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    Default Identifying the Celts

    From the earliest days of linguistics, authors have taken Caesar's word for it and identified Gaulish as Celtic. Thus similar languages, such as those once spoken in the British Isles and parts of Iberia and the Alps, could be placed in the Celtic family. Ligurian appears to have been a mixture of Celtic and Italic. As we see, contemporaries varied in whether to label the Ligurians as Celts or not. Strabo weighed up the matter as well as anyone, saying that while the Ligurians of the Alps belong to a different people from the neighbouring Celts, they are similar in their mode of life. Whatever label we put on them, we may see the Ligures as the descendants of the southern Bell Beaker creators. North of the Alps the eastern Bell Beaker group was succeeded by Iron Age cultures which spread over Gaul, the Rhineland and northern Alps, and spawned inscriptions in Celtic languages once in contact with literacy. The distribution of Celtic place-names in ancient times is another helpful clue to their whereabouts.

    The frequency of Celtic place names coincides well with the Bell Beaker culture

    As the Stelae People struck out westwards, we can picture the mother group of Proto-Italo-Celtic-speakers gradually moving further up the Danube from the Carpathian Basin and eventually developing the form of Celtic spoken in Gaul. If the Stelae People had created trade routes across Europe from the Carpathian Basin as far as Portugal, we can see how Bell Beaker ware could have been developed in Portugal and yet crop up in Hungary. A Bell Beaker site on Csepel Island in the Danube proved to be remarkably early for eastern Bell Beaker. It has given its name to about 60 sites of the Bell Beaker Csepel group, clustered around Budapest. Hungary has no other Bell Beaker. Anthropologically and culturally the isolated Csepel group appears an intrusion into the Baden Culture, so its origin was something of a mystery. Now a study of inherited forms of teeth links the Bell Beaker folk of Csepel to those of Western Switzerland,while the latter in their turn cluster with Bell Beaker Southern group in Iberia and Southern France

    From Hungary the Bell Beaker style of pottery travelled up the Danube and down the Rhine. The people who carried it may have been seen by the Southern Bell Beaker group as distant cousins - part of the clan. If the pottery was made by women, it may have been spread partly by marriage. Marc Vander Linden has suggested that the search for marriage partners outside the home group created a constant local mobility between the scattered Bell Beaker settlements.
    The Celts of the British Isles

    The Bell Beaker Culture brought the Bronze Age to the British Isles. To be more exact, Beaker folk initially brought the Copper Age around 2,450 BC, homing in on the copper belts of Ireland and Wales. They left their characteristic beakers at a copper-mine on Ross Island, in Lough Leane, County Kerry. To judge by chemical composition, copper from Ireland was traded into Britain, along with gold from the Mourne Mountains. The incomers boosted what had been a dwindling population of farmers, and created a thriving society*. From around 2,200 BC Bell Beaker interest in Britain intensified as Cornwall was discovered to be a prime source for tin, the rare and precious component of true bronze. This resource gave the British Isles a head start in Europe in making bronze.
    *Early farmers may have practised mainly arable agriculture. Crops which could be grown in Northern Europe were limited after the climate began to cool.
    The Beaker people may have introduced lactose tolerance and pastoral farming which would have allowed farmers to thrive again. I shall create another post for this.

    For decades a vision of prehistoric population continuity shaped a view of Bell Beaker in the British Isles as a purely cultural phenomenon. The discovery of the Amesbury Archer near Stonehenge forced a reconsideration. This man lived around 2,350 BC and was buried with Beaker pots and wrist guards. His gold hair binders are the earliest gold objects found in Britain. Tests were carried out on the Archer’s teeth and bones. They show that he came from Central Europe, near the Alps. The copper of his knives was also from the Continent (Northern Spain and Western France). Significantly, he was also buried with a cushion stone, used by metal-workers.
    So what language did the Bell Beaker folk bring to the British Isles? Why were two types of Celtic spoken there by the time we have any records? Gaelic seems the older form. We can picture the first Beaker arrivals speaking an archaic form of Celtic that evolved over the millennia into Gaelic. By contrast the Brittonic (or Brythonic) language of Britain was closely related to Gaulish, spoken across the Channel by the Roman period. That suggests that Britain received more or heavier waves of Celtic migration than did Ireland, continuing into the Iron Age. This fits the archaeological picture.
    Further reading...


    Related posts
    Three waves of Celtic migration to Britain
    Last edited by Albion; 01-31-2012 at 05:31 PM.

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    Default How the Beaker Culture relates to R1b

    Note: Before reading this it is important to understand that nothing is set in stone as to the origins of haplogroups in Europe yet, it is something of a work in progress. New evidence can affect theories about haplogroups, and such can be seen with the two theories about the origins of R1b in Western Europe.



    I propose that the Bell Beaker culture was an indirect descendant of the Megalithic cultures of Europe, but one which was under intense influence from the east bringing in new features to the material culture.


    Early bronze age Europe - R1b as a minority within the Bell Beaker Culture


    R1b becomes more predominant as the culture progresses


    As the bronze age progresses into the Iron Age the R1b haplogroup had by then become predominant in Western Europe (the area shaded red)



    The newer theories about the origins of R1b in Western Europe suggest that it arrived at roughly the time when the Bell Beaker culture was being practised.
    The migration of R1b people into the Bell Beaker areas probably brought with it the Celto-Italic languages which would develop into Celtic in the West, as well as a more pastoral system of agriculture.
    I believe the spread of R1b peoples to have been gradual throughout the culture, but it is clear that the Beaker Culture had very good contact between the different areas where it was practised.
    This would have aided any new settlers, especially people practising a better form of agriculture (it was in the Bell Beaker period that the failing agriculture of Britain "saved" by the Bell Beaker culture as mentioned earlier.)
    By the development of the Unetice (2300-1600 BCE), Tumulus (1600-1200 BCE), Urnfield (1300-1200 BCE) and Hallstatt (1200-750) cultures which had diverged from the main Bell Beaker, R1b had spread through the Bell Beaker culture and would have been on the way to becoming the majority of the population.
    These cultures largely developed out of the Beaker Culture and are seen as predecessors' to the Celtic culture.

    R1b could have been a minority type amongst the Beaker Culture for a time, but gradually become predominant for a number of reasons (some listed in below), but was probably responsible for spreading Celtic languages throughout the Bell Beaker culture.

    Spoiler!



    Alternatively R1b could have been native to Western Europe if you believe the older theory. This would have meant that improvements in agriculture and IE languages would have arrived through contact from the east instead of a important migration.

    (I'am presented with evidence against this and that is why this theory appears as not much more than a footnote.)

    By the time of the Celts

    By the Celtic period R1b had come to predominate and was further spread by Celtic migrations in Western Europe.
    R1b wasn't the only haplogroup amongst the Celts but was almost certainly the major one.

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    LOLWUT? The keltz were the La-Tne culture. Probably. The bones cannot speak and the genes nor. However the original kelts were rather more Nordids and lesser Alpinids mixed people and the Bell Beaker people was a brachy- and mesocephal mixed people with Corded-Mediterranid elements.

    Well, the luckless celto-germans were here R1b, there R1a, yonder I1. I am expecting the theory of the paleolithic aryanz with Y HG J or other.

    Theories, theoires, theories. Prehistory one of the greatest pseudo-science what build more and more theories in the found of other theoiries.

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    LOLWUT? The keltz were the La-Tne culture. Probably. The bones cannot speak and the genes nor. However the original kelts were rather more Nordids and lesser Alpinids mixed people and the Bell Beaker people was a brachy- and mesocephal mixed people with Corded-Mediterranid elements.
    1. Did you even read any of it or are you just making assumptions?
    2. Pseudo-science? I think all these generic European sub-races are a better example of that. Most writers about them disagreed and most modern posters still do and it isn't accepted or studied by any main stream scientists unlike archeology and genetics. Since when are the latter two pseudo-science?
    3. Where did I mention Aryans or imply anything about them. IE origins in the Pontic Steppe is a mainstream theory and the Mesolithic continuity theory is looking ever less credible by the day as the evidence builds. It appears that many of the old works dismissed in modern times as "migrationist rubbish" may have actually been right.
    4. This concerns Celts and shows my interest in them and their predecessors'. I don't see how that equates to some Germanic superiority thread to you.


    Well, the luckless celto-germans were here R1b, there R1a, yonder I1. I am expecting the theory of the paleolithic aryanz with Y HG J or other.
    No, it doesn't quite work that way. Germanics developed from Corded Ware, from R1a and R1b peoples coming into contact with I1. What is so difficult about that?
    Although I haven't discussed it in this thread, the Germanics show themselves to be a hybrid culture rather than some "Aryan" master-race.
    Germanic languages contain a pre-Indo-European substratum amounting to more than 1/3 of the language, Germanic mythology has traits unlike others in Europe and as mentioned, there's the genes to consider too.

    Theories, theoires, theories. Prehistory one of the greatest pseudo-science what build more and more theories in the found of other theoiries.
    Dismiss it all you like, but until you bother to even read or think about it I refuse to give a fuck about what you think.
    I have actually bothered to do some research. Some of it may be proven wrong, but most of what I have written there (apart from haplogroups) is pretty solid and has plenty of evidence.
    Haplogroups on the other hand are open to interpretation because we don't know as much as we'd like to about them yet.

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    This thread shows some promise. I am very interested to find out more about this as well, seeing as it has direct impact on my own ancestry

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    The Celts descended from the, and the megalithic people as well. The Celts didn't just pop up out of know where. The La Tene culture is much more late, when considering earlier Celtic finds.

    I am very interested in this thread too. Albion, mate, you know how to make some very promising threads

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    [QUOTE=Albion;684431]
    The frequency of Celtic place names coincides well with the Bell Beaker culture

    Very nice thread Albion, almost an article.
    I have my own ideas about Celts focusing my homeland and of course, there is a bit of speculation about all this but in this case you defend well you theory and you must be applauded for that. I'll have to read it again.
    About some of your maps, just a few words in what my homeland concerns. I'll say that, yes, as we can see in your maps there is some doubt about the "Celtiness" of Lusitani, some think they may be an older people of unknown origin but there were peoples living here for ever, in the valley of my hometown's river are Neanderthal caves with 50k years... but one thing is for sure, we know they spoke a Celtic language, it's written in Latin alphabet in the rocks of the worship places, so if they weren't Celts, they were Celticised for sure and in central Portugal and Spanish Extremadura (homeland for the Lusitani) there are many of Celtic names.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Argyll View Post
    The Celts descended from the, and the megalithic people as well. The Celts didn't just pop up out of know where. The La Tene culture is much more late, when considering earlier Celtic finds.

    I am very interested in this thread too. Albion, mate, you know how to make some very promising threads
    I'm not proposing they just came out of nowhere, I'm proposing that a part of the genetics may have come from further east. Look at the map and find R1b. Celts have legends saying how they set off from Troy, R1b could have crossed the Caucasus Mountains from the Ukrainian Steppe and continued through Anatolia to Europe, just passed it.

    As for the Megalithic culture, the Bell Beaker partially formed from it. Stonehenge was still being built during the Bell Beaker period.

    The Bell Beaker then evolved into a few regionally distinct cultures, some of these would become the Hallstatt and La Tene which have been identified with Celts.
    Whilst cultural elements spread from these areas, much of the original Bell Beaker (and ultimately, Megalithic) culture was retained and formed the Celtic peoples.
    Celtic languages could have been spoken before the Hallstatt or La Tene cultures, right back in the Bronze Age with the Bell Beaker culture.

    About some of your maps, just a few words in what my homeland concerns. I'll say that, yes, as we can see in your maps there is some doubt about the "Celtiness" of Lusitani, some think they may be an older people of unknown origin but there were peoples living here for ever, in the valley of my hometown's river are Neanderthal caves with 50k years... but one thing is for sure, we know they spoke a Celtic language, it's written in Latin alphabet in the rocks of the worship places, so if they weren't Celts, they were Celticised for sure and in central Portugal and Spanish Extremadura (homeland for the Lusitani) there are many of Celtic names.
    I see them as Celts, but a very old settlement of them:

    Copper-workers may have arrived in Iberia with a small company of migrants, to be gradually reinforced by others seeking pastures new. Carved stone anthropomorphic stelae mark the trail of these copper-workers, so let us call them the Stelae People. An early splinter group from the Proto-Italo-Celtic parent would help to explain why the Celtic of Iberia had such an archaic structure, retaining Italic elements. A similarly mixed language was spoken by the Ligures in what is now Northern-Western Italy and South-Eastern France. There is tantalisingly little evidence for Ligurian, but it appears primarily Celtic and Italic.

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    The archaeologist Colin Renfrew has long argued that the Indo-European languages of Europe were introduced by the first Neolithic settlers, and evolved in situ into their various branches, including Celtic. Thus is very much at odds with the so-called "Kurgan hypothesis", which sees the original Neolithic settlers, including the megalith builders, as not speaking an Indo-European language, the latter being introduced much later by invaders from the east. My own view is that Renfrew is correct, even though his opinion is in a minority amongst academics.

    In this scenario, the non-Indo-European pockets, such as Basque and Etruscan, represent survivals of the Mesolithic languages of Western Europe, rather than the Neolithic ones.


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