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Beaker Folk

16 December 2016

It seems the Amesbury Archer may not have hailed from the Alps as the media and archaeologists have been trumpeting for the last few years. According to research on a new project using isotopes, teeth enamel and bone callogen he could have come from Scotland, a sort of prehistoric drover. The Neolithic in Britain, it has been found, was an extremely mobile society, quite unlike the Bronze Age. It seems to have been primarily a pastoral society. Mandy Jay from Durham University has provided evidence, through improved technique, to show the Amesbury Archer could have come from a broad region of the European mainland from the Alps to Scandinavia, as well as Scotland. The big question now is – who were the Beaker people and were they really a migrant group that spread across western Europe, or were the beakers an item of trade, a fashionable piece of pottery, and why do they appear so often in graves? I can remember an early SIS piece that speculated the beaker phenomenon was evidence of a belief, cultic or otherwise, the spread of an idea, rather than an actual migration.

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