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Earthen Long Barrows and Timber Structures: Aspects of the Early Neolithic Mortuary Practice in Denmark

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 September 2014

Torsten Madsen
Institut for forhistorisk arkaeologi, Moesgård, DK-8270, Højbjerg, Denmark


More than twenty years have elapsed since Stuart Piggott suggested the possibility of a connection between the primary Neolithic cultures of Britain and the early phases of the Funnel necked Beaker (TRB) Culture of northern Europe (Piggott 1956). What appeared at that time to many scholars, not least in Denmark, to be a very far fetched idea, must today in the light of the many new Danish excavations be considered seriously. Piggott pointed to three categories of finds which could possibly be advanced as indicators of contact: Pottery, causewayed camps and ‘unchambered’ earthen long barrows. In all three areas decisive new results have been obtained, and although this paper deals with the earthen long barrows, both the pottery and the causewayed camps will be briefly commented upon.

C. J. Becker's division of the Danish early Neolithic pottery into four major classes, the A, B, non-megalithic and megalithic C types of pottery, is still useable for the general categorization of site inventories (Becker 1948). The neat derivative system that he built, with A originating somewhere in eastern Europe, followed by B, and terminating with two contemporary C-groups, is however no longer warranted, and especially not with reference to the radiocarbon dates. Nor can the clear-cut typological division of the pottery into the four groups be maintained, since many types of pots and ornamentation occur in more than one group. For instance the B type beaker, with lines of twisted cord beneath the rim, is an integral part of the inventory of non-megalithic C sites, and also occurs in connection with megalithic C pottery.

Research Article
Copyright © The Prehistoric Society 1979

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