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Beakers: Deconstruction and After

  • Humphrey Case (a1)

Taking grave and non-grave pottery together, five summary regional groups of beaker pottery are proposed for Britain and Ireland: Group A, Ireland; Group B, north Britain and eventually widespread; Group C, north and to some extent south Britain; Group D, south Britain; and Group E, East Anglia and south-east England. It is anticipated that further discoveries and research will enable these groups to be refined regionally.

These groups are set in a quarter-millennium calendrical chronology, which suggests that they may all have appeared around or near the mid-3rd millennium BC, and that many of their aspects were long enduring, some surviving to the 2nd quarter of the 2nd millennium BC.

Decorative features especially are related to bell-beaker pottery in western Europe, to Single Grave pottery across the North Sea, and to native Late Neolithic pottery. In presenting the chronology of these relationships, it is argued that a widely held view that bell-beaker pottery evolved in north-west Europe requires modification.

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