SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: Beaker Folk, Beaker culture; Bell Beaker culture CATEGORY: culture DEFINITION: A widespread Late Neolithic European people of the third and second millennium BC named after the characteristic bell-shaped beakers found buried with their dead. These people spread a knowledge of metalworking in central and western Europe from c 2500-2000 BC. They first came to Britain between 1900-1800 BC in successive waves, via Holland, from the Rhineland. Their origins are uncertain, with theories of them being the Battle-Ax people from south Russia and Spanish Megalithic people from Almeria or from Portugal and Hungary. They were copper and bronze workers and famous for their great collective tombs. The assemblages of grave goods -- decorated pottery, fighting equipment (arrowheads, wristguards, daggers) -- were characteristic of the people, who lived in small groups mainly by major river routes as they were known traders. Burial was by contracted inhumation in a trench, or under a round barrow, or as a secondary burial in some form of chamber tomb. Each burial was accompanied by a beaker, presumably to hold drink, probably alcoholic, for the dead man's last journey.
SYNONYMS OR RELATED TERMS: bell beaker (see also funnel beaker, protruding foot beaker) CATEGORY: ceramics DEFINITION: A simple pottery drinking vessel without handles, more deep than wide, much used in prehistoric Europe. The pottery was usually red or brown burnished ware, decorated with horizontal panels of comb- or cord-impressed designs. It was distributed in Europe from Spain to Poland, and from Italy to Scotland in the years after 2500 BC and the international bell-beaker is particularly widespread, though uncommon in Britain. In Britain there are local variants, the long-necked (formerly A) beakers of eastern England and the short-necked (formerly C) beakers of Scotland. There are local developments elsewhere, such as the Veluwe beakers in Holland. Beaker vessels are commonly found in graves, which were often single inhumations under round barrows; commonly associated finds include copper or bronze daggers and ornaments, flint arrowheads, stone wristguards, and stone battle-axes. In many northern and western areas its users were the first to start coppermetallurgy. The widespread distribution of beaker finds has led to the frequent identification of a Beaker people and speculations about their origins.
discoidal nucleus technique
CATEGORY: lithics DEFINITION: A method of coreknapping used during the Middle Palaeolithic by which flaking was done until the core was too small to use. The Beaker People, in particular, made circular, oval, or oblong, thin flakes of stone with this technique, which is very similar to the Levallois technique.