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Thread: The Danubian Culture Bearers

  1. #1
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    Post The Danubian Culture Bearers

    "One of the most striking events of the Neolithic period in Europe was the gradual migration of farmers up the Danube Valley into central Europe. These new settlers stayed fairly close to the banks of the river and its tributaries, farming on patches of loess where the land would not need to be cleared by the axe. Southern Hungary, Moravia, Bohemia, and Silesia were areas which they found especially favorable, and in which they settled in greatest numbers. As they moved to the west, they finally reached southern Bavaria, Baden, and the north of France, especially the Paris basin. From southern Germany onward, they encountered the descendants of the Neolithic people who had enteredby way of Gibraltar.The river valleys which the Danubians occupied must have been relatively free of people; Mesolithic remains in the eastern and middle Danube Valley are very scarce, if not entirely absent.46 We may therefore expect the remains of the Danubian immigrants to exhibit, without particular alteration, the physical characteristics of the population or populations from which they originated.Danubian chronology is based on pottery types, particularly on techniques of decoration; the earliest Danubian, Period I, is typified by incised pottery with banded decoration, while the second and third periods mark the common use of painted pottery. The agriculture of the Danubians was a hoe-culture, for the characteristic tool is a hoe blade of flint, called a "shoe-last celt." Their domestic animals included the ox, sheep, and pig.[/justify][justify]It is one of the problems which face the archaeologist in the future to discover the point of origin of Danubian pottery. Incised black ware, of the banded variety, undoubtedly came from somewhere to the east; from the country north of the Black Sea, or from Anatolia, whence it may have been influenced by the same source which produced the Merimdian of the Egyptian Delta. In this case, the two movements, the Danubian and that which passed over the Gibraltar, may have come from a single original source in western Asia, and have moved into Europe from two different directions, converging in Switzerland, southern Germany, and France.The painted pottery, on the other hand, shows definite Asiatic similarities; there was painted pottery in Iraq in the earliest known cultures; Anatolia contains some varieties of it; the Iranian plateau is said to be full of it; there is painted pottery at Anau in Turkestan; and painted pottery penetrated early into Kansu in China. Despite these occurrences, we do not yet know by which route or routes it entered Europe from the east. It may have come across the Bosporus, around the Black Sea, or from both quarters. Again, it may have travelled, farther east, either north or south of the Caspian.The physical evidence at hand will hardly settle the problem of Danubian origins, although it will, in a fragmentary manner, dispel a number of unfounded hypotheses. In the material used in the present survey, seventeen male crania associated with banded pottery,47 and seven associated with painted,48 are all that can without doubt be attributed to the Danubian Neolithic. These may be supplemented by a smaller female series.The two series, Banded and Painted, are so close to each other anthropometrically that they may readily be pooled (see Appendix I, col. 11). Their type is a familiar one - a small Mediterranean, with cephalic indices ranging from 68 to 81, and a mean of 73.6. The mean cranial length is 185.5 mm., but individually they go as high as 196 mm. The vault height, 139 mm. is elevated in comparison to the other dimensions. The faces are short (116 mm.) and moderately narrow (130 mm.); both foreheads and jaws (minimum frontal 96 mm., bigonial 94 mm.) are also of moderate breadth. The orbits are low, with an orbital index mean of 80, the noses chamaerrhine, with a nasal index mean of 55. The highest orbitted skull has an orbital index of 91, the most leptorrhine a nasal index of 45.Although this Danubian group is reasonably homogeneous, even with the small numbers available it is seen to include more than one type in the strictest sense. For example, the stature is low; Reche found a mean of 153 cm. for eight Banded male skeletons from Jordansmühl, and in this small series four mesocephalic crania are associated with higher statures than are the purely dolichocephalic ones. Some of the skulls with higher orbits and longer vaults differ again from the majority. On the whole, however, the group is definitely dolicho- to mesocephalic, and definitely Mediterranean. As far as the criteria studied may be invoked, this series is very similar to Sergi's Kurgan group from southern Russia, and may be considered to contain the same racial elements, although the Russian material as a whole is less homogeneous.If we carry the comparison further, we find, again, strong resemblances in the Spanish Neolithic, and with all of the smaller Mediterranean groups. The Danubians undoubtedly represent anothern branch of the same racial group which entered Europe from North Africa through the southwestern avenue. Where they came from immediately before their arrival in Europe, however, it is impossible at the moment to tell. The Russian evidence, including that from Mariupol and Anau, leans heavily in favor of a trans-Euxine origin, but at the same time they might have come from Anatolia, from which we have as yet no Neolithic skeletal evidence. It is again possible that related elements from more than one geographical source made up the Danubian migrations.We do not know what language the Danubians spoke, nor what was the coloring of their skin, hair, and eyes. But we may surmise from the small evidence which has been assembled that the successive waves represented did not come from racially different parent groups.Although we cannot, from this evidence, state what racial elements were lacking in the Danubian countries during the Neolithic, we know that the culture bearers from the east belonged to, or included members of, the wider Mediterranean stock, which sems everywhere to be associated with the earliest food production; and the most important element seems to have been a small, light boned, rather infantile Mediterranean."
    Last edited by Vojvoda; Saturday, August 2nd, 2003 at 03:18 PM.

  2. #2


    The linear pottery culture or Linearband Keramik
    Kultur envelops from 5400 to 4600BC a vast area
    extending from Central Europe(East Hungary, eastern
    parts of Rumania and Moldavia) upwards to the North
    European Plain(Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, Bavaria,
    Thuringen, Hessen, Elzass, the Low Countries and the
    Parisian Basin),following the rivers of the Upper
    Danube, the Rhine, the Elbe and Neckar and avoiding
    mesolithic communities by their preference of
    forrestal regions, colonizing well-watered and fertile
    soils(loess) along valleys, plaines and plateaus on
    the edge of rivers.

    They built scattered homesteads,small villages and
    hamlets according a pattern of regional clustering,
    probably based on non-hierarchic, close-kin-groups,
    failing to the urge and demands of competition, but
    marked by wide-distance relationships punctuating
    affinity and solidarity.

    Their houses were rectangular post-framed, single
    level longhouses(average lenght= 25m), though attics
    would have been present to store goods as rows of
    posts suggest a storeyed structure.The interior was
    transversally divided in a center piece for domestical
    activities, the southeast end for storage and the
    northwestern part for dayliving and sleeping-place.
    The buildings were put parallel to each other and
    agglomerated, though dipersed single-habitats are also
    known to exist.
    Ditches around the buidings were used to get rid of
    debris and organic wastes.
    A village could obtain 8 to 12 buildings, including a
    kind of meeting-house or shrine, and each village was
    about 3-4km away from the nearest.every village
    counted to 20 families maximum which resulted in an
    average population of 50 to 100 individuals and a
    demographic density rate of 17 individuals per square
    No trace of social hierarchy may be read of the
    outlook of the buildings, no distinctives at all.

    The linear pottery culture or Linearband Keramik
    Kultur envelops from 5400 to 4600BC a vast area
    extending from Central Europe(East Hungary, eastern
    parts of Rumania and Moldavia) upwards to the North
    European Plain(Poland, Bohemia, Moravia, Bavaria,
    Thuringen, Hessen, Elzass, the Low Countries and the
    Parisian Basin),following the rivers of the Upper
    Danube, the Rhine, the Elbe and Neckar and avoiding
    mesolithic communities by their preference of
    forrestal regions, colonizing well-watered and fertile
    soils(loess) along valleys, plaines and plateaus on
    the edge of rivers.

    They built scattered homesteads,small villages and
    hamlets according a pattern of regional clustering,
    probably based on non-hierarchic, close-kin-groups,
    failing to the urge and demands of competition, but
    marked by wide-distance relationships punctuating
    affinity and solidarity.

    Arable ground within the environs of the village mounted up to 10 or
    20ha, the villages itselves taking only 2ha.Fields for cereal
    cultivation and herding their cattle were won due to their system of
    forest fallowing; once the soils were exhausted, the village was
    deplaced and new territories cleared for housing and agriculture,
    afterwards, within a generation's time, the old country was revisited
    and the former village reconstructed.

    The lithic remains of this culture lack the axe, while there have been
    found made of deer bones and used as paring-chisel.
    Most are laboured from amphibolits of sandstone, quartz and volcanic
    material, but in silex short, regular-shaped blades are known as well
    many gimlets, scrapers and other tools.

    The ceramics underwent two essential phases; the oldest depict simple
    lines as ornamental finishing of the vessels, this type expands no
    further westward than the Rhine, the more recent stage with filled-up
    strokes advances upon the whole of West Europe.
    Originally, the Dabubians were inspired to natural forms, especially
    the gourd-shape with apparently no necessity felt to give it a neck,
    if occasionally slightly indicated.
    The aperture was large, handles omitted and covered with nipple-like
    Large vessels were undecorated, not though the globular vases and
    bowls had incised strokes which went curved, meandering, straight, in
    spirals or run in horse shoe designs; so-called "music notes" of
    grossly dots would have marked the alongated model of some vessels.
    In the recent phase, the shapes and models are not yield to important
    innovations, except that the neck nearly closes and the elaboration
    and varieties in pottery excel the previous period by miles.
    The basic colour of the walls is black with a lustrely red; the
    incised lines however attain a white-coloured filling, the strokes
    themselves are coverd under points.

    The sepulchres are within the proximity of the village.The tombs are
    individual, the body resting in a flexed position and put in a ditch,
    then covered with ochre and with a girdle of gratuities, consisting of
    tools, spondyles(the main exchange objects of the Danubians/LPC),
    potteries and whet-stones.

    In contrast to the Balkan-East-Mediterrenean neolithic communities, no
    female figurines and symbolic stamps show up; today their credited as
    a distinct autonomous and original neolithic culture of Westeuropean
    extraction, i.e. local mesolithics outgrow the secondary-neolithic
    stage and accomplish themselves independantly as spearhead of new
    socio-cultural and subsistence ideas and proceedings.

    The cranioskeletal series of the Linearbandkeramik People from Alsace,
    Western Germany, Central Germany, Czechoslovakia and Austria do not
    make up a homogeneous population.
    The western types are more gracile built than in the east, having
    higher as well longer crania, lower but broader faces and broader
    The series have been compared to the mesolithic series from
    Brittany,Portugal and a pooled centraleuropean series encompassing the
    LBK zone and the distances by multivariate analyses are low, except in
    individual measurements: the central europeans and brittany having
    broader and lower faces.
    However, series of early Neolithics from the central
    Bulgaria and Greece are closer to the LBK than the mesolithics, but it
    doesn't support a SE European descency of the LBK, because the
    measurements deviate in the same rate as with the mesolithics,
    notwithstanding the narrower faces.

    Sometimes the research produces conflicting data, so that the LBK were
    as known distinct from the mesolithics of northern and western europe,
    but aligned to the early Neolithics from the Balkan, including those
    from Starcevo-Körös, but another cluster analysis send this
    result off
    with a correlation of central German LBK with SE Europeans postdating
    the alledged Balkan colonisators, keeping the Starcevo series in a
    considerable distance.
    Thus, while there are some affinities with the Balkans implied in the
    LBK series, regional differences resent a homogeneity identifyable
    with a small founder population of abroad.
    The problem with the LBK in anthropometry lies in the intricate
    confusion of biological inconsistency and continuity.

    Cranial Variables of Starcevo and LBK series:


    cranial lenght: 183,5
    cranial breadth: 139,8
    minimum frontal breadth: 99,2
    cranial height: 149,7
    bizygomatical breadth: 131
    upper face height: 70,4
    nasal breadth: 25
    nasal height: 53
    cranial index: 76,2
    upper facial index: 53,7
    nasal index: 47,2

    * LBK Czechoslovakia:

    cr. lenght: 190,2
    cr. breadth: 136,2
    min. frontal breath: 94,3
    cranial height: 142,3
    bizygomatic breadth: 125
    upper facial height: 67,4
    nasal breadth: 25,1
    nasal height: 49,1
    cranial index: 71,6
    upper facial index: 53,9
    nasal index: 51,1

    *LBK SW Germany + Austria:

    cranial lenght: 186,9 188,1
    cranial breadth: 138,8 140
    min. frontal breadth: 97,3 99,1
    cranial height: 138 141
    bizygomatic breadth: 124,7 131,8
    upper facial height: 70,9 73,6
    nasal breadth: 24,1 26
    nasal height: 51,2 54,3
    cranial index: 74,3 74,4
    upper facial index: 56,9 55,8
    nasal index: 47,1 47,9

    It seems very likely that the Nordics of
    the Linearband Ware were the firtst perpetrators of the IE language,
    North and Northwest Europe still spoke languages related to Uralic;
    however, a
    Russian linguist whose name escapes me at the moment, puts forward a
    theory in
    which IE, Altaic and Uralic-Yukagir are branches from some
    Continental Boreal
    superlanguage, seperated somewhere in the Mesolithic or Early
    Neolithic and
    since the LBK people were native to Europe, culturally and in case of
    techno-complex reminiscent of IE material culture, hydronomy placing
    the dates
    from when PIE broke off in several groups much earlier which coincide
    with the
    fluvial demic diffusion of LBK, they would have spoken in a first
    phase a
    language intermediate to its mothersource and IE, which enabled a
    smooth communication, fraternization(including conjugality)and
    trading affairs
    between the mesolithics and LBK folks; the Corded Ware people descend
    these LBK-Nordics, sharing some physical traits together(high
    skulled, mesene,
    mesorhine...), but a gap of at least 3000years spans in between, the
    differences ensuing spring forth from mutation, founder effects and
    random gene
    drift and local interbreeding, nevertheless they would shift to a more
    speciated and "pure" variety of IE of which the known IE family

  3. #3


    In former days in Belgium the Linearband Culture was called the Omalien, after a find-spot in the province of Liège, Omal, and regarded as an independent complex, unrelated to LBK.

    Despite their own distinctives, the Dutch and Belgian periodical finds are the utmost northwestern spearhead of the LBK-extension;

    The hearthland of the Omalien resided in Haspengouw and the southern parts of the Dutch province of Limburg.Loess soils was favoured because it was easier to till, sandy grounds were discarted unless there was brooks and other waterfeatures in the vicinity, clay soils were however to heavy for their primitive cultivation tools.

    The settlements in Belgium are clustered close upon eachother, the earliest are traced in South Limburg between the Maas and Geleen and are one with the sites in Germany(Geilenkirchen, Gillrath and Staher Bruch). In Belgium, east of the Maas, a site was found in Rulen (Voeren) and may have comed from the region around Cologne.

    Groupings are located on the plateaus between the upper reaches of the rivers Demer and Maas, further on the lower course of the Jeker, in later stages descending southwards, where the only known LPC remnants in a cave are come across("Schmerlinggrot"); charting the spread of the Belgian LBK group shows a relatively small areal, cornered by the Maas, the Méhaigne and the upper courses of Jeker and Demer, in the north the border coincide with the boundary between loess and sand,
    in the east the region of for farming undisposed Condroz and the rich, fertile Haspengouw, the latter belonging to a broad loess zone going from east to west, passing through Central Belgium and continuing to Artois.

    It remains unclaer why the farmers didn't pushed further west.Haspengouw has a loess blanket of a thickness of 2 to 10cm and interweave by several brooks and small rivers.

    Settlements generally were runned up on slight declivities at riverboards or near chalk areas, providing in flintstones to manufacture weapons and tools.

    Inhabitation was intensive and in the earliest periods a remarkable density of population came off.

    Their primitive agricultural methods were suited to farm on loose, crumbly soil.Trees were either cut with a stone adze by carving a ring through the bast or burned down by fire, the dead stump being of no concern for them.

    Ultimaly, cultivation took place on wood soil, which after years received a compact structure; weblike rooting weeds could only laborously but not sufficiently be removed, therefore was it more profitable to leave the fields and search for new soils, meanwhile this abandoned lands became pastures for their cattles, thorny shrubs
    framing the fringes of wood land, so hampering that reafforest could happen, while it served too as semi-natural defence line against intruder and also keeping the cattle inside the settlements.

    Moving the fields elsewhere was however not a necessity, since loess didn't fall off of fertility in using crop rotation and cultivating pulses which are rich in nitrogen and essential for regenerating the soil.The LBK farmers seemed to support a "slow nomadism" and that could make understandable their extended spreading and high
    uniformity among them.

    There are 3 type of inhabitation.The first type would be around 30m
    long and 6m wide,with a tripartion of the inner space; less applied
    was a massive construction, the outside walls drawed by trenches and
    buttressed by piles standing in those trenches(type 1a), often
    however a trace in U-form signals the northwestern side, about 1/3 of
    the total lenght, the rest is marked by holes for the piles.(type
    1b).Walls were connected with horizontal mat-plaiting of branches and
    twigs and finished off with a plaster of loam.
    The roof was saddle-like and heavy, three rows of palissades were
    digged deep in the ground to support the structure, the central area
    was blocked by an extra row of piles.This side during the "alte
    Linearbandkeramik" had a figuration of 4 pile holes in Y-form, a
    change came by in extending the NW arm of the Y detrimental to the SE
    arm, but in the "junge Linearbandkeramik" another transition occured
    by replacing the Y by a central row of 3 piles, parallel running with
    rows of 3 piles which divide the central part from the partitions
    sideways. The second type was short and small and in two sections
    divided, but in general features a close match to type 1. Last are
    the real small houses with just one compartiment.
    Types 1a/b dropped during the "junge LBK" from a previously 45% to a
    meagre 16%, types 2 and 3 rised from 42% to 71%.

    Cremation("brandgraf") as well inhumation were equally inpractice,
    structure and gifts differ however strongly.
    Stone tools, arrowheads, flintstone artefacts and potsherds were
    layed near the head of the dead; the body itself was put on a NW-SE
    direction and in foetal position(on his leftside and lifted legs),
    only one case is reported to have the body in a backward and
    stretched out position.

    While Central Europe got only a rudimentairy firestone industry,
    large amounts of these artefacts are available in the Low Countries,
    helped by the contacts and trading with mesolithic communities from
    th Oldesloe culture, which were well present in the Dutch-limburgian
    valley of the Maas. Some are in technique and morphology related to
    Oldesloe: blades in leafform, or as discs, large and symmetrically
    triangular or broad and asymmetrical, while typically LPC are the
    asymmetrical, triangular spits, straight or slightly convex flanks
    with the base steeply retouched and concave; others have a sharp
    angle with only one cutting side and a blunt edge.

    In later period the surface became touched up and knifes had a double
    Every village had his own specialized flintstone manufacturer, who
    probably played the same role as the blacksmid.
    Their tools were as a shoe mould("schoenleestvormig"= shoe last form)
    with asymmetrical cutting edge with narrow and high vaulted back,
    which changed later in a broad and flat one. A lot of material were
    put on for wood-working. 85% of the polished stones were import,
    often from the Eiffel region, indicating a brisk trade between the
    Diets-Walloon LPC people and a kindred branch in the Rhineland.

    In general the LPC pottery was big and coarse, without embellishments
    and hemispherical in form, provision barrels were big and in ballform
    with rounded bottom(with or without a neck), furnished with heavy
    handles and either horizontal or vertical perforated. Pre-eminently
    they were made up from fine clay, mixed with sand and small
    quantities of quartz grains. Other ceramics were smoothly kneaded and
    ingraved with line patterns before baking; small(10 to 15cm height)
    and the brim bent to the inside.
    The decoration was scratched in to wavy or parallel running strokes
    of angular lines, hence their definition as "Bandkeramisch" or
    Linearband.Initially, these strokes were filled up with white or red
    Earliest pottery show these scratchings missing the impresed dots and
    only the brim was decorated.
    Then dots were usually in practice, but just slightly apportioned.
    winding lines and spirals were common for the settlements in Dutch
    Limburg,however an outshoot was attested in Luiks Haspengouw.
    Later, both in Belgian as Dutch Limburg, the ornaments became richer
    and more variating; the scratchings or carvings disappear.
    Most pottery belonged to the junge Linearbandkeramik with their
    recurring motifs of twisted lines, undulations, sirals and rhombic
    figures, constantly filled up with spots, squares and networks of
    parallel and transversal lines.
    Seldom appear fish-bone figures, sun symbols, crunked crosses or
    schematic representation of corn-stalks. In Jeneffe the decoration
    was applied with a piece of wicker-work, while only locally in
    Haspengouw fingernotching as in use for pottery destined for export
    to the Rhineland.
    Pottery with zigzag ridges and bands of dotting were a speciality
    from Germany.
    Trade between the colonists and land of origin must have been
    continously and intensely, marking out long-established
    contacts ,assuring flows of new elements and similar developments in
    ceramics in a wide-spread area.
    Nevertheless, the Linearbandkeramische Kultur didn't survive for long
    in our regions, just over four centuries at most with a rapid decline
    in BK-populace, which to date can't be answered for.

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