Cultural Interaction in Central and Northern Eurasia

During the Neolithic Age:

Regional Aspects of the Corded Ware Migration




Sergey V. Sannikov, MA in Scandinavian History.

Research Proposal










й Copyright by Sergey Sannikov

August 2004



Formulation of the problem and the research questions:

During the Neolithic Age the territory of Eurasia has been marked by extensive cultural interaction, with one of the most active agents represented by the Corded Ware Culture (CWC). Distinctive similarities of the earliest Corded Ware artefacts were taken as a basis of the concept of pan-European A-Horizon of the Corded Ware Culture (Sulimirski 1933, Glob 1945, Struve 1955, Buhvaldek 1967), which was interpreted, depending on the presumable intrusive character of different regional branches of the CWC, as a result of migration. However, the problem of archaeological tracking of the migration component in the development of the CWC itself has been explicitly raised relatively late, in 1952 (Br°ndsted 1952; see: Nielsen 1997b), and remains debatable even until the present time. There has not yet been developed any convincing model of the distribution of the Corded Ware culture either in expansion or in diffusion way (Kristiansen 1989; Ebbesen 1997). As it has already been stated in the research literature, the process of either justification or falsification of the so-called horizon A (pan-European) of the CWC is closely connected with the studies in regional perspective (Kosko 1997). However, there might be noticed exactly the lack of comparative regional studies, which would consider local specifics of the CWC in its correlation with general cultural processes. The proposed research aims to fulfil this gap by the revealing of the entity of relation of the Corded Ware tradition to local Neolithic cultures of Eurasia, and consideration of regional aspects of the problem of the CWC migration. The formulated aim requires consideration of the following research questions:


1) Formulation of the tentative model of the European A-horizon.

Within the paradigm of A-Horizon might be revealed several research models, which explain the relation of cultures, comprised by the Corded Ware tradition. K.Struve proposed a division of the Corded Ware culture into two groups, one characterized by burials furnished only with beakers and amphorae (Struve 1955). U.Fischer proposed a division into Hercynian, Balto-Rhenish, and Pontic Steppe groups (Fischer 1958). L.Klejn makes his division in terms of the Amphorae cultures of south central Europe, the Beaker complexes of northern Europe, and the steppe cultures of Eastern Europe except for the Pit-Grave and Catacomb cultures of the Russian steppe (Klejn 1969). The concept of the A-horizon is widely debated in research literature (e.g. S°rensen 1997, Behrens 1997, Ebbesen 1997), depending on the absence of unity of three components of different branches of the CWC: typology of the artefacts Ц anthropological background Ц economy/social environment. Since the phenomenon of the so-called A-Horizon has been discovered from the typological studies of the artefacts, it would be reasonable to start from the consideration of this aspect of the problem.

In study of the Corded Ware artefacts two following aspects are generally emphasized: 1) Typological dissimilarity between regional branches of the CWC (Malmer 1962: 678, 805; Malmer 1975: 115); 2) Typological continuity within local Neolithic cultural complexes and traditions (Behrens 1997: 21; Becker 1990; see also: ┼berg 1912). The solution of the problem should be in the methodological field. In most cases the critics of the A-horizon concept appeal to the antiquated conceptions of the A-Horizon, based on the presumption of pure cultural transmission over vast territories. However, as it has been argued by I.Rose, we should not expect to be able to trace population movements in terms of single cultural complexes (Rose 1986:а 10). As a people migrates from area to area, it will encounter different natural and cultural conditions and will modify its complex accordingly. In regard of the CWC it has been noticed by K.Kristiansen, that Уwe cannot expect с priory to find a unified material culture between areas of supposed origin and areas of final settlementФ (Kristiansen 1989: 219).

There might be suggested a new approach towards understanding of the A-Horizon phenomenon, which would consider the typological varieties within common CWC tradition not as an argument versus the migration theory (though a number of researchers tend to oppose the idea of migration to the idea of complexity of the CWC; e.g. S°rensen 1997: 229), but as an essential component of the latter. As it has been noticed by the researchers, a greater criticism is required in the evaluation of the classical taxonomic assumptions of the Central European prehistory, based on the typological principle (Kosko 1997: 133). It is reasonable to note that the typological method should be used with a great caution in regard of issues of cultural transition and succession, since from the typological investigations are known such cases, when, for instance, patterns of decoration and form of particular kind of artefacts (vessels) were far richer than can be captured by a simple set of types, and when form and decoration of beakers did not correspond to a set of types at all even within a certain restricted territory (Boast 1998: 400).

As an alternative criterion it would be reasonable to suggest the technological factor. Comparative case study of tentative material categories as cultural markers has shown that ceramic manufacture (non-decorative steps) has highest rates of significance together with food way preferences and domestic architecture layout and spatial organization (Clark 2001).а Manufacturing process associated with basic utilitarian items can vary among traditional societies because technological knowledge is passed from one generation to the next within localized contexts. Technological style is an especially powerful methodological tool in assessing migration because it identifies the cultural background of the artifact manufacturer, circumventing the need to interpret symbols or decode stylistic messages intentionally conveyed in more conspicuous media (Clark 2001: 66).

Typological evolution might be regarded as an evidence of the process of cultural interaction. The typological method might be successfully applied to the analysis of finds, having mixed cultural features (e.g. Estonian Corded Ware pottery with protruding rim border, Lubana Lake amphoras, decorated with oval pits, or УbarbarianФ animal-style decorated Boat Axes from Finland) in order to estimate the measure of particular cultural influences in the development of the exact types of artefacts.

Construction of regional matrixes of finds, related to the presumable A-Horizon should be regarded as one of the most important aspects of actual consideration of the problem. These matrixes should comprise the following components: precise quantity and distribution of finds, typologically related to the A-Horizon; particular cultural influences, presented in the materials of finds; technological characteristics of the finds with uncertain cultural traits; chronological correlation of finds; anthropological background of the considered cultural groups; ideological and economical entity of the revealed complexes.


2) Chronological correlation of particular Corded Ware branches.

Recent C14 investigations have changed the view of the absolute chronology of the Neolithic cultures. As it has been noticed by Aleksander Kosko, more extensive account of C14 datings restricts considerable the significance of taxonomic assumptions, brining new, weighty research postulates (Kosko 1997: 133). As an example of recent debate regarding the C14-dating of CWC, might be taken arguments of G.Bхgenholm, who supposed relatively late origin of Baltic STR (Battle Axe) culture in comparison with Finnish and Western European Corded Ware, depending on the uncalibrated datings from Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (Bхgenholm 1999: 220-221). Arguing against the conception of УKurganizationФ, formulated by Maria Gimbutas, G.Bхgenholm states: Уthe language of archaeology (verbalized/visualized by C14 datings) speaks against the Baltic states and the countries beyond to the east as being the УurheimatФ of the Swedish-Norwegian Battle Axe and the Finnish Battle Axe culturesФ (Bхgenholm 1999: 221). However, the investigations by Baltic researchers have clearly proved that properly calibrated Latvian datings are considerably older than the Finnish ones (see: Loze 1992; Kriiska 2001). Aivar Kriiska considered all of the four known Corded Ware Culture dates from Finland, with the date of the first appearance 3200/3000 cal. BC. Latvia, however, has 11 14C dates of Corded Ware Culture, with the oldest of these 3650Ц3360 cal. BC (with a 95.4% probability). The author indicated a number of dates from the Ica and Abora I settlements, with the oldest date going back to 3340Ц2910 cal. BC (with a 95.4% probability) (see: Kriiska 2001, e-abstract).

The present state of working out of the problem requires further application of newly developed calibration curves to the obtained datings, and bringing them into system in accordance with the chronological sequence. Application of different curves has a considerable effect on the assessment of cultural chronology (see: S°rensen 1997: 222), and therefore should be properly motivated on the basis of specifics of regional cultural development.


3) Anthropological aspects of the presumable Corded Ware migration.

Dissimilarities within the anthropological material, attributed to Corded Ware have been used as an argument against the concept of the A-Horizon as well (Ebbesen 1997).а Resent investigations have proved that any single anthropological type might hardly be attributed to the Corded Ware substratum (see: Kristiansen 1989, P.216; Ebbesen 1997: 86). Studies by Schwidetzky (1978, 1980) and Menk (1980) have shown that the Corded Ware complex is biologically heterogeneous implying the substratum culture.

The biological effect of the УKurganФ people is evident in the regions adjacent to the North Pontic area (Gimbutas 1997: 259). A study of the skeletal remains of the Late Neolithic (Tisza and Lingyel) and Copper Age (Tiszapolgar, Bodrogkereszatur and Baden) Carpathian Basin cultures has revealed that an immigration of new population of significant size occured in connection with the Baden cultural developement (Nemeskeri & Szathmary 1987). The results of analysis of morphological traits and body proportions showed differences in the genetic structure between the groups of Corded Ware and Lingyel cultures (Krenz-Niedbala 2004). Craniological analysis proved that the CWC anthropological type is sharply contrasted with the Pitted-Combed Ware type in the Baltic area by its elongated cranium and the narrow, long face, strongly profiled in the horizontal direction (Denisova 1980; Rimantiene & Cesnys 1996: 50; Loze 1996: 68). The physical anthropological data have proved the presence of central Europeans (related to the CWC population in Poland) in central Russia in the upper Volga and even the middle Volga basins (Schwidetzky 1978; Menck 1980; after: Gimbutas 1997: 322).

Certain dissimilarities in the anthropological material of the early CWC (such as e.g. between Eastern Baltic Ц Saxo-Thuringen; see: Loze 1996: 68) exist, however, without bringing discrepancy in the anthropological concept of the A-horizon. Anthropological shifts might be noticed even within homogeneous cultural communities of the East European CWC (e.g. between early and later CWC populations of Eastern Baltic; see: Loze 1996: 68), what proves that the infiltration of new anthropological element took place as a phased extensive process, which probably occurred through several waves of population movement.


4) Economic entity of the presumable CWC migration.

Revealing of the economic entity of the presumable migration process requires formulation of the basic economic model of the CWC society. As distinctive features of the CWC economy were generally noticed in research literature: reliance on stockbreeding, plough agriculture, transhumance, lack of permanent villages, extensive flint, amber and salt exploitation, tool kit (Gimbutas 1997). However, a number of these features are actually debated (e.g. lack of permanent villages, reliance on stockbreeding: Malmer 2002), and should be reconsidered with application of the data of recent investigations. The main economic features, distinctive for the CWC, might be assigned to the following categories:

a) Expanding pastoral tradition: stockbreeding and transhumance.

аRecent research projects confirmed that the later part of the Middle Neolithic is a period of clear decline in trees and bushes in favour of an increasingly open grazing landscape (Andersson 2004: 201), which corresponds a considerable production shift in Southern Scandinavia during the transition from MNA to MNB (Larsson 1998). According to the conclusion of the researchers, animal husbandry may have been practised in a fashion, which corresponds more closely to true nomadism, and the increasing transhumance in the late TRB met competition for the grazing land, since the element of animal husbandry appears to have been significant in the CWCа (Larsson 1998: 450). The sheep rearing played a major role for the CWC, being a significant difference from the TRB, whose most important domesticated animals are cattle and pigs (Malmer 2002: 150).

The continued expansion of animal husbandry and the need for open grazing land in MNB gradually also reveals itself in the pollen diagrams indicating meadow and pasture (Andersson 2004). Although the TRB culture had already transformed the forest into pastures in some regions in Jutland, especially in eastern Denmark, the SGC is characterized by a major clearance and burning horizon, whose main purpose was the creation of heath land or pastures for large herds (Kristiansen 1989). No agricultural indicators occur at this stage, and no house structures have yet been identified. (Kristiansen 1989:213).

The finds of wooden wagon components in the periphery areas of the CWC settled area (Switzerland, Baltic region etc.; see: Turek 1997) might probably be linked to the nomadic model of the CWC economy. During the early stages of exploration of new settlement areas wagons could have substituted permanent dwellings, as it was in the case of some other historic societies. The find from SlфttarЎds Mosse (Skхne) gives evidence that wagons and parts of wagons were probably in the category of sacrificed objects in the Swedish Corded Ware Culture (Malmer 2002: 164). The find of wagon remains, together with a concave-edged flint axe, belongs to the Уsame period as series of wagon wheels and shafts from Denmark and North-Western EuropeФ (Malmer 2002: 163-164). In this regard the Battle Axe society to a great extent reveals direct parallels to the Pontic-Caspian region, where open four-wheeled cart and a covered two-wheeled steppe wagon apparently served as hearses for noble burials (Gimbutas 1997: 81). The materials of Novosvobodnaja and Novotitarovskaja cemeteries reveal 250 burials containing the remains of carts, which were probably also given a sacred meaningа (Mallory&Telegin 1994; see: Kuzmina 2000).

аThough the importance of the wheeled transport for the CWC economy (Malmer 2002), as well as continuous quest for the grazing land of the CWC (Larsson 1998; Andersson 2004), has been admitted by the researchers, there has not been somehow explained neither expanding character of the CWC economy, nor the general shift of the considered УagrarianФ (Malmer 2002) society to stock-breeding, practised in a way, close to genuine nomadism.


b) Infrastructure of the CWC settlements.

As it has been fairly noticed in research literature, Уthe absence or very limited evidence for the CWC settlement sites is a fact which has to be seriously analysed in the sense of explanation of the social and economic backgroundФ (Turek 1997, P.236). Though some of the researchers have repeatedly stressed the agrarian aspects of the CWC economy and resident character of the CWC settlements (Malmer 1962, 2002), so far it is impossible to deny that the number of existent early CWC settlements is completely incomparable with the one from the TRB culture, what can not be any more referred to the lack of appropriate archaeological excavations.

Domestic spatial organization is regarded as the most reliable indicator of migration because it reflects culturally specific aspects of social organization and cosmology (Clark 2001: 41). In this regard it should be mentioned that only in exceptional cases the excavations of Battle Axe sites in southern Scandinavia have given such results that it has been possible to discuss dwelling site organization (Andersson 2004: 213). Houses seem to be wholly lacking in the archaeological material from the early Battle Axe period in the investigation area. The existing traces of Battle Axe settlements are scarce, and У...the lack of distinct house remains in southern Scandinavia in the early and middle Battle Axe culture is strikingФ (Andersson 2004: 241). The available evidence from dwelling sites consequently indicates that people moved in fairly small groups of one of a few nuclear families and that there were no big site where several households coexisted.

The more mobile way of life of the Corded Ware in comparison with the TRB is also reflected in the way that settlement places were no longer clearly marked (Andersson 2004: 214). In the CWC settlement sites the dwellings were constructed above ground without digging below the surface strata (Turek 1997a: 235). The majority of artefacts remained either on the surface or in their settlement layer near to the surface. Battle Axe sites seem to lack the pits of various kinds that characterized many Funnel Beaker sites. Whether these pits were primarily used for waste, storage, or votive activities, they mark a sense of belonging to the place.а For the people of the Battle Axe culture, Уwho only set up short-term camps, identity was not linked to the siteФ (Andersson 2004: 214).

In the closing phase of the Battle Axe culture, however, the population seems to shift to a more permanent settlement pattern (Andersson 2004: 221). In the later stages houses are small and partly subterranean, occurring in small clusters of two or three. Some agriculture was practiced, however, although grain impressions on pottery are much less frequent than in the TRB (Kristiansen 1989). Transition from the nomadic to way of life to sedate one (with increasing number of settlements on the chronological scale) should be considered in context of a general transition of Neolithic-Eneolithic societies of Eurasia to sedentary agricultural and stockbreeding economy (see: Kuzmina 2000).


c) Agricultural tradition.

It has already been stated in research literature, that there could hardly be expected to reveal a pure nomadic type pastoralism in the northern European plain or in central Russia (Gimbutas 1997: 322). It is reasonable to expect that the migrants were no longer nomadic steppes pastoralists, but they had become mixed farmers. The radical change in economy can be traced in regions where local inhabitants previously were food gatherers, namely in the northern east Baltic area and in central Russia. Here, the Corded Ware pottery people brought a mixed farming economy with cattle and horse breeding pronounced throughout (Gimbutas 1997: 322).

Although the finds dating from the Swedish-Norwegian CWC are comparatively sparse in terms of ecological facts, there is evidence of differences between the forms of farming of the CWC and those of the TRB/Pitted Ware culture (Larsson 1998: 444). The few grain impressions from Skхne show that the CWC people mainly grew barley (Andersson 2004: 201). From the nine grain impressions of the CWC attested from Skхne eight are from barley (Hordeum) and one from wheat (Triticum) (Malmer 2002: 151).

Dissimilarity in environmental and economic background of different branches of the Corded Ware, with the most remarkable example from Finnish Corded Ware, the material culture of the society with hunter-gathering economy (Edgren 1984; see also: Bхgenhom 1999, S.150-151), remains to be a controversial matter. However, though so far there is nothing to indicate that the Corded Ware culture in Finland practiced agriculture or had any domesticated animals but the dog, it is probably Уtoo early to state conclusively that no kind of farming existed in Finland at this timeФ (Nielsen 1997: 171).

Intrusive character of Finnish CWC has been confirmed by the researches of the 1960-s (Edren 1970), and its external origin does not remain to be a doubtful issue. In this regard it is necessary to mention that the subsistence strategy of migrants is a rather flexible marker, which may evolve or reduce considerably due to the environmental challenges (Clark 2001). It might be also reasonable to suggest an interpretation of Finnish CWC as an adaptive radiation process, which might have been caused by internal oppression of certain groups within the considered cultural community.


d) Exploitation of natural sources: amber and flint.

In the Baltic region the Corded Ware brought a new material culture, exploiting accessible places of flint sources, ensuring themselves with excellent series of flint artifacts (including also thick-butted flint axes) (Loze 1997: 143). However, good flint and its technology, controlled by the TRB, is not available to the SGC in Jutland (Ebbesen 1986; see: Kristiansen 1989). During MN B there existed a distributional, and probably, also a communicational barrier between the classic SGC regions in middle and central Jutland and the rest of the country. There is virtually no evidence of contact between the SGC and still existing TRB culture groups in eastern Denmark (Ebbesen 1986). It has also been noticed that the flint technology of the Swedish-Norwegian Corded Ware is considerably different from the one of the TRB (Malmer 2002).

CWC people control accumulation places of amber in the beach of the Baltic Sea, forming also completely new, unknown up to now in Latvia amber ornaments (Loze 1997: 143). Amber, controlled by the SGC disappears from the TRB culture (Ebbesen 1986; see: Kristiansen 1989).


5) Ideological aspects of the cultural changes in the Neolithic Eurasia.

The aim of the last stage is to reveal general tendencies of cultural development in the considered regions, and to explain them in terms of human ideas and mentality. Main principles of such kind of investigations have been presented in works of Ian Hodder (1989, 1993) and Christopher Tilley (1989, 1993). In this regard, the emergence of new cultural medium should be considered from the point of appearance of appropriate cultural symbols and ideological markers.

Burial customs are extremely conservative, and while the details may change over time, the basic tenets remain the same (Jones-Bley 1997). It has been repeatedly noticed in research literature that the burial rite of the Single Grave Culture does not have any local roots in Jutland (see: Kristiansen 1989). Unlike the collective burial space which the passage graves probably constituted, the Battle Axe graves were intended for one or just few individuals (Andersson 2004: 215). Though the existence of flat-grave tradition in the TRB culture has been stressed by the researchers (e.g. Malmer 2002), the whole conception of the single grave with specific crouched position of the corpse should be regarded as a unique trait of the Corded Ware/ Ochre Grave tradition, and might be associated with the idea of resurrection (birth) to another life (Andersson 2004b, ed.), which is strikingly different from the idea of belonging to a certain central place, typical for the TRB culture. CWC graves have individual grave goods, which are generally lacking in the TRB (Malmer 2002: 167-168).

The evidence for the Corded Ware burial rite may also be considered as a reflection of social diversification between members of society, including children (Turek 1997). The symbolic expression of the male and female phenomenon in burial rites probably reflects different social roles for each sex within society. The burial tradition of the CWC shows direct parallels to the burial rites of Jamna culture (Hфusler 1983), which might be considered as the most probable source for the burial rite, encountered all over the territory of Northern Eurasia (see: Kristiansen 1989).

Cardinal changes in the ideological sphere take place, with new cults appearing, including that of grass snake, Sun, Moon, which are reflected in bone and antler sculpture, amber figures, as well as in specific types of ornaments made of bone (Loze 1997: 144).

Methodology and Hypotheses


Prehistoric migrations as a cultural and geopolitical phenomenon were considered in research literature to a great extent (for the bibliographical survey, please, refer to: Kristiansen 1989; Clark 2001; Van Gijseghem 2001), providing a substantial methodological basis for further analytical investigations. In study of migration four broad categories of research have been worked out (see: Clark 2001):

1) Detection of the migration in the archaeological record

Demonstrating the migration should satisfy the reasonable criteria, formulated by Irving Rouse (Rose 1958, 1986): a) Identify the migrating people as an intrusive unit in the region they have penetrated; b) Trace this unit back to its homeland; c) Determine that all occurrences of the unit are contemporaneous; d) Establish the existence of favourable conditions for migration; e) Demonstrate that some other hypothesis, such as independent invention or diffusion of traits, does not better fit the facts of the situation. First stage of the identification should focus the three following components, defined by Kristian Kristiensen (Kristiansen 1989): a) Intrusion of an alien group (resettling); b) Migratory route (connection); c) Mother culture (origin).

There exist several theoretical frameworks for archaeological identification of migration (Clark 2001). Theory of Уcultural driftФ, advocated by Lewis Binford, might be applied to study of the A-horizon, where the distances between the presumable territory of cultural origin and the territory of final residing could cause considerable cultural drifts. This approach breaks down artefact variability and correlates it with specific behaviours. Artefact variability might be attributed either to it primary function, which is a use as an adaptive tool, and secondary function, related to style and cultural tradition. Subtle variation in material culture that inevitably developed between groups who were not in frequent contact is signified as a Уcultural driftФ. The cultural drift, isolated from the random variability, might be therefore used to track the movements of specific groups (Binford 1963).

Theory of Уisochrestic variatioinФ (Sackett 1977), developed by James Sackett within the framework of postprocessual school, might be applied to analysis of assemblages of artefacts with mixed cultural features. The theory is based on the abstract concept of style with tangible cultural behaviour, and the assumption that there is often more than one feasible method to accomplish the same function, which means that the choices made from the range of options can also be considered stylistic behaviour (Clark 2001).

Theory of Уphysical and contextual visibilityФ might be applied to analysis of the complexes of artefacts, associated with the presumable migrant culture. The theory is based on the strategy of isolation specific artefact attributes that reflect enculturative background or Уstyle without a messageФ (Carr 1995; see: Clark 2001). In terms of tracking migration, one has to track the attributes with low contextual visibility, wherein the number of viewers, openness of viewing setting, viewer attentiveness, and average viewing time are minimized. The tools, installations, utilitarian vessels, and waste associated with domestic life are potentially rich in attributes that can be used to assess migration.

It is assumed to be most essential to consider the cultural entity of the Corded Ware from the cases with uncertain cultural features, when transition of cultural traits with low contextual visibility from the Corded Ware to the local cultures might be regarded as a significant marker of migration process. The study therefore should focus the debatable encounters of the Corded Ware features from different local substrata. The changes of the material culture should be considered in context of anthropological, economic, and ideological background of the process.


2) Motivation for movement.

Generally, motivations for migration can be assigned to УpushesФ from current settlement areas and УpullsФ into target destinations, while push and pull factors include both environmental and social variables (Anthony 1990, Clark 2001). Push factors for migration might be defined as (Kristiansen 1989): a) Displacement by states/empires, b) Social conflict/tribal competition, c) Ecological/economic pressure. It should also be mentioned that population density is not the most significant push factor, especially in comparison with the factor of social regulations, as it has been revealed by the recent researches (Anthony 1997).

Explanation of the population movement brings up the problems of adaptation to the natural, cultural, and social environments (Rose 1986). If the migration went in a particular direction in order to remain in the kind of environment to which it was accustomed, it is reasonable to assume that it did so because it was pre-adapted to conditions in the new area.а If instead it expanded into different kinds of environment, it will be confirming to the process known as adaptive radiation (Simpson 1949; See: Rose 1986).

As a general tendency it is reasonable to assume that migrant people tends to seek out the places in which it can maintain its distinctive settlement pattern and can continue its previous subsistence strategy (Rose 1986). The probability that migration will occur depends upon changes in the perceived attractiveness of the destination place. As suggested by D.Anthony, the attractiveness of region for pioneer agriculturalists (this example might be converted for the case of pastoralists) might be represented by a term in which the numerator is a measure of arable land (grazing land) at the destination place, while the denominator is a measure of the density and hostility of the native population at the same region (Anthony 1997: 24).

In this regard it is necessary to take into consideration such factors as information flows and transport costs. Migration, particularly long-distance one, is channeled by access to information about a limited number of attractive routes and destinations (Anthony 1997). At the same time, migration is more likely to occur when transportation/travel costs are low. This aspect is directly connected to the technological basis of the migrants, and their organization and logistical requirements on the move.


3) Organization and logistical requirements of the migrant unit on the move.

As it has been noticed in research literature, migration often occurs on the basis of certain social unity, when the migrating group represents particular social class with a determined kind of activity, primarily matching one of the following (Kristiansen 1989): a) Conquest, b) Mercenaries, c) Trading stations/colonies, d) Labour/stigmatized groups. As it has been noticed by J. Clark, the organization of migrant units and logistics of movement is perhaps the most difficult to reveal from the archaeological data, and this is a research topic in which considerable work remains to be done (Clark 2001).


4) Socioeconomic impact of migrants in destination areas.

Socioeconomic impact might be treated as a result of interaction, which means contact among individuals and social groups while carrying out cultural activities (Rose 1986). Levi-Strauss (1971; See: Rose 1986) has arbitrary divided interaction into two categories, weak and strong. Weak interaction consists of trade, inter-marriage, religious pilgrimages, and other kinds of sociable activity. Strong interaction includes warfare, political control, economic pressure, and other kinds of forcible activity. Weak interaction within a sphere will normally result in local development. The peoples involved will exchange norms and, as they do so, will integrate them into their own cultures, modifying them to fit local conditions. Each people will thus retain its own cultural identity. This process is designated by I.Rose as transculturation (Rose 1986: 11).

Strong interaction, on the contrary, may lead to loss of cultural identity, which is designated by I.Rose as acculturation (Rose 1986: 12). One people within an interaction sphere may become so dominant that the other peoples within that sphere acquire it distinguishing traits and will thereby assume its identity. Alternatively, the subordinate peoples may retain their separate identities but pass from their own cultural signs to that of the dominant people.


Regional aspects of the cultural interaction.


Regional boundaries: Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Germany, Poland, Czech Republic, Switzerland.


The aim of the work would be to apply a uniformed analysis to the materials from each of the regions in order to reveal the entity of cultural interaction in Neolithic Eurasia, with focus on regional variations of the Corded Ware tradition, and the ways of its interaction with local cultures. The main problem of analysis of the archaeological data from different parts of Eurasia is the lack of uniformity in the presentation of the available materials, and unequal extent of working out of the existent archaeological sites from area to area. Therefore, the first aim of the research would be the systematization of the available archaeological data in accordance with regional boundaries. It is reasonable to suggest the following cultural Уcontact areasФ for further analysis:


1.1 Finland, Estonia and Latvia

Finland represents the northernmost territory of the spreading of the Corded Ware. Contact area in Finland has been revealed by Finnish researcher Aarne ─yrфpфф by the late 30-s of the 20th century (See: Edgren 1997: 151-153). The considered area is located to the south from the line, drawn between the Bay of Viborg in the east through Tammersfors and the Gamla Karleby of the Gulf of Bothnia in the west. This area is distinctive for very rich presence of Pitted- and Corded Ware cultures, including specific kinds of CWC artefacts with mixed cultural features, considered in works of A.─yrфpфф (─yrфpфф 1939, 1952; See: Edgren 1997: 152-155), T.Edgren (1970), and G.Bхgenholm (1995). The materials give clear evidence of cultural interaction with essential data for further investigations. Emergence of the CWC in Finland remains of the outmost relevance for the whole A-horizon debate (Nielsen 1997: 171).

The contact area for Estonia might be located in the lower course of the Narva River (Narva Joaoru, Riigik№la IЦIV, Vфik№la, Kudruk№la and Lommi IЦIII; See: Kriiska 2001). Typical Combed Ware has been found in about twenty settlement sites contemporary to the Corded Ware culture in the considered region (Kriiska 2001).

The contact area for Latvia would be Lubāna Lake Depression, particularly, Kvāpāni II site, located on the right bank of the Rыzekne river (See: Loze 1987). The site is a typical Middle Neolithic monument with presence of comb-and-pit-marked ceramics (Loze 1997: 136). The materials, found in the site, allow speaking about a new culture medium with the presence of the Corded Ware and Pitted-Combed Ware cultural elements (Loze 1997: 144).а Amphoras and beakers from the site belong to the most archaic A-type (Loze 1997: 137), what allows supposing rather early encounter of cultures in the considered region.


1.2 Lithuania, Belarus and Northwestern Russia

The contact area from Lithuania is Кventoji village neighbourhood in the northern part of the Lithuanian coast (see: Ramantiene 1979). Numerous finds from the site (e.g. elk-head axe), which show direct parallels to finds from Norr-LЎvsta (Alunda parish) and Uppland, are typical for the Pitted-Ware tradition (Malmer 2002: 86). However, Кventoji site is distinctive for a rich cultural diversity, and Beaker/Corded Ware (УBay CoastФ), as well as Globular amphora and Narva, traditions are also widely presented in the materials of the site (Remantiene 1992). The materials have unique cultural value, which has been stressed by the researchers: УDue to the exceptional conditions of preservation and great number of the settlements and sites, what confirms stable people presence over a considerable period, this is especially important for the investigations of prehistoric populationsФ (From: Stancikaite 2004, electronic abstract). Consideration of these materials should be an important step towards the analysis of the cultural interaction in the Baltic.

In Belarus several local variants of Corded Ware influence are presented: Middle Dnepr, Niemen basin, Northern Belarus. The most distinctive area is Niemen basin Ц particularly, Parkhuty 1 settlement (Grodna region), located on the right bank of the Schchara river (tributary of the Niemen river) (Lakiza 1999). 79% of identified vessels from the site belong to Niemen culture, while axes and bowls show close similarities to Polish, Estonian, and Fatjanovo Corded Ware (Lakiza 1999, P.252, 260).

Important contact area from Northwestern Russia is Curonian Spit (Kurshkaja Kosa), which involves around 20 settlements sites of Corded Ware (Rzucewo-Baltic) culture, with the most significant of them Lesnoe, Morskoe, Pribrezhnoe (Zaltzman 2000). Synchronous Combed Ware Culture extended through Latvia to the Curonian Spit and to the coast of Poland (Kriiska 2001). However, cultural interaction in the region has not been well observed in the research literature.

Related contact area, which has direct cultural links to the Baltic region, is Oka-Volga basin, the territory of Lyalovo culture, which has been often seen as a candidate for Proto- Finno-Ugrian (see: Carpelan, Parpola et alii, 2002).а Contact with Corded Ware tradition took place at the time when Balanovo and Fat'yanovo cultures expanded eastward into the Volga-Oka interfluve. The materials from the region require further typological systematization in order to reveal the entity of the existent cultural interaction.


1.3 Sweden, Denmark, Netherlands and Germany

Multi-cultural archaeological contact area in Sweden is Mфlaren area, particularly Fхgelbacken (Hubbo parish, Vфstmanland), Fagervik (Stockholms lфn), Kyrktorp (SЎdertЎrn) sites. The materials of Fхgelbacken site reflect distinctive cultural dualism, which has been the focus of numerous researches (Welinder 1974; Hallgren 1996a, 1996b, 1997). The materials of the site might be correlated with the materials from Vanneberga site (North-east Skхne), where GRK and STR pottery Уoccur in different parts of the site, which means that they must belong to different stages in the history of the settlementФ (Malmer 2002: 145). However, interpretation of the materials remains debatable.

Similar tendencies for Denmark might be revealed from the East Jutland (Djursland), where during MNB has been presented a remarkable mix of TRB, GRK, and STR traditions (SЎrensen 1997: 224). The materials of Kainsbakken site show mix of Pitted Ware and TRB elements, presence of thick butted A-axes (SЎrensen 1997: 223).

Netherlands might be regarded as an important contact area for the encounter of Vlaardingen culture, TRB West Group culture, SGC, and Bell Beaker culture (Drenth & Lanting 1997). In the Netherlands, an interplay of CWC and Funnel Beaker contacts is detectable in the pottery (Waals and Glasbergen 1955; Lanting 1971). Bornwind (Friesland), Zandwerven (Noord-Holland), Velserbroekpolder (Noord-Holland). The materials of Zandwerven site show gradual transition from Vaalberge to Single Grave culture (Drenth & Lanting 1997: 56).

North-Western Germany shows distinctive similarities with Netherlands (TRB West Group - SGC), while Rhine and Middle German regions produce the evidence of interaction of Corded Ware with late Wartberg and Baden cultures (Raetzel-Fabian 2002). Bell Beaker influence was also felt in northwestern Germany had an early development similar to that of the northwest and led to the formation of distinctive groups in eastern Germany and western Poland (Wetzel 1969; Thomas 1982: 76). In the classic Saxo-Thuringian region a very few finds suggest that the Corded Ware people penetrated into a land dominated by the Salzm№nde culture (Thomas 1982: 76). During the Kalbsrieth phase, these newcomers probably forced those associated with the Walternienburg culture back into the hills. The Corded Ware of this phase displays motifs and shapes taken over form the displaced Salzm№nde culture (Thomas 1982: 76). By the time of its final phase, the Mansfelder, the Corded Ware culture of Saxo-Thuringia, which now dominated the entire area, had a pottery decoration indicating that it had absorbed much of the Walterneinburg ceramic tradition (Mildenberger 1961; Thomas 1982: 76). In the Rhine Valley there is the further complication of influences associated with the contemporary Bell Beaker complex (Sangmeister 1976; Harrison 1974; Thomas 1982: 76). The investigation of Sangmeister and Gerhardt (1965) show that the Saxo-Thuringian groups spread down the main to Hesse and the Middle Rhine, and across Bavaria to Switzerland (Thomas 1982: 76). Northern Switzerland, where Lake Constance might be regarded as a contact area of Corded Ware, Horgen, and Baden cultures (Wolf 1997: 252). Again, the pottery styles reflect an assimilation of local traits, such as the taking over of Altheim elements in Bavaria and of Horgen ones in Switzerland (Strahm 1969).


1.4. Ukraine, Poland, Czech Republic

The contact area for Western Ukraine is constituted by the regions of Prikarpatie, Podolia, Volhynia, which witness the interaction of Jamnaya and Corded Ware cultures (Klochko 1994). Middle Dnepr culture, which is a local variant of Corded Ware culture with some influences from Yamnaya and Catacomb culture, is richly presented in Myronivka vicinity, Kiev region (Klochko 1999: 163). Myronivka barrows contain multi-cultural burials, where the stratigraphy shows the transition from Yamnaya culture to Late Yamnaya, Middle Dnepr, and Catacomb cultures, what is an invaluable evidence of so-called УKurganФ factor in the development of the Corded Ware.

There might be revealed several contact areas for Poland, which is one of the most significant multi-cultural regions with strong CWC influence. Grzęda Sokalska region, contact area of Corded Ware, Funnel Beaker, Globular Amphora and Middle Dnepr cultures (Machnik 1999). The Corded Ware pottery from Grzęda Sokalska kurgans bears a number of traits from the adjacent cultures, being an important source for further typological investigations.

In Masurian Lakeland (sites Stacze, Wozna, Wies, Sosnia, Dudka) the pottery of the CWC always occurs as an admixture to Niemen culture (Guminski 1997: 95). The materials of the sites produce evidence of interaction of Zedmar, Funnel Beaker, Globular Amphora, Nieman, and Corded Ware cultures. In this regard is remarkable Dudka site, which represents all the Neolithic cultures of Masurian Lakeland neighbourhood. The relationship between cultural traditions within the considered area should be an object of further examination.

Kujawy area is a distinctive contact zone for Corded Ware and Funnel Beaker cultures (Kosko 1997, 1999). The pottery shows transitional forms from TRB to A-Horizon of Corded Ware, and the relation between the two cultures remains debatable. The territory between the Kamienna, Vistula, Nida, and Bobrza rivers (Małopolska Plateau) is remarkable for the presence ofа УmixedФ Złota culture, which bears traces of Baden and CWC influence (Krzak 1976).

As a contact area for Czech Republic should be regarded the region of Lomsk¤ potok and Střela river areas. The territory is partly occupied by local Řivnсč culture, Cham culture, as well as Corded Ware and Beaker culture (Benes 1997; Dobes & Buchvaldek 1993; Buchvaldek 1986). Transitional forms are also presented by JeviЪovice culture, which bears general traits of Corded Ware and Baden cultures. South and east of Saxo-Thuringia, closely related Corded Ware groups arose in Bohemia and Moravia, where their development is now usually traced according to the theories of development proposed by Buchvaldek (1966). His theories not only take into account relationships with Rivnac culture of Bohemia, but also account for a somewhat different course of development that is found in Saxo-Thuringia. The differences found in Bohemia and Moravia are due to interaction with the Baden or Channeled Ware culture of the southern areas of theses lands, and the influence of the Bell Beaker complex. The flux of influences that characterized the later stages of Bohemian and Moravian Corded Wares became more complex because of the influence of East Alpine centers, which probably played as great a role as the Bell Beaker complex in laying the foundation for the Early Bronze Age.


Significance of the research


Relation of the Corded Ware A-Horizon to the spreading Indo-European population of Europe remains a controversial issue since the early 20th century, when scientific discussions regarding ethnical attribution of the Neolithic cultures of Europe took place in research literature. The recent years have been marked by the growing interest towards the Indo-European problem (Prescott & Wahlderhaug 1995; Bхgenholm 1999; Welinder 2003) and the issues of prehistoric migrations (Damm 1993; Persson 1999; Kristiansen 2002), both being the crucial questions of identity in Scandinavian archaeological research. The authors presented different approaches to the problem, what may be regarded as a revival after the methodological uniformity of the 1970-80-s, when Уduring a period of approximately 20 years the migration theory has been nearly completely expelled out from the Scandinavian archaeological theoryФ (Bхgenholm 1999: 155 Ц the translation of the quote is mine Ц S.S.). However, it is necessary to note that the problem of the Corded Ware origin and spreading has not yet been considered in modern Scandinavian research literature to an extent, which it actually deserves. Even one of the most significant works in the field of ethnical and cultural history of the Neolithic of Northern Europe, published during the last period (Bхgenholm 1999), does not consider the problem of the Corded Ware migration thoroughly, but treats it in a context of a rather fragmentary presentation.

In this regard it should be mentioned that the thesis of Johannes Br°ndsted, suggesting the interpretation of the Battle Axe or Corded Ware Culture as the most probable candidate for archaeological traces of migrations of Indo-European tribes in Europe around the third millennia B.C. (Br°ndsted 1952) remains relevant even until the present days, turning the dispute regarding the essence of the CWC to be the crucial point of the Indo-European discussion. The lack of complex research of the Battle Axe culture remains, and any further approach to the solution of the Indo-European problem would necessarily require thorough and complex study of the Corded Ware culture, which would give a key to understanding of cultural and ethnical development of prehistoric Eurasia.



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