Dutch beaker chronology re-examined


  • S.M. Beckerman


In the Netherlands two competing models are in use for the chronological development of the Single Grave and Bell Beaker Cultures: the unilinear and the two-track model. The unilinear model proposes a continuous development from PF Beakers to AOO Beakers to Bell Beakers, with an overlap between the first two Beaker groups. The two-track model proposes that both half-decorated and fully-decorated beakers where present in the successive phases. Testing the validity of the models is difficult. The 14C dates suffer from numerous problems such as uncertainty of association and the old-wood effect. Moreover, after calibration the majority of the dates fall into two broad wiggles of the INTCAL09 calibration curve. The chronological sequence from PF to AOO to Bell Beakers with an overlap of the first two groups, as suggested in the unilinear model, seems to be plausible. Dating the start of AOO and Bell Beakers, and ordering the phases and types, remains impossible. The separately evolving group of half-decorated beakers, as suggested in the twotrack model, seems not to survive into the BB period. New analyses of the ceramics from a group of as yet insufficiently published SGC settlement sites in the province of Noord-Holland may play a key part in validating either chronology.