Station: [212] Stroke-Ornamented Pottery in the Middle Neolithic

In around 4,900 BC, people started replacing the linear decorations on their pots with indented patterns, this is known as stroke ornamented pottery. Strips, angles, and other geometrical symbols were now being applied to the unfired clay with a comb-like tool.  You can see this on both the pots inside the small showcase. The neighbouring case contains mainly undecorated amphorae, jugs, bowls, bottles and goblets.  They date from 4,500 BC onwards, when it wasn’t just the shapes of the pots and the decorative techniques that changed, they also coincide with a profound change in architecture, agriculture and the cult of the dead.

For about 1,500 years, today’s Saxony was a relatively sparsely settled region; it was divided up among regional groups that practised shifting cultivation and built smaller houses with lower roofs which could be taken down after a few decades and erected somewhere else.  These people built earthworks alongside important routes, to encourage social interaction. Their cultic practices and symbols changed  as well. Whereas Linear and stroke ornamented Pottery culture houses, tools and pots had been richly decorated and coloured, the middle Neolithic people preferred most of their pottery undecorated.

By the end of this period, from about 3,000 years BC, the finds start once again to show uniform features. Regional Groups of Funnel Beaker Culture people had extended from Southern Scandinavia to Poland, and the Globular Amphora Culture followed them.  Major changes took place, primarily with regard to agriculture; once again, people were farming established fields and clearing open meadowland.  Milk and meat production increased, and there was a growing trend to use sheep’s wool in addition to flax to make cloth. For the first time, we have evidence of carts with two or four wheels, and of scratch ploughs. Wheeled carts made it possible to cover long distances within a shorter timespan. Exotic materials and new styles show that the people were being stimulated by ideas from other regions, such as South East Europe, and Anatolia.