Station: [215] Corded Ware and Bell Beaker Culture

By the end of the Neolithic, between 2800 and 2200 BC, there were two uniform cultures in Central Europe; the older one is called the Corded Ware Culture and the newer one, the Bell Beaker Culture. The first name is derived from the string/cord used to decorate the beakers and amphorae, and the second from the typical bell-shaped beakers that evoke convivial drinking sessions. Although only a few settlements have been found in Saxony, quite a number of graves have been located, suggesting that the settlement pattern was denser.  Regions such as Oberlausitz, which had previously been little settled, were taken in hand.  The funerary rites also made a clear distinction between male and female graves.

The women of the Corded Ware Culture were dressed in robes that were decorated with sewn-on animal teeth or small-shell platelets. The men were buried with their weapons, which were not only used for hunting, but also for killing people. The skull in this display shows a mortal wound around the area of the left temple. We have been able to work out what sort of weapon was used from the slant of the impact; it was an axe. The two fighters may have been facing each other; this was a right-handed blow.  Carefully produced axe-heads were a typical feature of the Corded Ware Culture.

Dead Bell Beaker Culture males were fitted out with boar tusks and daggers, as well as arrowheads and wrist guards. Bows and arrows probably played a major part in the Bell Beaker culture’s fighting methods. The human elbow bone in the case is scarred by a wound that never healed. Modern investigative techniques reveal that it was caused by an arrowhead lodged in the bone.

By the end of the Neolithic, the number of war-like disputes had increased.  They were probably caused by the increase in social distinctions among the population, due to different classes of ownership.  The first metal appears to have played an important part in this process; copper had now reached this area, all the way from South East Europe!