Roots of Diversity in a Linearbandkeramik Community: Isotope Evidence at Aiterhofen (Bavaria, Germany)

By Bickle, Penny; Hofmann, Daniela et al. | Antiquity, December 2011 | Go to article overview

Roots of Diversity in a Linearbandkeramik Community: Isotope Evidence at Aiterhofen (Bavaria, Germany)


Bickle, Penny, Hofmann, Daniela, Bentley, R. Alexander, Hedges, Robert, Hamilton, Julie, Laiginhas, Fernando, Nowell, Geoff, Pearson, D. Graham, Grupe, Gisela, Whittle, Alasdair, Antiquity


[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED]

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

Introduction

The Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture, c. 5500-4900 cal BC, is the first Neolithic culture over much of Europe (Whittle 2003) (Figure 1). As a result, archaeologists often characterise its material culture in fixed categories, such as 'incoming farmer' or 'acculturated hunter-gatherer' (cf. Robb & Miracle 2007). La Hoguette and Limburg ceramics in the western LBK (see Manen & Mazurie de Keroualin 2003), or evidence for hunting, are frequently seen as indications of surviving 'hunter-gatherers'. Hachem's (2000) detailed study of the animal remains at Cuiry-les-Chaudardes (Aisne Valley) distinguished the households of 'herders' from the shorter houses of 'hunters' (who are attributed a lower status) (Hachem 2000: 311). Hunter-gatherers are identified as variants from an LBK 'norm' (geographical, cultural and economic), an idea which is so academically engrained that any deviation becomes the problem to explain. Complex burial assemblages are similarly reduced to burials of 'farmers' or 'hunters' (Lenneis 2007; Haack 2008), and non-local isotope signatures all too quickly become those of potential 'hunters' (Bickle & Hofmann 2007; Robb & Miracle 2007: 111). This even applies to cemetery evidence, which dates to several generations after the arrival of farmers.

However, this traditional 'forager/farmer' dichotomy neglects the potential variability within both farmer and hunter-gatherer lifestyles. 'Diversity in uniformity' is a more fitting description for LBK communities (Modderman 1988). The LBK exhibits regional trends in house design, ceramics, lithics and burial practices (Modderman 1988; Jeunesse 1997; Coudart 1998). Bioarchaeological remains (flora and fauna) suggest varied agricultural subsistence strategies ar different scales (Hachem 2000; Bogaard 2004; Zvelebil & Pettitt 2008; Knipper 2009; Bogaard et al. 2011). But despite detailed regional syntheses (e.g. Lenneis 1995; Luning 1997; Ilett et al. 1982) and a debated chronology (Gronenborn 2009), monolithic categories such as 'farmer'/'forager' and 'LBK'/'non-LBK' still characterise much interpretation (critiqued by Lukes & Zvelebil 2008; Robb & Miracle 2007). Characterising LBK communities from subsistence strategies and material culture remains challenging.

One way to explore social groups within the LBK directly is through the examination of isotopes in skeletal material--for example, recent strontium isotope work suggests a range of different mobility strategies (Bentley & Knipper 2005; Richards et al. 2008; Nehlich et al. 2009), including transhumance (Bentley et al. 2008), while carbon and nitrogen track differences in plant and animal protein consumption (Price et al. 2001; Bentley et al. 2002, 2008; Bentley & Knipper 2005; Asam et al. 2006; Durrwachter et al. 2006; Richards et al. 2008; Nehlich et al. 2009; Oelze et al. 2011). Here, we reassess the varied diet and mobility of members of an LBK community through ah isotopic analysis at the cemetery of Aiterhofen, Germany. The evidence from Aiterhofen indicates more complex dietary and mobility patterns than that expected from a rigid distinction between 'farmer' and 'forager'. Rather, we argue that LBK burial practices developed from a varied tableau of possible identities, in which subsistence practices played a non-divisive part.

The Aiterhofen cemetery

About 200 LBK sites are known on the Loess areas along the Danube's tributaries in Lower Bavaria, ranging in size from a few houses to large enclosure sites (Pechtl 2009: 188). Aiterhofen in Bavaria, which is in use between 5300 and 4900 cal BC, is an LBK burial ground 5km south of the Danube on the east bank of the Aiterach stream, and may have served one or more nearby settlements (Nieszery 1995: 55-6). When burial began at Aiterhofen, approximately 100 years after the LBK first arrived in Bavaria, regionalisation in ceramic styles, subsistence strategies and house design were increasingly manifest. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Roots of Diversity in a Linearbandkeramik Community: Isotope Evidence at Aiterhofen (Bavaria, Germany)
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.