What if the European idea was 5000 years old? The Bell Beaker culture, the Neolithic, and Europe…

Professor Marie Besse and Dr Jocelyne Desideri, of the Section of Earth and Environmental Sciences, participated in a study from Harvard University concerning the genetic profile of the Bell Beaker population. Some of the samples taken are issued from the Petit-Chasseur site in Sion (Valais, Switzerland). The results are published in the renowned journal Nature.

The 3rd millennium BCE, between -3000 and -2000, was characterised by the presence of a particular pottery style – the bell beaker – found over the whole of western Europe and northern Africa. Researchers wonder why this decorated ceramic beaker, often orange and resembling an upside-down bell, is present over the whole European continent and northern Africa. Is it the result of human migration? Of isolated individuals? Of groups of people? Or is it a transfer of ideas?

The aim of this study was to observe DNA variations in order to discern possible population migration that could be the cause of the presence of the Bell Beaker ceramic all over Europe and northern Africa.  The results show that the presence of the Bell Beaker ceramics on continental Europe is not due to important population migration. On the other hand, in Great Britain, a turnover of about 90 % of the genetic profile was observed, attesting to the arrival of a population issued from central Europe.

Article (Nature's website)

February 26, 2018