Bell-Beaker Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Bell-Beaker Culture


(bearers of the culture are known as the Beaker folk), an archaeological culture of the Aeneolithic period (the third and beginning of the second millennia B.C.), which was widespread in southern and central Europe and in Great Britain. The culture was named for the characteristic form of its vessels, shaped like upside-down bells. The culture is primarily known from burials: in grottoes (in the south), in cists, in simple pits, and sometimes in burial mounds. The burial rite usually involved inhumation, and more rarely, cremation. The articles found in the graves include clay vessels, copper daggers, flint and obsidian arrowheads, and stone, bone, and amber buttons.

There are several local groups of the bell-beaker culture. The central European group engaged primarily in stockraising, hunting, and gathering. Metal casting and weaving were also known. Traces of farming have been found. The origin of the bell-beaker culture remains disputed. Most scholars believe that the culture originated on the Iberian Peninsula, but there are some who hold that it came from the western Mediterranean, North Africa, or the eastern Mediterranean. Some investigators see a link between the bell-beaker culture and the corded-ware culture that preceded it in Europe. The fate of the bell-beaker culture varied from region to region. Many of its groups played a significant role in the formation of the culture of the early Bronze Age in central and southern Europe.


Childe, V. G. U istokov evropeiskoi tsivilizatsii. Moscow, 1952. (Translated from English.)
Hájek, L. “Glockenbecherkultur.” In Enzyklopädisches Handbuch zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte Europas, vol. 1. Edited by J. Filip. Prague, 1966. (Bibliography.)


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.