More than 7000 years ago, groups of early farmers (the Linearbandkeramik, or LBK) spread over vast areas of Europe. Their cultural characteristics comprised common choices and styles of execution, with a central meaning and functionality attached to doing things a certain way, over an enormous geographical area. However, recent evidence suggests that the reality was much more varied and diverse. The central question of this book is the extent to which notions of uniformity and diversity have caused a wider shift in archaeological perspective.
Using the LBK case study as a starting point, the volume brings together contributions by international specialists tackling the notion of cultural diversity and its explanatory power in archaeological analysis more generally. Through discussions of the domestic architecture, stone tool inventory, pottery traditions, landscape use and burial traditions of the LBK, this book provides a crucial reappraisal of the cultures potential for adaptability and change.
Papers in the second part of the volume are devoted to archaeological case studies from around the globe in which the tension between diversity and uniformity has also proved controversial, including the Near Eastern Halaf culture, the North American Mississippian, the Pacific expansion of the Lapita culture, and the European Bell Beaker phenomenon. All provide exciting theoretical and methodological contributions on how the appreciation of cultural diversity as a whole can be moved forward. These papers expose diversity and uniformity as cultural strategies, and as such provide essential reading for scholars in archaeology and anthropology, and for anyone interested in the interplay between material