Abstract and Keywords
The essay describes major movements of people and ideas in central and eastern Europe during the sixth to third millennium BC. For the sixth millennium, Neolithization itself is the main issue, the debate about which reflects changing attitudes in central European archaeology over the past two decades. The spread of a solar–cosmological ideology is suggested at the beginning of the fifth millennium, manifested in circular enclosures with astronomical orientations. In the late fifth and early fourth millennium the Neolithic economy and areas of habitation are considerably enlarged in central Europe, suggesting new agricultural techniques. The later fourth and early third millennium was a time of far-reaching innovation with the development of wheeled transport; in contrast to earlier opinions an origin in the Pontic steppe zone seems highly probable. The latest large-scale movement of ideas and/or people considered here is the diffusion of the Corded Ware culture, and with it, a new gender-specific ideology, reflected in its rigid burial customs.
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