Beads suggest culture blocked farming in Northern Europe | Science News

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Beads suggest culture blocked farming in Northern Europe

Baltic hunter-gatherers, unlike counterparts to the south, resisted farming’s spread

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2:00pm, April 8, 2015
Forager jewelry

CHANGING STYLES  Necklaces and other ornaments used by members of some of the last Central and Southern European hunter-gatherer societies date to between 8,000 and 7,500 years ago. These foragers' jewelry style changed in step with the spread of farming, new research finds.

Ancient Europe’s agricultural revolution got no love in the north. European hunter-gatherers living near the Baltic Sea clung to their traditional way of life as farming societies sprouted across Central and Southern Europe, a new study suggests.

Clues to ancient Europeans’ openness to or rejection of agricultural life come from the beads they left behind. From roughly 11,000 to 5,000 years ago, hunter-gatherers in central and southern regions increasingly adopted types of ornamental beads favored by incoming farmers, say archaeologist Solange Rigaud of New York University in New York City and her colleagues. A transition to these personal decorations, which presumably had social and symbolic meanings, signals broad acceptance of farmers’ cultural practices by foraging groups that covered a large swath of Europe, Rigaud’s group

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