Baalberg culture

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Baalberg culture
Age : Early Neolithic
Absolutely : 4200 BC BC to 3100 BC Chr.

Harz foreland to the Thuringian Basin, focus on the northern Harz and the lower Saale region

Jugs with handles, amphorae, cups, funnel beakers , funnel rim bowls

The Baalberg culture (also Baalberg culture) was an early, fully developed young Neolithic culture with sites in central Germany. It was named after the first find in the Schneiderberg of Baalberge , Salzlandkreis , in Saxony-Anhalt . It is counted among the funnel beaker cultures and is the richest phenomenon in Germany. Due to the problems with the concept of culture in archeology, the Baalberg ceramic style is mainly used today. This is part of the funnel beaker phases TRB-MES II and III in the Middle Elbe-Saale area.

Research history

The Schneiderberg in Baalberge is the eponymous site for the Baalberg culture

As an independent group, the Baalberg culture was first recognized by Nils Niklasson and Paul Kupka on the basis of the vessel types. It was previously assigned to the Bernburger type. Kupka summarized the finds belonging to the holdings of the Baalberg culture under the name 'Central German pile building ceramics'. By Paul Grimm , the first division into a high early and late occurred Voraunjetitzer stage 1937. Paul Kupka and CJ Becker parallelized the Baalberge group with the Nordic Funnel Beaker culture. Within the Baalberg culture, Joachim Preuss distinguished between an older and a younger phase according to the orientation of the dead and vascular profiling.

Type combination and horizontal stratigraphy in the cemetery of Zauschwitz , Kr. Borna . However, scientific data show that the chronological division is not relevant and that, according to Johannes Müller, it is more a question of social groups that are visible in the corresponding spectrum of types.

Settlement research

The main distribution area is the middle Elbe-Saale area. Other sites are in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Brandenburg. It is also known to be a distinct branch in Bohemia. There are also numerous individual finds from Bohemia to Lower Austria. The distribution area extends further north than that of the Rössen culture . The settlement area is self-contained.


Settlements are poorly known. Mostly through pits with typical settlement inventory (clay, stone, bone material), hearths and connected post holes, fewer individual houses in partially extensive settlements (Braunsdorf, Kr. Merseburg ).

House shapes rectangular to square, medium size. Rectangular to oval pit houses, settlement pits - use as storage, waste and sacrificial pits. Largest settlement in Pirkau Kr. Hohenmölsen - emergency rescues, but no evidence for houses. Finds were made on the walled settlement of Halle (Saale) Dölauer Heide .

Material culture

Largely undecorated goods that have a vessel structure clearly divided into neck, shoulder and lower part. Strong profiling, rounded, all vessels with a clearly separated base. Puncture and stamp patterns in the neck and shoulder area. Main forms: amphorae, jugs, cups, funnel beakers and funnel rim bowls . The vessel types, insofar as they were used as grave ceramics, are very well represented by the finds from Halle (Saale), Dölauer Heide. A gray-brown, leather-like surface is typical of the Baalberg culture. In the break, the broken pieces are dark gray to black in color. The entire ceramic inventory forms a closed circle of shapes in the area where the Baalberg culture is distributed . Amphorae: two-, four- and multi-handle vessel shape varies between egg-shaped, double-conical and round-bellied

Jugs: Baalberg's first culture, the jugs usually have a funnel-shaped neck

Cups: mostly small footprint

Funnel beakers: tall, slim funnel beakers with a small footprint

Bowls: sloping-walled bowls, protruding funnel-shaped bowls with a stepped base and buckled wall bowls

Sound devices: conical scoops or spoons

Stone tools: short, squat, round-necked ax from a closed find by (Chörau, district of Köthen and Warle , district of Wolfenbüttel ), flat rock axes with a rectangular rounded cross-section. Small flint tools such as cross cutters , triangular arrowheads (Quenstedt, Hettstedt district ), blades and blade scrapers. The metal finds within the Baalberg culture are among the oldest records in the Central German Neolithic.


Non-specialized agriculture and livestock farming. Were grown emmer , einkorn , dwarf wheat and barley . Domestic animals were cattle, pigs, sheep and goats.

Grave and burial customs

The grave forms are mainly individual graves. A larger cemetery is in Zauschwitz ( Leipzig district ). There are also double ( Schalkenburg bei Quenstedt ) and pit burials. Settlement and partial burials are a special form .

Simple earth graves appear on grave forms, as well as systems with grave architecture as an innovation. The first central German barrows also belong to this culture. Baalberge is the first culture that shows megalithic influences in the form of grave structures, hills with borders and stone boxes. These include rare heavy stone boxes, either sunk into the ground or above ground, as well as plate graves. Other grave structures reveal stone packings, wooden fixtures or a combination of stone and wooden structures.

Barrows: Contain earth and stone box graves as primary burials. In the grave mound Pohlsberg von Latdorf , Salzlandkreis , a sunk stone box was found , which was surrounded by a 25 m long trapezoidal barn bed . Body graves are common in the earth graves of the Baalberg culture. The dead lie very uniformly in a west-east-oriented stool position . Some body graves are enclosed by square and trapezoidal graves. In 1966 J. Preuss recorded 116 ditch systems in the central German area of ​​distribution. Stemmem's grave complex, excavated by W. Matthias in 1952, is 16.4 m long and bends at right angles at both ends. It was first viewed as a ditch surrounding a Baalberg burial.

In 1983 G. Möbes performed a number of new discoveries from Thuringia. In Großbrembach, near Sömmerda, an almost square system with rounded corners and dimensions of 10.8 × l0.4 m enclosed two south-north facing right stools. The grave is described as partly flat, partly deepened. Light-colored bands in the humus-rich filling suggest an inflow through water. Aunjetitz stone packing graves on the edge show that the flat hill must have been clearly recognizable. A similar system was examined in 1974 on the Sommerberg near Großfahner near Erfurt . It was a trapezoid, formed from a trench up to 2.3 m wide and measuring 19/17 × 15.5 / 14.5 m. The west side was covered by a small ceramics hut with several skeletons. A corded ceramic grave in the center also reveals that it must have been visible around 1000 years after it was built. Banded fillings were also found here.

Vessels, including combinations of jugs and cups, were found as grave goods .

Religion and cult

A belief in survival after death (or in the grave) is proven by grave goods.

Cultic findings: Erfurt Melchendorf - charred human and animal skeletal remains in a pit Wansleben, Eilsleben district - skull deposit of upright human skulls between two sandstone slabs, above a cover plate with cattle horns.

Chronological cultural integration

Older expression of the funnel beaker culture between 3,800 a. 3,400 BC The Baalberg ceramic style belongs to the Central German funnel beaker phases TRB-MES II (3800–3500 BC) and TRB-MES III (3500–3350 BC). It develops from the phase TRB-MES I (4100-3800 BC), in which south-eastern and western influences lead to innovations ( Michelsberg and Spätlengyel ).

A more complex society follows from 3350 BC. In the phase TRB-MES IV with different decorative styles ( Salzmünde , Walternienburg, Bernburg ).


General overview

  • Hermann Behrens : The Neolithic Age in the Middle Elbe-Saale area (= publications of the State Museum for Prehistory Halle. Volume 27). Berlin 1973. (outdated)
  • François Bertemes , Oliver Rück (Ed.): New research and aspects of Baalberg culture (= Old European research. New series. Volume 9). Beier & Beran, Langenweißbach 2016, ISBN 978-3-95741-061-0 .
  • Paul Grimm : The Baalberg culture in Central Germany. In: Mannus , Volume 19, 1937, pp. 155-187.
  • Thomas Kubenz: Baalberger Kultur , pp. 113–128. In: Hans-Jürgen Beier and Ralph Einicke (eds.): The Neolithic in the Middle Elbe-Saale area. An overview and an outline of the state of research . Beier & Beran publishing house. Wilkau-Hasslau. 1994. ISBN 3-930036-05-3
  • Cultural Association of the German Democratic Republic (ed.), Type tables on prehistory and early history [editor R. Feustel / S. Barthel], Weimar 1972.
  • Gerhard Mildenberger : Studies on the Central German Neolithic. Leipzig 1953.
  • Joachim Preuss : The Neolithic in Central Europe. Cultures - Economy - Environment from the 6th to 3rd millennium BC (Weißenbach, Beier and Beran 1996).
  • Joachim Preuss: The chronological position of the Baalberger, Salzmünder and Walternienburger groups within the funnel cup culture of Central Germany. In: Académie Tchécoslovaque des Sciences (ed.): L'Europe à la fin de l'âge de la pierre: Actes du Symposium consacré auxproblemèmes du Néolithique européen, Prague, Liblice, Brno October 5-12, 1959. Prague 1961, pp. 405-413.
  • Joachim Preuss: The Baalberger Group in Central Germany. Berlin 1966.


  • Jan Lichardus : Rössen - Gatersleben - Baalberge. A contribution to the structure of the Central German Neolithic and the emergence of the funnel cup cultures (Saarbrücker Contributions to Classical Studies Volume 17) . Bonn 1976; Review by Ulrich Fischer in: Germania Volume 56, 1978, pp. 574-581.
  • Johannes Müller : Radiocarbon chronology - ceramic technology - osteology - anthropology spatial analysis. Contributions to the Neolithic and the Early Bronze Age in the Middle Elbe-Saale area. 80th Ber. RGK 1999, 25-211.
  • Johannes Müller: Sociochronological studies of the early and late Neolithic in the Middle Elbe-Saale area (4100-2700 BC) (prehistoric research volume 21) . Rahden, Leidorf 2001.

Material culture

  • Heinz Knöll : The funnel beakers and their relationship to some of the Neolithic cultures in Central Germany. In: Annual journal for Central German Prehistory , Volume 38, 1954, 40–48.
  • Paul Kupka : Age, essence and distribution of Central German Stone Age pottery. Subsequent and supplementary. In: Contributions to the history, country and folklore of the Altmark, Volume 5 (1925–1930), 1928, pp. 201–262.
  • Paul Kupka: The roots of Central German Stone Age pottery. In: Contributions to the history, country and folklore of the Altmark, Volume 4 (1915–1925), 1922, pp. 364–384.
  • Paul Kupka: New revealing Schönfeld graves from Kleimöringen in the Stendal district. In: Contributions to the history, land and folklore of the Altmark, Volume 7 (1938–1941), 1940, pp. 139–167.
  • Detlef W. Müller: Early copper and Baalberg. Considerations on a grave find from Unseburg, Kr. Staßfurt. In: Ausgrabungen und Funde , Volume 35, 1990, pp. 166-171.
  • Nils Niklasson : Recent excavations in Rössen. In: Mannus , Volume 11/12, 1920/21, pp. 309-337.
  • Nils Niklasson: Studies on the Walternienburg-Bernburger culture 1 (= annual journal for Central German prehistory , volume 13). Halle (Saale) 1925 ( online ).


  • Kirstin Funke: The trapezoidal moat of the Baalberg culture of Großlehna-Altranstädt and Zwenkau, district of Leipziger Land. 2 volumes, Halle (Saale) 2000.
  • Oliver Rück: The Belleben I district ditch from the Baalberg era (Salzlandkreis, Saxony-Anhalt). The excavations from 2009 to 2011 - preliminary report and first results. In: Martin Hinz, Johannes Müller (Hrsg.): Settlement Grabenwerk Großsteingrab. Early Monumentality and Social Differentiation. Volume 2, Rudolf Habelt Verlag, Bonn 2012, ISBN 978-3-7749-3813-7 , pp. 389-410.

Tombs and burial customs

  • Ulrich Fischer : The Stone Age graves in the Saale area. Studies on Neolithic and Early Bronze Age grave and burial forms in Saxony-Thuringia (= prehistoric research , volume 15). Berlin 1956.
  • Paul Höfer : Baalberge . In: Annual Journal for Central German Prehistory , Volume 1, 1902, pp. 16–49.
  • Dieter Kaufmann , Arno Brömme: A grave complex of the Baalberg group in the Dölauer Heide near Halle (Saale) In: Annual journal for Central German Prehistory , Volume 56, 1972, pp. 39-57.
  • Joachim Preuss: A burial mound of the Baalberger group from Preusslitz, district Bernburg. In: Annual Journal for Central German Prehistory , Volume 41/42, 1958, pp. 197–202.
  • Erhard Schröter: Baalberger graves on the Schalkenburg near Quenstedt, Kr. Hettstedt. In: Excavations and Finds , Volume 21, 1976, pp. 229-233.
  • Thomas Weber: The houses of the dead In: Archeology in Saxony-Anhalt 3rd 1993.


  • Kirstin Funke: The population of the Baalberg culture. An anthropological-archaeological analysis. Halle (Saale) 2007 ( PDF; 49.0 MB ).

Web links

Commons : Baalberger Kultur  - Collection of images, videos and audio files