Beaker people in Britain: Migration, mobility and diet

Michael Parker Pearson, Andrew Chamberlain, Mandy Jay, Mike Richards, Alison Sheridan, Neil Curtis, Jane Evans, Alex Gibson (Illustrator), Margaret Hutchison, Patrick Mahoney, Peter Marshall, Janet Montgomery, Stuart Needham, Sandra O'Mahoney, Maura Pellegrini, Neil Wilkin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

55 Citations (Scopus)


The appearance of the distinctive ‘Beaker package’ marks an important horizon in British prehistory, but was it associated with immigrants to Britain or with indigenous converts? Analysis of the skeletal remains of 264 individuals from the British Chalcolithic–Early Bronze Age is revealing new information about the diet, migration and mobility of those buried with Beaker pottery and related material. Results indicate a considerable degree of mobility between childhood and death, but mostly within Britain rather than from Europe. Both migration and emulation appear to have had an important role in the adoption and spread of the Beaker package.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)620-637
Number of pages18
Issue number351
Early online date17 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2016

Bibliographical note

This project was made possible by many curators and institutions throughout the UK and Ireland, too numerous to mention here, who allowed sampling of bones and teeth. The Beaker People Project was funded by the AHRC (grant 19382), and the Beakers & Bodies Project by the Leverhulme Trust (grant F/00152/S).


  • Britain
  • Bronze Age
  • Beaker
  • migration
  • mobility
  • diet
  • Bayesian analysis
  • isotope analysis
  • osteology


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