Shape matters: assessing regional variation of Bell Beaker projectile points in Central Europe using geometric morphometrics

  • J. Petřík
  • D. Sosna
  • L. Prokeš
  • D. Štefanisko
  • P. Galeta
Original Paper


Despite the large-scale expansion of Bell Beaker phenomenon, there is a tension between the normative Bell Beaker material culture categories and their local objectification in the form of real artefacts. Stone projectile points provide an opportunity to evaluate how much was the general category of such a point influenced by regional and local factors. The aim of this paper is to explore shape and size variation of Central European Bell Beaker projectile points from Moravia (Czech Republic) to elucidate factors responsible for this variation. The sample consists of 194 projectile points from 54 Central European Bell Beaker sites (2500–2300/2200 BC) distributed in Morava River catchment. The size and shape of projectile points were studied by landmark-based geometric morphometrics and expressed as shape groups, which have been assessed in terms of their spatial distribution, raw material, and reutilization. Although several shape categories of points were identified, there is a strong degree of uniformity in the research sample. The dominant shape category (75.4 % of points) was pervasive across geographic space and was not significantly affected either by raw material or reutilization. A lower degree of reutilization of points is interpreted as a consequence of a non-utilitarian role of projectile points, which represented a critical component of Bell Beaker mortuary practices.


Bell Beaker Projectile points Geometric morphometrics Shape categories Lithic raw material Reutilization 

Supplementary material

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© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Petřík
    • 1
    • 2
  • D. Sosna
    • 3
  • L. Prokeš
    • 4
    • 5
  • D. Štefanisko
    • 2
  • P. Galeta
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Geological Sciences, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Archaeology and MuseologyFaculty of Arts, Masaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Philosophy and ArtsUniversity of West BohemiaPlzenCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Chemistry, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  5. 5.Department of Physical Electronics, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic

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