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    Neolithic Age in Western Europe Recent interpretation of archaeological evidence has shown an increasing tendency to reduce the duration of the neolithic age as against the claims of the mesolithic and bronze ages, until, as a period, it has seemed in danger of extinction. In Britain, recent researches, notably the pottery analyses of Mr. Stuart Piggott, have placed the neolithic on a more assured basis; and a similar service is performed for the neolithic and chalcolithic periods of western Europe in Antiquity of March by Jacquetta Hawkes. As a starting point is taken an early culture which is identified in south and east France. It passed, presumably up the Rhone Valley, to the western Swiss lakes, where it became established in the first Danubian period. Thence it passes to Britain without touching Brittany. It is not yet possible to determine the exact limits of distribution of this culture. In the next phase, a period of differentiation, one offshoot, coming under Danubian influence, forms the Michelsburg culture, while another branch, spreading westward, joins with an influence from southern France, producing a more sophisticated type of pottery, and is responsible for the Chassey culture. This spreads farther westward and joins with other elements to produce the elaborate chalcolithic culture of Brittany. Cutting across this ‘western culture’ from Belgium to the Channel Islands is the Seine-Oise-Marne culture, of which the most characteristic feature is the vase with everted rim, well-marked shoulders and splayed foot. The pottery of this last-named culture, it has been suggested, shows a relationship with that of the peoples who in the meanwhile, and after severe flooding, had resettled the western Swiss lakes, their culture showing affinities with that of their predecessors, but developing new features.

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