Prehistoric still has no good models for the formation of archaeological cultures. The ethnic paradigm has been replaced by the idea of groups with fuzzy boundaries (Clarke) or simple “style-groups” (Lüning) that does not explain how or why new groups form. Andreas Zimmermann has proposed changing communication intensities and the formation of language or dialect boundaries. Simple stochastic error can explain how larger groups fragment (Shennan and Bentley), but not the formation of new, and normally far more cohesive groups.
With the long chronology introduced with 14 C and especially calibration, one of the implicit assumptions of Neolithic archaeology was a generally slow pace change in the material culture. However, recent studies by the teams lead by Alastair Whittle, Stephen Shennan and Boucquet Appel, among others have demonstrated the existence of periods of quite rapid change, both of pottery styles and types of monuments. The idea of invasions seemed utterly discredited after Kossinna and the war, but now population expansion and population movements are – rather carefully – introduced as explanations again. The formation of ethnic identities following political changes would be another model to explain these rapid changes. In the paper, I explore the possibility of linking the use of specific lithic raw materials with ethnic groups.