The Pitted Ware culture (ca 3200 BC– ca 2300 BC) was a neolithic Hunter-gatherer culture in southern Scandinavia, mainly along the coasts of Svealand, Götaland, Åland, north-eastern Denmark and southern Norway. It was first contemporary and overlapping with the agricultural Funnelbeaker culture, and later with the agricultural Corded Ware culture.
The culture has been named after the ornamentation of its pottery, which is usually round pits and horizontal lines. The vessels are uniform and have usually pointed bottoms in order to facilitate positioning in the soil or on the hearth. Their height varies from only a few cm to 40. The settlements on the Swedish east coast have produced large quantities of pottery. At Fagervik on Bråviken in Östergötland archaeologists have found 170 000 shards, but few flint objects. The pottery from Fagervik have provided a chronology with five phases. Fagervik 1 represents pottery from the Funnel Beaker culture while Fagervik 2-4 represents Pitted Ware pottery, Fagervik 3 and 4 are considered typical Pitted Ware pottery. Fagervik 4 is usually very porous because the clay was tempered with limestone. Fagervik 5 contains pottery from the Corded Ware culture.
Tanged arrow heads made from blades of flintstone are abundant on Scandinavia's west coast, while pottery is sparse. The culture was consequently less homogeneous than the contemporary and overlapping agricultural cultures.
Its array of tools and weapons is largely borrowed from the Funnelbeaker and the Corded Ware cultures, while these cultures stayed very conservative with their own. The characteristic pottery is probably based on that of the Funnelbeaker culture, but what was unique for the Pitted Ware culture were the small clay figurines of animals.
The unique Alvastra Pile Dwelling in south-western Östergötland belongs to the Pitted Ware culture when the pottery is concerned, but to the Funnelbeaker culture in tools and weapons. Hunting and gathering in combination with agriculture and animal husbandry points to a mixed economy, a combination which was probably common in southern Scandinavia at the time.