A new chronological study of the LBK in the central Polish lowlands shows that it emerged later, lasted for a shorter period, and ended sooner than has been supposed up till now. LBK communities emerged, probably in the middle of the 53 rd century cal BC, to form an enclave in the central Polish lowlands, probably as a result of colonisation from loess areas in the south of Poland. Settlement steadily intensified throughout the 52 nd century cal BC, reaching its peak at the beginning of Phase III. In the middle of the 51 st century cal BC there followed an abrupt decline or collapse, and LBK occupation of the lowlands had probably ended completely by the end of that century. There followed an appreciable gap before the re-emergence of settlement in the form of the Late Band Pottery culture (LBPC), characterised by significantly sparser settlement, changed dwelling structures and contacts with hunter-gatherer groups. A start to the wider task of comparing the situation in the central Polish lowlands with other regional sequences is made principally by reviewing similar formal modelling of a post-LBK hiatus in the Rhineland. Possible factors causing the LBK decline are discussed, including climatic downturn, population boom and bust, warfare, cultural malaise, disease and internal social conflict. None of these is overwhelmingly convincing on its own, and one of the many challenges for continuing research in the Polish lowlands and beyond will be to find further specific evidence to decide which of this range of possibilities is most plausible in specific contexts.