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The Trypillia Megasites of the Ukrainian Forest-Steppe

Abstract

This paper synthesises and analyses archaeological data on the Nitrianska Blatnica II hoard of metal artefacts (Ha C1a; 800–725 BC) from the hilltop settlement of Marhát. Currently, this is the largest metal deposit from the Final Bronze Age in Slovakia, providing a fundamental chronological synchronization of the Ha C1a sub-phase with Northern Italy and Central and Southeastern Europe. A spectral analysis of the serial circular jewellery shows a uniform origin from a unique metallurgical workshop and contributes to the scientific discussion with important data on economic operations in the Carpathian Basin. The closest analogies to the bronze vessels and gold cylindrical earrings come from the most important contemporary sites of the Hallstatt and Mezöcsát cultures and stimulate the notion of a large intercultural trade in prestigious goods and the practices of the aristocratic population of the Final Bronze Age in Central Europe.

Abstract

This article presents an archaeometrical research carried out on twenty-six vitreous finds collected in the Cosenza Cathedral (Calabria, Italy). The glasses have been subdivided in two typo-chronological groups. The first group is composed of 14 vitreous samples dating to the 4th–6th century AD. The second group includes twelve samples; seven are stems of funnel-shaped hanging lamps which date between the 12th and the 13th century AD, two are bottlenecks of balsamaria and three are concave bases. The aims of this study were the determination of the chemical composition of vitreous finds and the individuation of the primary glass sources. The samples were characterized through Electron Probe Micro Analyser with Wavelength Dispersive Spectrometer (EPMA-WDS) and Laser Ablation with Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS). The data confirm that all the finds of the first group are “silica-soda-lime” type glasses characterized by a high content of Na2O and a low content of K2O and MgO. On the contrary, the samples of the second group, showing higher contents of K2O and MgO, are vegetable silica-soda-lime glasses. Their composition confirms the typological attribution to the medieval period.

Abstract

In various prehistoric periods, the territory of Vojvodina became the target of the migration of steppe communities with eastern origins. The oldest of these movements are dated to the late Eneolithic and the beginning of the Early Bronze Age. There are at least two stages among them: I – dated to the end of the fourth millennium BC / beginning of the third millennium BC and II – dated from 3000 to 2600 BC and combined with the communities of the classical phase of the Yamnaya culture. The data documenting these processes have been relatively poor so far – in comparison with the neighboring regions of Bulgaria, Romania and Hungary. A big drawback was the small number of systematically excavated mounds, providing comprehensive data on the funeral ritual of steppe communities. This poor database has been slightly enriched as a result of the design of the National Science Centre (Cracow, Poland) entitled “Danubian route of the Yamnaya culture”. Its effect was to examine the first two barrows located on the territory of Bačka – the western region of Vojvodina. Currently, these burial mounds are the westernmost points on the map of the cemeteries of the Yamnaya culture complex. Radiocarbon dates obtained for new finds, as well as for archival materials, allow specifying two stages of use of cemeteries of Yamnaya culture: I – around 3000–2900 BC and II – around 2800–2600 BC. Among the finds from Banat, there were also few materials coming probably from the older period, corresponding to the classical phase of Baden – Coţofeni I–II. The enigmatic nature of these discoveries, however, does not allow to specify their dating as well as cultural dependencies.

Abstract

Food is an excellent medium through which to explore trade, economies, migration and landscapes, yet little is known about food production and consumption in the Roman province of Pannonia. Here we explore the current evidence for agriculture, trade and diet in southern Pannonia (modern day eastern Croatia) and what this may say about life in the region. The influx of new ‘exotic’ foods and technologies had a profound influence on this region. The limited archaeobotanical data suggests complex trade and local agricultural systems that allowed large towns such as Mursa, Cibalae and Siscia to gain access to a wide range of food items. The large quantities of pottery found not only helps us understand traded goods but also the local tastes and fashions, as well as to infer the types of dishes that could have been cooked. More evidence is clearly needed in this region but what we can see so far is that urban centres along the Danube Limes were firmly integrated within the wider Roman food system and that diets were probably quite varied for many who lived there.

Abstract

Antler axes are normally associated with the Mesolithic, but they also turn up again later, in the Bronze Age, where they are typically found as single depositions in streams, rivers, bogs and other wetland areas. This article provides a comprehensive account of Denmark’s Bronze Age antler axes together with a series of new 14C dates, which show that this axe type was a consistent presence in both the Early and Late Bronze Age. It concludes with landscape-related case studies examining depositional practices in different parts of Denmark. Attention is focussed here on a comparison of the depositions of antler axes, 14C dates and the landscape – also in relation to the general country-wide distribution pattern. The analyses show that long periods often elapsed between the individual depositions of antler axes within the same areas and that these artefacts are generally strongly associated with watercourses and wetland areas related to watercourses and river valleys, both in the Early and Late Bronze Age. This picture is consistent with that for the rest of Europe, where antler axes are typically associated with running water.

Abstract

The multi-faceted analyses proved that the community of early Iron Age settlement (7th century BC) at Milejowice in SW Poland used easily accessible, erratic pebbles of similar shapes for various purposes. Referring to the results of our experimental work, we examined a collection of 46 stone objects found in various contexts. Using microscopic analysis of use-wear, we identified the handstones for grinding grain and plant stalks and also used for pottery production (grog obtaining) and decoration (red pigment powdering). Some of the handstones served for only one purpose, while the other might have been used to process both hard and soft materials. The distribution of the handstones in the settlement area showed that they were strongly associated with household activities which included both food processing and pottery manufacturing.

Abstract

Following on from a few decades of osteological analysis this study presents an assessment of the data retrieved from human population samples provided by four early farming sites, namely Ilıpınar, Menteşe, Barcın and Aktopraklık, located in the lake basins southeast of the Sea of Marmara. It highlights various aspects of that population such as demographic data, health, trauma, and ancient people’s attitude toward death. The research aims to identify and discuss similarities and dissimilarities between the studied Neolithic settlements in this region, especially with regard to paleo-demographic data and the use of violence. With exception of a small group of burials at Aktopraklık that contrasted with regular inhumations, it seems that mortuary practices barely differed from one community to another, and transcended across regional boundaries. The use of wooden planks covering the bottom of grave pits, which were first discovered at Ilıpınar, may serve as an example. Early farmers of the eastern Marmara region suffered mostly from joint diseases and degenerative arthritis. Their life expectancy was similar for adults of both sexes, at between 25–40 years, while two of the four communities showed high infant mortality.

Abstract

Arguing for an integrated wool-textile economy in the Bronze Age, this paper assesses characteristics and scale of pastoral economy and sheepherding at the Terramare settlement of Montale (Modena province, Italy). Previous studies argued that Montale was a Bronze Age centre of wool production. The present work enhances the understanding of the local textile economy by investigating the evidence for sheepherding and landscape management at the site. It also proposes an interdisciplinary-based approach to investigate and reconstruct pastoral economy and sheepherding strategies in other prehistoric contexts as well.