At Home in the Neolithic: Understanding Diversity in Neolithic Houses and Households

Penny Bickle 1 , Ben Chan 2 , Lech Czerniak 3 , Joanna Pyzel 3  and Christina Tsoraki 2
  • 1 Department of Archaeology, University of York, King’s Manor, York, YO1 7EP, UK
  • 2 Leiden University, Einsteinweg 2, 2333 CC, Leiden,The Netherlands
  • 3 Institute of Archaeology and Ethnology, University of Gdańsk, ul. Bielańska 5, PL 80-851 Gdańsk, Poland


In the Editorial for the special edition on Neolithic Housesholds, we introduce the history of house and household studies in European Neolithic Archaeology and outline the papers in this collection.

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  • Bánffy, E. (2013). Tracing the beginning of sedentary life in the Carpathian basin: the formation of the LBK House. In D. Hofmann and J. Smyth (Eds.), Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe: Sedentism, Architecture and Practice, 117–150. New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London: Springer.

  • Bayliss, A., Brock, F., Farid, S., Hodder, I., Southon, J. and Taylor, R.E. (2015). Getting to the bottom of it all: a Bayesian approach to dating the start of Çatalhöyük. Journal of World Prehistory 28, 1–26.

  • Boelicke, U. (1982). Gruben und Häuser: Untersuchungen zur Struktur bandkeramischer Hofplätze. In J. Pavúk (Ed.), Siedlungen der Kultur mit Linearkeramik in Europa: Kollquium Nové Vozokany 1981, 17–28. Nitra: Archäologisches Institut der Slowakischen Akademie der Wissenschaften.

  • Borić, D. (2007). The house between grand narrative and microhistory: a house society in the Balkans. In R.A. Beck (Ed.), The Durable House: house society models in Archaeology, 97–129. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.

  • Borić, D. (2008). First households and ‘house societies’ in European prehistory. In A. Jones (Ed.), Prehistoric Europe: theory and practice, 109–142. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.

  • Bourdieu, P. (1973). The Berber house. In M. Douglas (Ed.), Rules and meanings: the anthropology of everyday knowledge, 98–110. Harmondsworth: Penguin.

  • Bradley, R. (2001). Orientations and origins: a symbolic dimension of the long house in Neolithic Europe. Antiquity 75, 50–56.

  • Brandt, G., Knipper, C., Nicklish, N., Ganslmeier, R., Klamm, M. and Alt, K.W. (2014). Settlement burials at the Karsdorf LBK site, Saxony-Anhalt, Germany: biological ties and residential mobility. In A. Whittle and P. Bickle (Eds.), Early farmers: the view from Archaeology and Science, 95–114. Oxford: Oxford University Press for the British Academy.

  • Buttler, W. and Haberey, W. (1936). Die bandkeramische Ansiedlung bei Köln-Lindenthal. Mainz: de Gruyter.

  • Byrd, B.F. and Banning, E.B. (1988). Southern Levantine pier houses: intersite architectural patterning during the pre-pottery Neolithic B. Paléorient 14, 65–72.

  • Carsten, J. (2004). After kinship. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Carsten, J. and Hugh-Jones, S. (Eds.) (1995). About the house: Lévi-Strauss and beyond. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Chan, B. (2009). Life amongst the rubbish: middening and conspicuous consumption at Durrington Walls. Internet Archaeology 26.

  • Chapman, J. (1981). The Vinča culture of south-east Europe: studies in chronology, economy and society. Oxford: British Archaeological Reports.

  • Childe, V.G. (1931). Skara Brae, a Pictish Village in Orkney. London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner and Co.

  • Coudart, A. (1998). Architecture et société néolithique: l’unité et la variance de la maison danubienne. Paris: Éditions de la Maison des Sciences de L’Homme.

  • Draşovean, F., Schier, W., Bayliss, A., Gaydarska, B. and Whittle, A. (in prep.). The temporality of the house: Neolithic contexts and histories.

  • Farruggia, J.-P. (2002). Une crise majeure de la civilisation du Néolithique danubien des années 5100 avant notre ère. Archeologické rozhledy 54, 44–98.

  • Gillespie, S.D. (2007). When is a House? In R.A. Beck (Ed.), The Durable House: house society models in Archaeology, 25–50. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University.

  • Halstead, P. (2006). What’s ours is mine? Village and household in early farming society in Greece. (G. H. Kroon Memorial Lecture 28). Amsterdam: University of Amsterdam.

  • Hodder, I. (1990). The domestication of Europe. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Hofmann, D. and Smyth, J. (Eds.) (2013). Tracking the Neolithic House in Europe: Sedentism, Architecture and Practice. New York Dordrecht Heidelberg London: Springer.

  • Jones, A. (2005). Lives in fragments? Personhood and the European Neolithic. Journal of social archaeology 5, 193–224.

  • Joyce, R.A. and Gillespie, S.D. (Eds.) (2000). Beyond kinship: social and material reproduction in house societies. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

  • Kalogiropoulou, E. (2013). Cooking, space and the formation of social identities in Neolithic Northern Greece: evidence of thermal structures assemblages from Avgi and Dispilio in Kastoria. Unpublished PhD Thesis, University of Cardiff.

  • Kent, S. (Ed.) (1990). Domestic architecture and the use of space: an interdisciplinary cross-cultural study. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Kotsakis, K. (1999). What tells can tell: social space and settlement in the Greek Neolithic. In P. Halstead (Ed.), Neolithic Society in Greece, 66–76. (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology, 2). Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press.

  • Lévi-Strauss, C. (1982). The way of the masks (translated by S. Modelski, first published 1972). London: Jonathan Cape.

  • Lévi-Strauss, C. (2007). Mythologica. Prague: Argo.

  • Marciniak, A., Barański, M.Z., Bayliss, A., Czerniak, L., Goslar, T., Southon, J. and Taylor, R.E. (2015). Fragmenting Times: interpreting a Bayesian chronology for the late Neolithic occupation of Çatalhöyük East, Turkey. Antiquity 89, 154–176.

  • Modderman, P. J. R. (1970). Linearbandkeramik aus Elsloo und Stein. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 3, 1–217.

  • Nanoglou, S. (2008). Building biographies and households: aspects of community life in Neolithic northern Greece. Journal of Social Archaeology 8, 139–160

  • Osztás, A., Zalai-Gaál, I. and Bánffy, E. (2012). Alsónyék-Bátaszék: a new chapter in the research of Lengyel culture. Documenta Praehistorica 39, 377–396.

  • Parker Pearson, M. (2012). Stonehenge: Exploring the greatest Stone Age mystery. London, Simon and Schuster

  • Parker Pearson, M. and Richards, C. (Eds.) (1994). Architecture and order: approaches to social space. London: Routledge.

  • Pappa, M. and Besios, M. (1999). The Neolithic settlement at Makriyalos, Northern Greece: preliminary report on the 1993–1995 excavations. Journal of Field Archaeology 26, 177–195.

  • Pearson, J.A., Haddow, S.D., Hillson, S.W., Knüsel, C.J., Larsen, C.S. and Sadvari, J.W. (2015). Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis and dietary reconstruction through the life course at Neolithic Çatalhöyük, Turkey. Journal of Social Archaeology 15, 210–232.

  • Richards, C. and Jones, R. (2016). The development of Neolithic house societies in Orkney. Oxford: Windgather Press.

  • Smyth, J. (2014). Settlement in the Irish Neolithic: new discoveries at the edge of Europe. Oxford: Oxbow.

  • Souvatzi, S.G. (2008). A social archaeology of households in Neolithic Greece: an anthropological approach. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  • Tomkins, P. (2004). Filling in the ‘Neolithic background’: social life and social transformation in the Aegean before the Bronze Age. In J.C. Barrett and P. Halstead (Eds.), The Emergence of Civilisation Revisited, 38–63. (Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology, 6). Oxford: Oxbow Books.

  • Tsoraki, C., García-Granero, J.J. and Madella, M. (in prep.). Houses and households at Neolithic Çatalhöyük: the contribution of microwear and microbotanical analyses of ground stone tools to the understanding of household activities.

  • Tsountas, C. (1908). Ai Proistorikai Akropoleis Diminiou kai Sesklou. Athens: Vivliothiki tis en Athinais Arhaiologikis Etaireias.

  • van Gijn, A. and Mazzucco, N. (2013). Domestic activities at the Linear Pottery site of Elsloo (Netherlands): a look from under the microscope. In C. Hamon, P. Allard and M. Ilett (Eds.), The domestic space in LBK settlements, 111–126. (Internationale Archäologie 17). Rahden: Marie Leidorf.

  • Waterson, R. (1990). The living house: an anthropology of architecture in south-east Asia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Wilk, R.R. and Rathje, W.L. (1982). Archaeology of the household: building a prehistory of domestic life. American Behavioural Scientist 25, 617–640.

  • Whittle, A. and Bickle, P. (2013). Conclusion: performing LBK lifeways. In P. Bickle and A. Whittle (Eds.), The first farmers of central Europe: diversity in LBK lifeways, 385–401. Oxford: Oxbow.


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