Heinrich Härke

Heinrich Härke
Higher School of Economics Moscow · Centre for Classical and Oriental Archaeology

Doctor of Philosophy

About

117
Publications
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Introduction
I am an archaeologist with a current research interest in early medieval urbanization, trade, and state formation; the history of archaeology; and archaeological theory and methodology. I have a field project in the deserted town of Dzhankent (Aral Sea region, Kazakhstan), together with Russian and Kazakh colleagues. Earlier in my academic career, I did research on prehistoric subjects before moving into early medieval archaeology (burial rites, migration, ethnicity).

Publications

Publications (117)
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The paper provides, in a series of anecdotal observations and accounts, an impression of the main political and cultural conditions under which archaeology is being conducted in Central Asia (Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan) in the early years of the 21st century. The author uses almost exclusively the experience of his own work in the regi...
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The emerging and vibrant field of environmental humanities to date has not received considerable attention in Central Asia. In light of the Anthropocene crises, there is a real urgency for maturing this field and investigating the methodological and epistemological challenges that environmental topics demand, often working across disciplinary habit...
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In the late first millennium AD, the region around the Aral Sea comprised two broad cultural zones: in the south the civilizations of Central Asia, in the north the steppe nomads. On the interface of these two worlds, there is a curious cluster of urban sites in the northern delta of the Syr-Darya (Jaxartes) close to the ancient shore of the Aral S...
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Review of an in-depth study of the history of pre- and protohistoric archaeology from 1630 to 1850.
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The Anglo-Saxon immigration of the 5th-6th centuries AD led for the Continental immigrants to a dual contact situation in the British Isles: with the native inhabitants of the settlement areas in south-eastern England (internal contact zone), and with the Celtic polities outside the Anglo-Saxon areas (external contact zone). In the internal contact...
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Our project at Dzhankent/Jankent addresses the origins and development of a town in the first millennium AD in the eastern Aral Sea region. In its current format, the project has been run since 2011 in collaboration of the University of Kyzylorda (Kazakhstan), the University of Tübingen (Germany) and the Russian Academy of Sciences (Moscow). Key qu...
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Update on methods and results of fieldwork (up to and incl. 2019) at the early medieval town of Dzhankent, Aral Sea region, Kazakhstan, with a summary of our current interpretation of the site. Free access online at https://www.e-a-a.org/EAA/Publications/Tea/Tea_66/Research_news/EAA/Navigation_Publications/Tea_66_content/Research_news.aspx
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We present the earliest evidence for domestic cat (Felis catus L., 1758) from Kazakhstan, found as a well preserved skeleton with extensive osteological pathologies dating to 775–940 cal CE from the early medieval city of Dzhankent, Kazakhstan. This urban settlement was located on the intersection of the northern Silk Road route which linked the ci...
Article
The Koban archaeological culture is a well-known Northern and Central Caucasus culture that has been widely distributed throughout this region during the end of Bronze Age, and the beginning of the Iron Age. Named after the Koban cemetery (Republic of North Ossetia, Russia), it had highly developed agriculture and metallurgy. The Koban culture had...
Conference Paper
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A series of 63 14C dates were obtained from non-destructive core-drilling across the Dzhankent site (the early medie- val town located in Eastern Aral region), a second series – 58 dates from stratigraphic sections within excavated areas. Most of 14C dates are between the 7th and 10th centuries; clear up-section trends from older to younger ages ma...
Chapter
While the Soviet Union continued many of the tsarist Russian policies in Central Asia, there were also some significant differences which make it difficult as well as interesting to compare Soviet archaeological expeditions in the region with “colonial archaeology”. This paper presents the case study of the Khorezmian Expedition of the Academy of S...
Book
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Klin-Yar is a well-known, large cemetery of regional importance, located outside the spa town of Kislovodsk in the foothills of the North Caucasus (Russian Federation). Before 1993, some 350 graves had been excavated here. The presence of three distinct cultural phases in the cemetery led to a project which aimed to test the accepted hypothesis t...
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The early medieval town of Dzhankent in the Syr-Darya delta close to the Aral Sea (Kazakhstan) is interpreted as a Khorezmian trading site operating under the control of the Oguz nomad elite at an economically strategic location. Oguz state formation would, in turn, have drawn on the town as it provided the specialists (scribes, traders and craftsm...
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Migrations of “tribes”, and mobility of elites, figure in many narratives of state formation and nation-building. But the frequent assumption that early medieval migrations regularly led to state formation is not borne out by a critical look at western European cases between the fi fth and eleventh centuries AD. The outcomes of migrations in this p...
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Review of a monograph on the project of radiocarbon-dating of Anglo-Saxon graves with grave-goods. The project resulted in a re-dating of the end of the Anglo-Saxon grave-goods custom (suggested to have happened by the end of the 7th century AD).
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Personal reflections on the role of age in the concern with archaeological theory (in German).
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THE HUNS - Kim (H.J.) The Huns, Rome and the Birth of Europe. Pp. viii + 338, maps. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2013. Cased, £60, US$99. ISBN: 978-1-107-00906-6. - The Classical Review Volume 64 Issue 1 - Heinrich Härke
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Objects in graves have been a traditional focus of burial archaeology. Conventional interpretations of their meanings revolved around religion (equipment for the hereafter, Charon’s Penny), legal concepts (inalienable possessions) and social structure (status display, ostentatious destruction of wealth). An interdisciplinary perspective drawing on...
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Overview of the collaboration of German prehistorians and medieval archaeologists with the political leadership of the Third Reich, and a discussion of the implications for the engagement of present-day archaeologists with their respective political authorities.
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This study identifies a previously unknown reservoir effect at the archaeological site of Klin-Yar in the Russian North Caucasus. AMS-dated human bones yielded results that were older than expected when compared with dates of coins found in the same grave contexts. We investigated the reasons for this offset by AMS-dating modern plant, fish and wat...
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Sauromatisches und sarmatisches Fundgut nordöstlich und östlich des Kaspischen Meeres: Eine Bestandsaufnahme bisheriger Forschungen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Waffengräber. By R. Wegener . British Archaeological Reports, International Series 2072. Archaeopress, Oxford, 2010. Pp. 157, figs 30, pls 97, maps 3. Price: £45.00. isbn 978 1 407...
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An outsider's affectionate and irreverent look at archaeology in Russia
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Die insularen Angelsachsen waren unzweifelhaft das Ergebnis eines ethnogenetischen Prozesses, in dem die Integration der einheimischen britonischen Mehrheitsbevölkerung in die eingewanderten ethnischen Gruppen vom europäischen Festland eine ganz wesentliche Rolle spielte. Einwandererzahlen, geographische Zersplitterung und Zeitrahmen bedeuten, dass...
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Review of a monograph on the Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age cremation cemetery of Cottbus-Alvensleben which focusses on issues of age groups and gender/sex differences using an explicitly theoretical approach
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A list of all observations of astronomical events and atmospheric observations recorded in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle and Bede's Ecclesiastical History of the English People, together with a brief analysis and comment.
Conference Paper
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In the V th-early VIII th centuries AD, the early Anglo-Saxons in England buried their dead with grave-goods, including weapons: mostly spears (Swanton 1973), shields (Dickinson and Härke 1992) and swords, rarely axes, arrows and helmets. Graves with weapons are often called "warrior graves". But it is suggested here that this intuitive interpretat...
Article
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It is now widely accepted that the Anglo-Saxons were not just transplanted Germanic invaders and settlers from the Continent, but the outcome of insular interactions and changes. But we are still lacking explicit models that suggest how this ethnogenetic process might have worked in concrete terms. This article is an attempt to present such a model...
Chapter
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The expression of gender boundaries was a major feature of burial ritual in the fifth to seventh centuries AD in England, Scandinavia, and Continental Europe from France to the North Caucasus. In many societies, a very large proportion, in some cases the majority, of adults and adolescents were buried with an unambiguous, almost stereotypical gende...
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The influence of geothermally derived carbon on the radiocarbon dating of human bone from archaeological sites is poorly understood and has rarely been rigorously examined. This study identifies a previously unknown reservoir effect at the archaeological site of Klin-Yar in the Russian North Caucasus. AMS-dated human bones yielded results that were...
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In this issue, Pattison (2008) questions whether it is necessary to assume an apartheid-like social structure in Early Anglo-Saxon England (Thomas et al. 2006) in order to account for the apparent discrepancy between archaeological estimates of the scale of Anglo-Saxon migration into post-Roman Britain (Harke 2002; Hills 2003) and Y-chromosome-base...
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Grief, ancestor worship, social status? Considerations for the interpretation of findings in the cemetery of Klin-Yar (North Caucasus, Russia).
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Anglo-Saxon Studies in Archaeology and History 14, 2007, 12-18
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A comparison of the systems of appointing university teachers in Britain, Scandinavia and Germany shows up the German system as the least open, fair, and quality-oriented. This raises the question what impact such a system may have on the intellectual future and the integrity of the discipline in Germany. Archäologische Informationen 29, 2006 (2007...
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Reflections on the role of origin myths in ethnogenesis, starting out from personal observations in the North Caucasus
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The role of migration in the Anglo-Saxon transition in England remains controversial. Archaeological and historical evidence is inconclusive, but current estimates of the contribution of migrants to the English population range from less than 10000 to as many as 200000. In contrast, recent studies based on Y-chromosome variation posit a considerabl...
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The debate on migration and identity in Europe - Volume 78 Issue 300 - Heinrich Härke
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Bioarchaeological analysis of the archaeological and physical anthropological data of about 700 early Anglo-Saxon weapon burials and a comparative sample of burials without weapons in the same cemeteries (5th - 7th centuries AD in England) .
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In: L.B. Vishnyatskij, A.A. Kovalev and O.A. Shcheglova (eds.). Arkheolog: detektiv i myslitel'/The archaeologist: detective and thinker (Klejn Festschrift). St. Petersburg: University of St Petersburg 2004. 226-236.
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Discussion of the relationship between memory and the meaning of grave-goods in early medieval Europe. (Original German abstract:) In bestimmten Phasen des Frühmittelalters und in bestimmten Regionen Europas finden wir deutlich mehr Grabbeigaben als Grabdenkmäler. Wenn wir uns also Gedanken machen wollen über die Erinnerungskultur des Mittelalters...
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Gender representation in early medieval burials: past reality or ritual display? Problemy vseobshchej istorii (Problems of World History, Armavir) vol. 8, 2003, 130-140.
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Moving our story forward into the first millennium AD, we are able, for the first time in Britain’s past, clearly to identify populations and estimate their sizes, and we begin to see not just some details of the cultural landscape and its uses, but also changing patterns of landownership and other determinant factors. The full elucidation of the p...
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While early medieval places of power are generally thought to include royal and ecclesiastical residences, there are other sites embodying different types of power, among them cemeteries which have numinous and symbolic power of their own. This paper discusses aspects of this power and its inference from archaeological evidence, contrasting early m...
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On the experiment of social ranking of male burials from the pre-Scythian period in the cemetery of Klin-Yar III. Donskaya Arkheologiya 2001 nos. 3-4. 45-59.
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German early historical archaeology has witnessed since the 1960s an intensive debate on the social analysis of mortuary remains. It started out with the question of archaeological criteria for the inference of social status in early medieval cemeteries. In the 1970s, attention shifted from quantitative to qualitative analyses of grave goods and to...
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The Ipatovo kurgan on the North Caucasian Steppe (Russia) - Volume 74 Issue 286 - Andrej B. Belinskij, Alexej A. Kalmykov, Sergej N. Korenevskij, Heinrich Härke
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Overview (in Russian) of approaches to the social interpretation of burials in US-American archaeology
Book
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TABLE OF CONTENTS Preface Introduction 1 The German experience (Heinrich Härke) From Nationalism to Nazism 2 Gustaf Kossinna and his concept of a national archaeology (Ulrich Veit) 3 Archaeology in the 'Third Reich' (Henning Haßmann) 4 Archaeology and anthropology in Germany before 1945 (Frank Fetten) Post-War West Germany 5 Vorsprung durch Techn...
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Overview (in Russian) of approaches to the social interpretation of burials in West European archaeology
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An exploration of the ways in which, and to whom, weapons were passed on in Anglo-Saxon society before, or instead of, being deposited in graves. Evidence for this includes technical observations on excavated weapons (mostly swords) and written sources (from heroic poetry to Late Saxon wills).
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Notes on changes in material culture, architecture and settlements in Russia, based on observations made personally in the years 1993-1998, followed by some thoughts on their relevance to the archaeological interpretation of post-collapse changes (for example in post-Roman Europe).
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Discussion of the problems of ethnic identification from archaeological evidence, using the case of the Anglo-Saxon immigrants into post-Roman England.
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A close look at the attitudes of Anglophone and German archaeologists towards the question of migrations suggests that they have been shaped by factors which have more to do with the present than with the archaeological past. The changes in British attitudes are perhaps most clearly linked to the political, social, and intellectual context. By cont...
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Discussion of the archaeological, physical anthropological, textual and toponymic evidence for the presence of native Britons in the Anglo-Saxon settlement areas of post-Roman England. The paper suggests that Britons must have made up a large proportion, probably the majority of the population, but were largely 'invisible' at first, and 'Saxonized'...
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Review of one of the first collections of papers on nationalism and related issues in archaeology, with a focus on Europe.
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The provides an overview of the main features of social structure in England during the fifth to seventh/eighth centuries AD. The term 'social structure' is applied loosely here, referring to all aspects of social organisation and differentiation. The emphasis is squarely on archaeological data, and given the state of research and the nature of the...
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Outline of the archaeological evidence of weapons in Early Anglo-Saxon burials (5th - 7th centuries AD) and comparison with historians' opinions on Anglo-Saxon military organisation. Analysis of technical (weapon damages), anthropological (wounds) and textual evidence for fighting practices. The results show that there was a gradual, but profound c...
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The paper presents a detailed theoretical and methodological discussion of the intentional and fragmentary nature of archaeological data obtained from the excavation of burials, and sets out the implications for the interpretation of funerary evidence.
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This paper argues that weapons in Anglo-Saxon graves of the 5th - 7th centuries AD are not the reflection of a real-life 'warrior status', but the expression of a conquest or landnam myth comparable to the Ulster conquest myth of 'King Billy' or the Boer landnam myth of the Voortrekkers. The case illustrates the intentional nature of funerary data...
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Reflections on firearms control, starting out from the social context of changing ownership and display of weapons in the Early Middle Ages. First publ. in Handgunner 63, April-May 1995. 46-53. Repr. in Journal on Firearms and Public Policy 8, 1996.
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Reflections on intellectual tradition, historical background and structural context of German archaeology as it presented itself at the beginning of the 1990s, based on a paper given at the Theoretical Archaeology Group conference 1992. This is the original conference abstract: "German archaeology has tended to neglect theory in favour of method....
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Observations on the inference of kinship from archaeological data, written as an appendix to the analysis of the physical anthropological data of an Iron Age cemetery in southwest Germany.
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Dutch archaeology has been a strange omission in the recent bout of introspection of various national traditions of archaeology in Europe. Jan Slofstra's paper is, therefore, a welcome and important addition to the critical self-reflection of our subject. Writing the social history of one's own discipline in one's own lifetime implies comments, and...
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Following earthwork, geophysical andfield-walking survey, a limited evaluation was carried out by excavation of the enclosure and Anglo-Saxon barrow on Lowbury Hill, Oxon. in 1992. Evidence for prehistoric activity on the hilltop is provided by a few sherds of beaker/collared urn, and a more substantial quantity of late bronze age/early iron age po...
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The paper suggests a distinction between intentional and functional data in the analysis of burials in order to avoid the trap of regarding burials as 'mirrors of life'. Intentional data such as grave construction, deposition, grave goods etc. reflect primarily the intentions of the mourners; functional data, mainly biological data of the human rem...
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Report on the beginnings of a theory debate in German archaeology after re-unification in 1989
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Discussion of the links between the archaeological past and the present of the archaeologist who is studying it
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Using historiographical and ethnographic theory, a distinction is made between two types of data in archaeological burial analysis and interpretation: intentional data which are created or influenced by the mourners, and functional data which are not. It is suggested that only functional data reliably reflect past reality while intentional data ref...
Book
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Analysis and interpretation of the early Anglo-Saxon weapon burial rite in England, based on a sample of 47 cemeteries with inhumations of the 5th - 7th centuries AD
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The classification presented here is based on a multivariate analysis of the shield bosses from the Upper Thames region, carried out in 1975 (Dickinson 1976, 274–90, figs. 25–9). Intuitive methods had failed to work, just as they had probably failed for previous scholars, because shield bosses seem to lack strikingly obvious diagnostic features. By...
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The following discussion takes account of recent work, published and unpublished, but is largely based on personal inspection of the remains of some 150 shields from Early Saxon burials (Appendix 5). Comparative evidence includes the well studied Sutton Hoo shield, essentially a Scandinavian shield in an Anglo-Saxon context (Bruce-Mitford 1978, 91)...
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Very little work has been done on the use of the shield, and it is the aim of this chapter to demonstrate how this aspect may be approached using archaeological evidence. Although the use of the shield is easier to infer from written and pictorial sources, written evidence on this aspect is few and far between, and pictorial evidence is generally l...
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Shields are among the more common grave goods in Early Anglo-Saxon burials. In the investigated sample of forty-seven cemeteries with a total of 3,814 inhumations, 317 burials (8·3 per cent) in forty-three cemeteries contained a shield (Appendix 3). The frequency of shields becomes even more apparent if it is translated into percentages of weapon b...
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Early Anglo-Saxon Shields. Appendix 5: Technical data of shields from selected cemeteries - Archaeologia Volume 110 - Heinrich Härke
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Appendix 4: Shield board fittings (other than studs) in the national sample, with additions - Archaeologia Volume 110 - Heinrich Härke
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Appendix 3: Cemeteries with shield burials in the national sample - Archaeologia Volume 110 - Heinrich Härke
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Appendix 6: Notes on the shield reconstruction - Archaeologia Volume 110 - Heinrich Härke
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Although based on two, only partly overlapping samples of data, this volume provides a thorough up-to-date analysis of the forms, manufacture and uses of shields in the Early Saxon Period. A computer-based typology of boss forms provides a firm chronological framework against which typological study of other fittings and detailed technological anal...
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Although based on two, only partly overlapping samples of data, this volume provides a thorough up-to-date analysis of the forms, manufacture and uses of shields in the Early Saxon Period. A computer-based typology of boss forms provides a firm chronological framework against which typological study of other fittings and detailed technological anal...
Chapter
Full-text available
Although based on two, only partly overlapping samples of data, this volume provides a thorough up-to-date analysis of the forms, manufacture and uses of shields in the Early Saxon Period. A computer-based typology of boss forms provides a firm chronological framework against which typological study of other fittings and detailed technological anal...

Questions

Question (1)
Question
At our site in Kazakhstan, we have a finding which requires the analysis of an occupation layer without structures or finds. The essential question is: was this layer created by humans or animals? Approximate date: 9th - 11th centuries AD.

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Cited By
    • Curt Engelhorn Zentrum Archäometrie and University of Heidelberg