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Southeastern Europe in the transition to agriculture in Europe: Bridge, buffer, or mosaic (2000)



Plants and animals originally domesticated in the Near East arrived in Europe between 7000 and 4000 BC. Was the new technology introduced by migrants, or was it an 'inside job'? How were the new species adapted to European conditions? What were the immediate and long-term consequences of the transition from hunting and gathering to farming? These central questions in the prehistory of Europe are discussed here by leading specialists, drawing on scholarship in fields as diverse as genetics and IndoEuropean linguistics. Detailed studies document the differences between European regions, and fresh generalisations about the origins of European agriculture are also proposed and debated.
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... Bocquet-Appel et al., 2012), a dispersal event occurring within two distinct geographical corridors: on the one hand, the Adriatic basin, linked to the Impressa complex (Forenbaher and Miracle, 2006;, and on the other hand, the Danube basin associated with the Starčevo-Körös-Criş complex (hereafter SKC) (Aranđelović- Garašanin, 1954;Dimitrijević, 1969;Garašanin, 1979;Minichreiter, 1992). More precisely, the latter stretches across the greater part of the Balkans, including Serbia, northern Croatia and northeastern Bosnia (Starčevo group), the Tisza valley in the Great Hungarian Plain (Körös group), and Transylvania (Criş group) (Tringham, 2000;Whittle et al., 2002). ...
... According to Pelegrin's experimental work it is possible to distinguish five modes of pressure technique based on blade width: 1) by hand, using a small antler pressure flaker, for micro blades; 2) by hand, using a shoulder crutch, for small blades; 3) in a sitting position, using a short crutch for longer blades; 4) in a standing position, using a long crutch, for elongated blades; 5) using a lever for very long blades. Since pressure technique represents a key technological and cultural marker for the identification of specialised production and mechanisms of technological and/or cultural transmission (Inizan et al., 1999;Pelegrin, 2012;Tixier, 2012), the assemblages were compared based on the modes used for making blades. Looking at width range of complete blades and all blade fragments (Figs.11a-f and 12) it can be assumed that blades made of chert, Balkan flint and opal (KRE, MED, KOZ BF, KOZ chert and BRE assemblages) were mainly produced by modes 3 and 4, and obsidian blades (KOZ obsidian) by modes 1 and 2. This implies quite standardised production of blades across the entire studied area, which was independently indicated by the results of previous analysis. ...
... u periodu od poslednje četvrtine šestog do sredine petog milenijuma pre nove ere. Istraživanje društvene strukture neolitskih i eneolitskih zajednica na Balkanu ima dugu tradiciju (Chapman 1991(Chapman , 2010(Chapman , 1990(Chapman , 1981Halstead 1989Halstead , 1995Halstead , 1999Windler, Thiele, and Müller 2013;Müller 2012;Arponen et al. 2016;Tringham 1992;Tringham, Brukner, and Voytek 1985;Tringham and Krstić 1990;Tringham 2000;Borić 2015Borić , 2008Borić , 1996McPherron and Christopher 1988;Tripković 2007Tripković , 2015Porčić 2019b;Glišić 1968;Tripković 2013), a u poslednjih deset godina istraživanja su usmerena eksplicitno na merenje i kvantifikaciju stepena društvene nejednakosti (Porčić 2019a(Porčić , 2012Windler, Thiele, and Müller 2013). Ovaj rad predstavlja doprinos empirijskoj osnovi za rekonstrukciju i merenje nivoa nejednakosti u kasnom neolitu centralnog Balkana na osnovu nedavno objavljenih naseobinskih podataka koji se mogu iskoristiti za ocenjivanje prisustva i stepena nejednakosti u praistorijskim društvima. ...
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The social inequality represents one of the major problems of the contemporary world and an important anthropological subject. The transition to agriculture is often viewed as an important turning point for the development of social inequality in (pre)history. For this reason, the study of the social inequality in the Neolithic communities is of particular importance for the understanding of the origins and the development of this phenomenon. This paper represents an empirical contribution to the study of social inequality in the Late Neolithic in the Central Balkans (5300-4500 BCE). The aim is to quantify and estimate the levels of inequality between households in three Late Neolithic settlements: Belovode, Pločnik, and Drenovac. In line with the current methods for the estimation of social inequality from archaeological remains, this study relies on the house floor area as a proxy for household wealth. The house floor area measurements are based on the geophysical survey data published in the literature with around 1000 house floor area measurements available for the analysis. The Gini index is calculated for each site based in the distribution of house floor area. The results suggest that the social inequality on all three sites was relatively low, as the Gini values range from 0.18 to 0.22. These values fit well with the Gini estimates based on the previous research of the social inequality in the Neolithic and Eneolithic period in the Central Balkans. When compared to the cross-cultural variation based on the ethnographic, historical and archaeological sources from the literature, these values are low compared to other horticultural and agricultural communities. One potential explanation for such low values is that the agricultural production in the Late Neolithic of the Central Balkans was labor-limited rather than land-limited, which usually results in the low potential for social inequality, as hypothesized and shown by Bogaard et al. (2019). On the other hand, we must keep in mind that the wealth is measured by proxy which is suitable for the detection of statistical trends in cross-cultural comparisons, but may be less reliable for individual cases. Moreover, it is not certain that the individual house is the basic social unit, as it is possible that the basic social unit for a corporate group which includes extended families living in several houses. Therefore, the result which suggests low levels of social inequality should be taken as a hypothesis which needs to be tested further with other classes of evidence.
The Oxford Handbook of the Archaeology of Diet aims to provide a survey of both the diversity of human diet in the past as well as providing solid information on the many approaches to the topic. Thus the aim was not just to present what we know, but how we gain that understanding. The first section presents research on the diets of non-human primates and ancestral humans using a variety of approaches to explore their environmental, biological and cultural contexts. The second section aims to show how human diet has diversified along with human expansion across the globe, from Africa to Eurasia, the Americas and Oceania. The third section focuses on human diet, health and disease across the lifespan and includes ethnographic and clinical studies as well as bioarchaeological approaches to assessing growth, health and disease in the context of diet. Each chapter combines a specific methodological approach with key research questions about past dietary adaptations.
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The Central and Southern Balkans played a significant role in the introduction and development of social complexity in Europe. This is indicated by buildings, burials, and artifacts. During the Neolithic period, the first glimpses of communal differences appeared and eventually developed into tribal elites and hierarchical tribal kingdoms in the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), Bronze Age, and Iron Age. These prehistoric stages witnessed a variety of technological, economic, and social changes that permitted the advancement and differentiation of individuals and groups. They distinguished themselves from one another by decorated structures, prestigious objects, and lavish funerary rituals that signified the different statuses or roles they held in society. In this chapter, we provide an overview of these changes from the end of the seventh to the middle of the first millennium BC, focusing specifically on the central southern parts of the Balkans.
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New scientific research and major discoveries on the eastern border of the Carpathian Basin—including the Early Bronze Age burial mounds, the multi-layered settlements of the Middle Bronze Age, the Late Bronze Age mega-forts, and an Early Iron Age center—permit us to paint a more nuanced picture of a world of peace and war. Following Early and Middle Bronze Age sociopolitical developments, the Late Bronze Age saw the rise of powerful hierarchical leaders who commanded the construction and regular maintenance of massive earthen fortifications and many times ordered formal armies with professional soldiers supplied with specialized weaponry to perform large-scale sieges.
In order to address the origins of southern Balkan Iron Age societies—the Illyrians, Paeonians, Dardanians, Thracians, and Macedonians and the extent of their hierarchical organization, we must first address the nature and evolution of their political systems. How were they organized? How was power shared or exercised among and between individuals? Was one’s power and standing based on military prowess, religion, control of trade, all of these, or none?
Technical Report
This is the first book to present a comprehensive, up to date overview of archaeological and environmental data from the eastern Mediterranean world around 6000 BC. It brings together the research of an international team of scholars who have excavated at key Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and the Balkans. Collectively, their essays conceptualize and enable a deeper understanding of times of transition and changes in the archaeological record. Overcoming the terminological and chronological differences between the Near East and Europe, the volume expands from studies of individual societies into regional views and diachronic analyses. It enables researchers to compare archaeological data and analysis from across the region, and offers a new understanding of the importance of this archaeological story to broader, high-impact questions pertinent to climate and culture change.
The Neolithic Transition in Europe was more complex and flexible as previously suggested. Around 6800 BCE, this new economy had reached Greece where some of the earliest European Neolithic sites are evidenced. To monitor this milestone of human living conditions, previously published conventional bivariate interpretations of collagen stable carbon and nitrogen isotope ratios in archaeological skeletons were subjected to an isotopic sourcing in an attempt to quantify the most important protein sources. This way, the process of changing subsistence economies during the earliest Neolithic in Europe should be assessed. We were capable of approximating the protein biomass contribution by vegetal food and to evaluate the proportion of meat derived from domesticates and game, thereby telling hunting from husbandry. According to the results, the Neolithic Transition in the Mediterranean was not characterized by a conspicuous change in nutritional habits although the Neolithic Package had arrived there in its fully developed form. Rather, slow and gradual adaptations that preserved major components of a hunting and gathering lifestyle are observable. This way, a stable subsistence was guaranteed in the course of the adaptation to a producing economy.
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This is the first book to present a comprehensive, up to date overview of archaeological and environmental data from the eastern Mediterranean world around 6000 BC. It brings together the research of an international team of scholars who have excavated at key Neolithic and Chalcolithic sites in Syria, Anatolia, Greece, and the Balkans. Collectively, their essays conceptualize and enable a deeper understanding of times of transition and changes in the archaeological record. Overcoming the terminological and chronological differences between the Near East and Europe, the volume expands from studies of individual societies into regional views and diachronic analyses. It enables researchers to compare archaeological data and analysis from across the region, and offers a new understanding of the importance of this archaeological story to broader, high-impact questions pertinent to climate and culture change.
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The main agenda of this essay is that observation of and experimentation with archaeological materials cannot be separated from hypothesis building and testing, and, as a corollary, that basic research in archaeological materials is as much an integral part of archaeological question answering as the philosophical model building of Binford, Plog, and Clarke. The two aspects of archaeological research discussed here­ - ethnoarchaeological and experimental archaeology - both manifest many of the attributes of traditional empirical investigation and have been spurned and belittled by the philosophers of archaeology as peripheral to the New Methodology, as unscientific, and as having only specific time-space utility. This chapter examines the methodological procedures by which these two aspects of our discip­line may be transformed to play an integral part in hypothesis testing and in the formulation of probability statements in archaeological research. We can define ethnoarchaeology as the structure for a series of observations on behavioral patterns of living societies which are designed to answer archaeologically oriented questions. "Experimental archaeology" - that is, experiments as part of archaeological investigations - on the other hand, comprises a series of observations on behavior that is artificially induced. Both may involve more or less rigorously controlled conditions and recorded results. Both are important aspects of a materialist study of behavior, pertinent to the study not only of past behavior but also of that of the present and the future. Theoretically, both ethnoarchaeological and experimental observations should provide valuable resources for test­ing hypotheses concerning archaeological data. Ethnoarchaeological observations are not in competition with experimental observations in providing valuable data on behavior; their information is of a different kind, and this distinction should be made self-consciously when using these data, since it affects conclusions and the confirmation of hypotheses. The stress in this chapter falls on the side of experiments in archaeology, since my own research has been directly concerned with this aspect of archaeological testing. But my argument will emphasize that both sources of information, although separate, increase their value in interpreting archaeological data when one recognizes and takes advantage of their close interrelationship and interdependence.