EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP

EARLY SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS FOR COMMUNICATION
IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE


KARLOVO, BULGARIA, 14-20 APRIL 2002, SUMMARIES
EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION

PREHISTORY FOUNDATION
Evidence of Long Distance Connections at the Edge of the Balkans:
Economic or Symbolic Value ?

Emanuela Montagnari Kokelj
University of Trieste, Trieste, Italy
montagna@univ.trieste.it


The Trieste Karst is located at the north-western edge of the Balkans, in the northermost corner of the eastern Adriatic coast. It is an area of low rounded hills and plateaux lying between 300 and 500 m above sea level, with few peaks reaching 800-900 m; it is composed mainly of limestones, interrupted by two flysch belts running in ESE-WNW direction. Alluvial plains lie both to the west - the Friuli Plain - and to the south-east - the Istria peninsula -. The Karst is particularly rich in caves, and almost all the archaeological evidence from the Palaeolithic to the Early Bronze Age come from caves. This factor has been taken into due consideration in specific research projects carried out since the 1990´s: traditional studies of materials from old excavations, aimed at defining the local chronological sequence from the transition Mesolithic - Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age, as well as interdisciplinary studies , mainly sedimentological, soil micro - morphological and petrographical analyses.
     The results of these projects have allowed so far to postulate a relative discontinuity in the use of the territory, which seems particularly marked after the local Early and Middle Neolithic (Vlaška Group), and the possibility to connect it to a specialized subsistence system: pastoralism. Another aspect that is now more evident is the rather high number of artefacts and raw materials which are foreign to the local context, and might be either physically displaced from far - off areas or influenced by contacts of different nature.
This paper has two basic aims: to discuss the systems of interaction activated by the different categories of objects, through the analysis of the value attached to them in the context of discovery (i.e. the last documented moment of their biographies); to evaluate the connection between these systems of interaction and the place-value of the Karst area, that might result from the combination of geo - environmental conditions favourable to pastoralism and salt exploitation and long - term oral tradition.
cprslc@msn.com
2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The Author
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
All rights reserved. Published: 12/21/02
Since 12/21/02