|EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP
EARLY SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS FOR COMMUNICATION
IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
KARLOVO, BULGARIA, 14-20 APRIL 2002, SUMMARIES
|EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION
|Copper Axes and Bracelets in the Cultural Context of Prehistoric Europe
High Anthropological School, Cisinau, Moldova
The paper is devoted to the analysis of two categories of metal objects from the European Cooper Age. It embraces 1533 items: 1294 shaft-hole axes and 293 bracelets. The purpose of the paper is to demonstrate to which extent the changing distribution of certain metal finds in the second half of the 5th and first half of 4th millennia B.C. is able to reflect some cultural processes in the European prehistory.
The problem is considered in terms of quantitative alterations of finds in temporal, spatial and contextual aspects. Chronologically, the Copper Age is divided in two main periods: early (4750-4150 B.C.) and late (4150-3500 B.C.). The spatial distribution of finds is analyzed in the frontiers of modern countries and borders of ancient cultural areas. The contextual distribution of objects includes settlements, graves, hoards and stray finds.
The most obvious contrast between the ECA and LCA is observed in quantitative changes. For the ECA 243 axes and 191 bracelets are registered whereas for the LCA respectively 1051axes and 48 bracelets. In terms of spatial alterations in the LCA the number of axes increased dramatically all over regions where they were previously known except the territory of Bulgaria or former KGK VI area. The geography of finds significantly widened, they are found from the Upper Rein Basin to the North Caucasus. The copper bracelets in the ECA were distributed over the Balkans, Carpathian Basin and North Pontic as far as the Volga River while in the LCA they disappeared from the North Pontic and Balkans but spread north of the Carpathian Basin. Contextual alterations are mostly connected with grave and hoards. In the ECA large amount of axes is related to graves whereas in the LCA their number in this context noticeably decreases. Instead, many axes are deposed in hoards of tools and the number of such hoards increases. The contextual conditions of bracelets in the LCA are similar to the ECA.
The quantitative, spatial and contextual alterations in the distribution of finds obviously demonstrate: 1) significant growth of metalworking in the LCA in comparison with ECA; 2) development of an intensive and extensive exchange network precisely in the LCA; 3) tools are largely removed from the domain of ritual to that of economic activities. These observations do not support the idea of a catastrophic invasion from the North Pontic to the area of farming cultures in the end of ECA.
|2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The Authors
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
All rights reserved. Published: 12/21/02