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
The Diversity of Symbolic Communication in Southeastern European Social Prehistory

Mark Stefanovich
American University in Bulgaria, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria
markouli@hyper.gr

Symbolism as culture is now an accepted methodological approach by many anthropologists who study social meaning. It is also agreed that categorization and classification are systematic and the perception of similarity is the operational principle.
     Today the symbolic repertoire of Southeastern European social prehistory rests conventionally on the work of M. Gimbutas and followers. She identified two primary symbolic systems: Pre-Indo-European also called by her Old Europe and Indo-European, which is identified with the spread of speakers of the Indo-European languages in the 5th-4th millennia. Gimbutas presented evidence from the two symbolic systems that were different in organization and metaphor. This theory rests on the identification of Indo-Europeans as different ethnic, linguistic and socially organized communities from those existing earlier in Old Europe.
     However, recent research in archaeogenetics posits less differentiation in the palaeogene pool in Southeastern European prehistory from 10,000 BC to 1000 BC. This research brings into question the thesis that Indo-European speakers were intruders from outside the area of Southeastern European prehistory as presented by Gimbutas. The further implications is that the symbolic system differences that exists between Old Europe and the later Indo-Europeanized Southeastern European area cannot be attributed to the presence of the newly arrived Indo-European speakers. This paper will discuss what possible alternatives exist to account for the changes in the symbolic repertoire that takes place during the 5th and 4th millennia.
cprslc@msn.com
2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The author
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
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Since 12/22/02