Session: #125

Theme & Session Format

Interpreting the archaeological record: artefacts, humans and landscapes
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Communities, Identities, Rituals. The Bronze/Iron Age Urnfields as a Pan-European Phenomenon
The Bronze/Iron Age urnfields covered a vast area and proceeded through chronological periods starting from mid. 2nd millenium BC. Despite long history of research, the urnfield evidence is rarely used in multifaceted studies on Bronze and early Iron Age. The high number of similar forms of pottery – the most common type of urns and/or grave goods in cremation graves resulted in a fact that most archaeologists argue that new discoveries do not improve our knowledge of the past societies considerably. We are however convinced the urnfields deserve high research interests and the data they provide may give us many answers if we try to post new questions.
Main objective of the session is to compare investigatory procedures developed for the Bronze/Iron Age urnfields in various parts of Europe. We invite scholars from various fields to go beyond typological and chronological studies to present results of analysis which are rarely carried out and discussed in the urnfield archaeology: from use-wear studies, analysis of vessels' content to observations of non-metric dental traits, palaeodemography, spatial analysis ect. The main question is: what do we know about the communities that used the urnfields from the data collected over decades? What was their biological and cultural life quality? What was the rules of grave good selection? Were the grave goods new or used? Produced from the same raw materials and with the use of the same technology and expected quality as objects from the settlements? How can we compare data obtained from urnfields and other types of sites (e.g settlements)? How did the demographic profile (mortality and fertility) of the population look like? The urnfields are always sites used for many generations thus the variety of analysed phenomena can be interpreted in diachronic perspective as well.
Bronze Age, Iron Age, urnfields
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Main organiser:
Justyna Baron (Poland) 1
Grażyna Liczbińska (Poland) 2
Georgi Ivanov (Bulgaria) 3
Stéphane Rottier (France) 4
1. University of Wrocław
2. Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznań
3. National Archaeological Institute with Museum – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia
4. University of Bordeaux