Session: #251

Theme & Session Format

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

Title & Content

The 4th M BC in Europe: Exploring the Supraregional Entanglements as Triggers for Cultural, Social and Economic Transformations
The 4th millennium BC is a time of radical transformations in the European Neolithic. Moreover, the 35th century is considered as a ‘turning point’ by many researchers (Pétrequin et al., 2006 ; Fedele, 2013). On one hand, long-distance exchanges can be traced by mapping supraregional entanglements in pottery styles, lithic tools and metal objects. For example potteries evocating Munzingen shapes that are typical for the Upper Rhine Valley can be found on the Swiss Plateau too, or polished axes made from vosgian rocks were distributed as far as the Lake Constance regions. On the other hand, fundamental general changes in material culture (early copper metallurgy in the East) and ritual practices (expansion of collective burials) between the first and second part of the 4th millennium raise the issue of contacts that social groups have maintained among themselves, in time and space. The aim of this session is to gain a deeper understanding of such phenomena by asking the following questions:

How can we identify and interpret different forms of relationships between social groups in the 4th M BC?

How do they change over time until the beginning of the 3rd M BC?

To what extent are we able to identify, through the study of material culture, markers of filiation and transmission between different regional groups?

Can we approach the reasons for transformations?

In some parts of Europe, the 4th millennium is commonly referred to as the Chalcolithic (Lichardus et al., 1985). Even if the copper metallurgy is not widely adopted by every region in Europe at that time, this millennium has been over and over pointed out as the origin of many innovations. This session aims to link different perspectives and interpretations around this question in order to define triggers and patterns of change in Neolithic societies.
European Late Neolithic, material culture entanglements, transformations, 4th millennium
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Main organiser:
Marie Charnot (France) 1,2
Loïc Jammet-Reynal (France) 3,4
Philipp Gleich (Switzerland) 5
Albert Hafner (Switzerland) 6,7
2. Université de Bourgogne
3. Archéologie Alsace
4. Université de Strasbourg - UMR 7044
5. University of Basel
6. University of Bern, Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Prehistory
7. University of Bern, Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research