Session: #234

Theme & Session Format

6. Embedded in European archaeology: the Carpathian Basin
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Collapse in the Basin: Regional Perspectives on the 1500-1200 BC Transition in the Carpathian Basin
The Carpathian Basin was an important conduit of people and material culture in the Bronze Age (2700/2500 - 800 BC). One of the major transformative periods in the Basin’s history was the end of the Middle Bronze Age (MBA) and the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (LBA). Tell settlements, hallmarks of the MBA societies, were often important loci of trade and other activities. Yet at the end of the MBA, c. 1600-1400 BC, people abandoned tell settlements, social practices and political structures changed, and the archaeological record indicates the formation of new connection systems. Involving the latest regional results from settlement, mortuary, ceramic, isotopic and aDNA analyses, in this session we seek to better understand the new networks that emerge in the LBA, including the massive enclosed sites that appear in some parts of the Basin. We seek to better contextualise and connect the often fractious and regionalised understanding of LBA societies in this key zone of interaction in prehistoric Europe. Critical issues include how and what kind of changes may have occurred and whether migration played a role in socio-cultural change. We focus on the period between 1500 and 1200 BC because the dominant settlement networks seem to have declined along with regionalised pottery styles, and the emerging tradition incorporates a wide region sharing a broad family of channel-decorated pottery. The causes, scale, regionality, character and tempo of this transition remains unclear. We will evaluate claims over 1) population declines at the end of the MBA; 2) people arriving into the Carpathian Basin from elsewhere; 3) changes and continuities in social organization after the end of the MBA; 4) differences in social practices between MBA groups and people in these same areas after 1500 BC; and 5) the changing influence of interactions with networks beyond the Basin.
Bronze Age, Collapse, Migration, Settlement patterns, Social networks
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
Session associated with CAA:
Session associated with DGUF:
Session associated with other:


Main organiser:
Györgyi Parditka (United States) 1
Paul Duffy (Canada) 2,3
Vajk Szeverényi (Hungary) 4,5
Dragan Jovanović (Serbia) 6
Barry Molloy (Ireland) 7
1. Museum of Anthropological Archaeology, University of Michigan
2. The Archaeology Centre, University of Toronto
3. The Italian Academy for Advanced Studies in America, Columbia University
4. Déri Museum, Debrecen
5. Institute of Archaeology, Research Centre for the Humanities, Budapest
6. City Museum Vršac
7. University College Dublin