Session: #92

Theme & Session Format

5. Theories and methods in archaeology: interactions between disciplines
Session format:
Regular session

Title & Content

Disentangling Inequality and Its Mechanisms in Late Prehistoric Europe through Isotope Analysis
Identifying and understanding the rationale and the mechanisms behind inequality in Prehistory is a major challenge in archaeological research. The transition from hunting and gathering to farming and herding economies has long been linked to the emergence of substantial and long-lasting social and economic inequalities. However, the European record rarely shows robust archaeological evidence for horizontal (among individuals or households) and/or vertical (among culturally defined groups) inequalities until, at least, the 2nd millennium cal. BC.
As status, especially in early societies, is intimately associated to subsistence and origin (i.e. people are basically what they eat, with whom they eat, how they eat, and where they get their food or come from). Therefore, isotope analysis may shed light on the socio-economic standing and identity of past individuals and groups. This session will explore the potential of multi-isotope analysis for revealing the sources and the mechanisms of asymmetry in prehistoric Europe and, so, for gaining insights into social complexity, power, status, competition and cooperation.
Submissions aiming reconstructions of dietary and mobility patterns within multi-cultural societies are especially welcome, as well as studies combining isotopic, bioarchaeological and genetic data to look into population dynamics and differentiation at regional centers of aggregated population. Contributions presenting evidence for Neolithic socio-economic inequality are particularly encouraged. Reports of negative results are also welcome.
Isotope analysis, Interdisciplinary approaches, Socio-economic asymmetry, Differentiation, Neolithic-Iron Age
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
Session associated with SAfA:
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Session associated with DGUF:
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Main organiser:
Teresa Fernandez-Crespo (France) 1
Marta Díaz-Zorita Bonilla (Germany) 2
1. CNRS, LAMPEA - UMR 7269
2. Tübingen Universität