Session: #493

Theme & Session Format

6. Material culture studies and societies
Session format:
Discussion session (with formal abstracts)

Title & Content

‘How the Neolithic Created the Bronze Age’: Neolithic Societies of Europe on the Eve of Metallurgy
The adoption of metallurgy in Neolithic societies was a particularly formative episode in the cultural history of Europe. The Neolithic ended in different regions at different times, but technological changes associated with metal and their socio-economic consequences affected all parts of Europe sooner or later. Late Neolithic societies had their own forms of social organisation, economies and involvement in exchange and communication networks and had often already had contact and experience with metal, albeit more sporadically. But what were the different starting situations for this fundamental cultural development in Europe? In this session we will look at Neolithic societies on the eve of their transformation associated with metallurgy and focus on questions like:

How were societies organised towards the end of the Neolithic period? Which developments had led to these?

To which extent did the new technology of metallurgy and the exchange of metals have a push effect that speeded up changes that were already on the way?

How were social differences presented in advance of the new metal objects? For instance, did house architecture possibly become the main medium of social representation instead of monumental burial architecture?

Can socio-economic changes be observed on the eve of metallurgy? Did an intensification of agriculture or other forms of raised economic productivity promote the adoption of metallurgy?

The aim is to compare scenarios from different regions in Europe to characterise the complexity and to differentiate between alternative explanatory models for the foundation of transformations from stone- to metal-using societies.
European Late Neolithic, identities, social organisation, socio-economic changes, transformations
Session associated with MERC:
Session associated with CIfA:
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Main organiser:
Jan Piet Brozio (Germany) 1
Niels Johannsen (Denmark) 2
1. Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University
2. Department of Archaeology and Heritage Studies, Aarhus University