CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

Cluster D: “Agriculturalists and First Metallurgists”

Graphic Cluster D

Cluster D is divided in two sub-projects (D1-D3). Providing research about societies characterised by agricultural economy, early metal production and distinct social hierarchies, it is part of research focus 2, “Transformations of socio-economic formations”.

D1: Population agglomerations at Tripolye-Cucuteni mega-sites

D2: Third millennium transformations of social and economic practices in the German Lower Mountain Range

D3: The Bronze Age in North Central Europe: Scales of transformation

Cluster D deals with societies that practice agriculture and are mostly characterised by relatively complex social regulations, institutionalised social hierarchies, and surplus production with differentiated access to resources and material goods which c

Local and regional environments are extensively exploited. Settlement sizes increase and differentiated settlement systems evolve, further necessitating the emergence of larger social institutions which regulate interaction. Proto-urban megasites are a characteristic of some of these societies, while others were organised in more disperse settings, where single centralised sites dominate communities in an archaeologically less visible manner.

The rising importance of metal, especially copper and bronze, fosters supra-regional exchange and leads to occupational specialisation and a rising interdependence both within and between communities.

The increased availability of valuable, elaborate and exotic goods and their display enabled the consolidation of social roles and positions, while at the same time cementing dependencies on those very same networks of exchange. The early fourth millennium bears witness to temporary and extraordinary population agglomerations in large and dense concentrations of settlements in the region north of the Black Sea (D1). The marked Central European transformation from the Late to the Final Neolithic period around the 4th and 3rd millennia, traditionally seen as an abrupt or at least fast transformation fundamentally changing social organization, economy, ritual, and cosmology, and especially testified by the new material culture, burial rites and to a large extent the absence of settlement materials, is the focal point of project D2. In the diachronic follow-up, D3 looks into the two very different Bronze Age transitions in Northern Central Europe – the transition between the Early and the Middle Bronze Age around 1600/1500 BCE and the beginning of the Urnfield phenomenon around 1300/1200 BCE – which each show characteristic transformation processes, both reflected in the material culture as well as in the social, economic, and ideological aspects of societies.