Showing posts from June, 2016

Fortifying seascapes: Bronze Age fortified sites of the north-eastern Adriatic Sea

(Presented at “Socio-Environmental Dynamics over the Last 12,000 Years: The Creation of Landscapes IV” conference held at Kiel University, March 24 - 27, 2015)

The north-eastern Adriatic archipelago (Kvarner, Croatia) was famously labelled as the “Amber Islands” by ancient Greek sources, testifying to its crucial position on the so-called Amber Route during the later prehistory. An intense network of maritime connections had been put in place already by the Early Neolithic, and developed particularly during the Bronze and Iron Ages under the influence of Aegean contacts.

However, the organisation of this network on local scale remains unclear, as well as the real importance of seafaring for local cultures which developed as intermediaries along the Adriatic coast. What is usually perceived as far reaching interregional maritime exchange network, most probably consisted of a series of “small worlds” characterised by different intensities of local connections, as demons…

Topophilia and the emergence of prehistoric sanctuaries (NW Balkans, 10th – 5th c. BC)

(Presented at “Rencontres doctorales archéologiques de l’EEPB Bibracte”, Centre archéologique européen du Mont Beuvray, 28 - 30 avril 2015)

In a definition given by geographer Yi Fu Tuan “ Topophilia is the affective bond between people and place or setting “. Even though this concept pertains to an intimate “sense of place” which may seem unattainable by archaeological means, it can be very useful when considering the historical dimension of the emergence of particular places, such as prehistoric ritual areas or sanctuaries.

Several major categories of ritual places can be considered: natural places used for deposition of artefacts (caves, rivers, wet areas), burial places, particular structures within settlements, and finally sanctuaries stricto sensu with enclosed space and a shrine. Each of these categories can be regarded as a particular spatial strategy, resulting in a space with high symbolic charge. Crucially, ritual places normally emerged through long term tempor…

Historicity and chronological puritanism: are we ever going to acknowledge the historical dimension of human landscapes?

If anything, archaeologists are much annoyed by messed up chronologies. There are always some “intrusive finds”, “residual artefacts” or “stray objects” that need to be sorted out and removed from the analysis. Archaeological layers almost invariably include small quantities of objects from previous periods that came there either accidentally, for instance when people would dig pits or till the soil, or as “collateral damage” of archaeological excavation and post-excavation work. It is one of archaeologist’s fundamental tasks to clear up this mess and to sort out associations of finds and other excavated features (pits, walls, floors etc.) that are broadly contemporary. What we all dream of are neat sequences of archaeological contexts that would line up on temporal scale one after another: settlement phases clearly separated by layers of total destruction, graveyards developing concentrically from the oldest interments in the centre to the most recent on the outer fring…