Aims and Premises
During almost all stages of the European Bronze Age in an area between the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, people intentionally deposited metalwork. In the context of selective deposition, we observe the material complement of a complex ritualized cultural practice. Beyond the act of deposition, the deposit itself comprises a high symbolic value. On the one hand the residues of ritual may be taken as a symbolic statement, while on the other hand the site of deposition forms part of a ritual orchestration. The focus of the research is therefore to examine the spatiality of deposition. We know a lot about the objects that were deposited but – with some exceptions – very little about the detailed geomorphological features of the particular sites. A broad as well as detailed analysis of the sites and their spatial relationships to other contexts of deposition is still lacking.
First results of the research are already emerging. Even sites that were found a long time ago have provided much relevant and hitherto unpublished topographical data, the presentation of which is in itself one of the aims of the two projects. The intensification of deposition over the course of the Bronze Age is also mirrored in a changing use of depositional space: towards the end of the Bronze Age there is a tendency toward cumulative deposition not only in fortified hill settlements, but also in distinctive depositional zones in a given landscape, such as the Rabenwand or Porta Bohemica.
Moreover, it can be shown that the places of deposition are deliberately chosen for their visibility of and from the surrounding terrain. The places are generally liminal with respect to distinct topographical features, which can be set apart as distinct spaces in the landscape. Defining a typology of these places and correlating this to other aspects of the Bronze Age depositional practice are among the further aims of the two studies.
Daniel Neumann graduated from Munich University with a Magister Artium in prehistoric archaeology. After working in the commercial sector of archaeology he was accepted into Topoi and has been a doctoral fellow since 2008 in Research Group C-III “Acts: Sacred Spaces, Sacred Landscapes”. He is writing his doctoral thesis about bronze-age depositions in the alpine area of Central Europe.
His main areas of interest are settlement and landscape archaeology on a empirical as well as theoretical basis.
This research project aims to analyze and model settlement patterns and long-term land use in mountain environments, focusing especially on the integration of lowland and mountain in a comparative way in several case studies. The theoretical framework of the project incorporates landscape archaeology as well as computational archaeology.
To build diachronic models of resources exploitation, land use and movement practices on a micro-regional scale, the data on test areas in Central European, Alpine and Mediterranean environment will be analyzed using a GRASS GIS-based approach.
Fundamental research in computational archaeology are carried out by elaborating analytical grid-based and agent-based methods for the evaluation and understanding of the long-term ecological and economic impact of agropastoral activity, the organization and perception of marginal landscapes in the transect plain/middle altitude/high altitude.