Between the Vinča and Linearbandkeramik worlds: the diversity of practices and identities in the 54th–53rd centuries cal BC in southwest Hungary and beyond

Jakucs, J. et al. (2016) Between the Vinča and Linearbandkeramik worlds: the diversity of practices and identities in the 54th–53rd centuries cal BC in southwest Hungary and beyond. Journal of World Prehistory, 29(3), pp. 267-336. (doi: 10.1007/s10963-016-9096-x)

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Perhaps nowhere in European prehistory does the idea of clearly-defined cultural boundaries remain more current than in the initial Neolithic, where the southeast–northwest trend of the spread of farming crosses what is perceived as a sharp divide between the Balkans and central Europe. This corresponds to a distinction between the Vinča culture package, named for a classic site in Serbia, with its characteristic pottery assemblage and absence of longhouses, and the Linearbandkeramik (LBK), with equally diagnostic but different pottery, and its apparently culturally-diagnostic longhouses, extending in a more northerly belt through central Europe westward to the Dutch coast. In this paper we question the concept of such a clear division through a presentation of new data from the site of Szederkény-Kukorica-dűlő. A large settlement in southeast Transdanubia, Hungary, excavated in advance of road construction, Szederkény is notable for its combination of pottery styles, variously including Vinča A, Ražište and LBK, and longhouses of a kind otherwise familiar from the LBK world. Formal modelling of its date establishes that the site probably began in the later 54th century cal BC, lasting until the first decades of the 52nd century cal BC. Occupation, featuring longhouses, pits and graves, probably began at the same time in the eastern and western parts of the settlement, starting a decade or two later in the central part; the western part was probably the last to be abandoned. Vinča pottery is predominantly associated with the eastern and central parts of the site, and Ražište pottery with the west. Formal modelling of the early history of longhouses in the LBK world suggests their emergence in the Formative LBK of Transdanubia c. 5500 cal BC followed by rapid dispersal in the middle of the 54th century cal BC, associated with the ‘earliest’ (älteste) LBK. The adoption of longhouses at Szederkény thus appears to come a few generations after the start of this ‘diaspora’. Rather than explaining the mixture of things, practices and perhaps people at Szederkény with reference to problematic notions such as hybridity, we propose instead a more fluid and varied vocabulary, encompassing combination and amalgamation, relationships and performance in the flow of social life, and networks; this makes greater allowance for diversity and interleaving in a context of rapid change.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dunbar, Dr Elaine
Authors: Jakucs, J., Bánffy, E., Oross, K., Voicsek, V., Bronk Ramsey, C., Dunbar, E., Kromer, B., Bayliss, A., Hofmann, D., Marshall, P., and Whittle, A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of World Prehistory
Publisher:Springer US
ISSN (Online):1573-7802
Published Online:08 September 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Journal of World Prehistory 29(3):267-336
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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