When: Thursday 31, Aug 18:45 - 19:45 BST
Where: New Physics Building, room Larmor
The existence of an independent Copper Age has been long debated. In the 20th century, Colin Renfrew’s large-scale narrative connected the beginnings of metallurgy and the emergence of social inequality to this period. Andrew Sherratt summarized Copper Age innovations in his model of the secondary products revolution, based on which later great civilizations rose.
Later, many postprocessualist archaeologists argued against large-scale narratives and pointed out that there is a need for local stories and studying individuals. After the development of new analytical methods, many tools appeared in the 21st century that allowed a detailed description of individual lifeways.
The Early and Middle Copper Age in Hungary is a good illustration of how the concept of archaeological culture, which is still used as an analytical unit, covers sociocultural diversity. This talk will demonstrate how we can write a narrative while maintaining individual and local diversity and build a multiscalar model from the individual level through communities up to the regional scale by combining multidisciplinary analytical methods. As we take into consideration the differences in material culture, mobility, access to resources at the individual and community levels and the different local traditions, we can reveal a colourful, mosaic and diverse cultural picture, which is in stark contrast to the previous, culturally homogeneous picture, and is an evidence of the success of a vivid network organized by small-scale communities. This contribution will summarize the results of our team’s research, which has been going on for more than ten years, and our next steps.
Zsuzsanna Siklósi is an assistant professor at the Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Eötvös Loránd University (Budapest, Hungary). She is an expert in the Neolithic and Copper Age of the Carpathian Basin and focuses on various social archaeological issues. She is committed to the combination of multidisciplinary methods with archaeology. Her MA dissertation on Neolithic prestige goods won a publication award, and she wrote her PhD dissertation on the potential traces of Late Neolithic social inequality. Since then, her research interest has been the Copper Age. In connection with the research of social issues of the 5th millennium BCE, she has specialized in radiocarbon dating.
She is currently leading two major research projects. One of them aims to model the spread of early copper artefacts and the technology of metallurgy from Southeast to Central Europe using a combination of lead isotope analysis, chemical composition analyses and radiocarbon dating.
She is the PI of the MTA-ELTE Lendület "Momentum" Innovation Research Group (https://lendulet-innovacio.hu/en/), which uses multidisciplinary methods to investigate the factors that affect the spread of innovations. The team combines the methods of biosocial archaeology with material culture studies to create a multiscalar model from the individual level through communities to the regional scale to understand the transmission of the know-how and which factors influenced these transmissions.