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NEOLITHIZATION OF THE BALKANS IN THE CONTEXT OF ANTHROPOLOGY OF EVERYDAYNESS Lolita Nikolova* 2005 London Neolithic Seminar *University of Utah, Salt Lake.

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Presentation on theme: "NEOLITHIZATION OF THE BALKANS IN THE CONTEXT OF ANTHROPOLOGY OF EVERYDAYNESS Lolita Nikolova* 2005 London Neolithic Seminar *University of Utah, Salt Lake."— Presentation transcript:

1 NEOLITHIZATION OF THE BALKANS IN THE CONTEXT OF ANTHROPOLOGY OF EVERYDAYNESS Lolita Nikolova* 2005 London Neolithic Seminar *University of Utah, Salt Lake Community College and International Institute of Anthropology, Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, & *Prehistory Foundation, Sofia-Karlovo, Bulgaria

2 Acknowledgments I miss you badly today! Lolita I would like to sincerely thank the organizers of this wonderful meeting and especially Michela Spataro for the opportunity to present my most recent insights into the topic of earlier Balkan Neolithic and development of the social reproduction strategies in context of Anthropology of Everydayness

3 Neolithization and Anthropology of Everydayness are two crucial topics in the modern anthropological historiography profoundly incorporated in studying Balkan Prehistory: Ruth Tringham (1995) and different models of Balkan Neolithization. Cauvin’s (2000) models

4 According to my theoretical and methodological framework, essential today is to construct explanation models for earlier Neolithic development which specify the certain social strategy of local communities. active social actors The last make the social biography of the ancient population not a subject and victim of ecological or/and external not directed circumstances but active social actors with clear and well-defined social reproduction strategies. Social actor theory

5 From those theoretical and methodological perspectives we can define Neolithization: Under Neolithization we understand a process of establishment of early complex sedentary and semi-sedentary societies, in particular in the Balkans.Neolithization Infrastructure Social structureSuperstructure Complexity

6 Krajnitsi is a one of the few Balkan prehistoric settlements where was documented overlapping of the monochrome by early white painted pottery in the Balkans while the newly published sites like Kovachevo (Lichardus-Itten M. et al. 2000), Vaksevo (Chokhadzhiev 2001) and Donja Branjevina (Karmanski 2005) clearly indicate: 1. A long process of evolution of the white painted style 2. Intensive long-distance contacts – results of exchange or barriers of which were semi- sedentary communities Krajnitsi (Southwest Bulgaria, after Chokhadzhiev M.) In archaeological terms the Neolithization of the Balkans equals the emergence and early development of the pottery society (see Spataro M., 2005)

7 Donja Branjevina (after Karmanski 2005)

8 Despite the discussion on the opportunity for existing a monochrome stage, the situation in Upper Thrace remains unclear. Upper Thrace in the triangle between Hoga Cesme – Koprivets - Krajnitsi and we can propose a communication routes and possible semi-mobile (non-tell) small communities while the white-painted was not only cultural bur also a social indicator of early complex society (Nikolova, in press). For the time being, Upper Thrace can be integrated into common cultural Balkan Neolithic models just since the period of vast distribution of the white painted pottery (Early Neolithic II according to my periodization system). Thrace and Beginning of Neolithic Dubene-Pishtikova mogila (Karlovo valley, Upper Thrace)

9 Thrace and Beginning of Neolithic Hoga Cesme Krajnitsi Koprivets THRACE Triangle model White and blue archaeological model that excludes Thrace from Early Neolithic I communication system (missing evidence) (unlikely) White and blue – archaeological model that excludes Thrace from Early Neolithic I communication system (missing evidence) (unlikely) Orange, blue and white Orange, blue and white – Thrace is a part of the Early Neolithic I Balkan communication and social system

10 The term “complex society” (Nikolova 2004): (1)Varies within the stages of its development (2)It varies in the social strategies it has adopted for the reinforcement of social hierarchy or for the establishment of equality between the different social strata. In other words, the complex society has ambivalent functions. (3) Complex societies are characterized by heterogeneity and cultural diversity, or the so-called subcultures (Rosman & Rubel 2001:26). Accordingly, the heterogeneity of culture is one of the criteria for social complexity. Complex society

11 The archaeological record base for earlier Neolithic social reproduction includes a variety of records related to: 1.Household and social archaeology 2.Economic archaeology 3.Mortuary archaeology 4.Cognitive or symbolic archaeology. Archaeological records

12 Household archaeology The comparative analysis infers (Nikolova, in print) that there were specific village strategies within earlier Neolithic household and community social organization that vary from region to region and even from village to village on one and the same site (e.g. Donja Branjevina, Kovachevo, Nea Nikomedia, Vaksevo, Karanovo, Dubene-Pishtikova Mogila, Rakitovo, Chavdarova Cheshma, Samovodene, Gradeshnitsa, etc.)

13 Household archaeology Unfortunately, not every even well-published record from settlement can be used for interpretation of social strategies. From the rich Balkan data-base, in our research we were able to offer possibly that the household continuity presented in the architecture of some excavated areas on Karanovo tell and Rakitovo (Nikolova, in print). As a whole, the problem is complicated, and I shall limit to the conclusions about recently published excavations at Rakitovo.

14 Household archaeology The spatial organization of buildings from Rakivoto (excavations of Anna Raduncheva and team) deduces, that they were specific principals based most probably on kinship and/or social-religious relationship (Nikolova, in print). The grouping of the houses (similar to on the Karanovo tell) can specify household complexes or interrelated households. One of the strongest arguments for interrelation between architecture and social function is the fact that only one building in the earliest village had various orientation (N-S), and the houses had been constructed close to each other. Rakitovo

15 Household archaeology Anna Raduncheva has recently stated a question of possible trade centers in Thrace based on the data from Chavdarova Cheshma near Simeonovgrad. The critical analysis of the published information (see the arguments in Nikolova, in print) does not allow us to accept the interpretation, but the excavations are worth in respect of analyzing the ethnographic peculiarities of the earlier Neolithic in Thrace. As the whole, the settlements represent different local models of social organization of the Neolithic communities which in turn specify to the strong social organization within the limits of the complex society.

16 Another my case study researching Balkan Neolithic are village mortuary practices (Nikolova 2002, 2004 & 2005). The comparative analysis of the different regional burial pattern has been introduced that shows not only regional and chronological peculiarities but opportunities for retrospective analysis - using the data of the later Neolithic to explain the genesis of the certain cultural traits in earlier Neolithic. Research in depth: village burials

17 For instance, the spatial analysis of the burials from Kazanlak Tell (Nikolova 2004, data from Bacvarov 2003) demonstrates a specific spatial and temporal development in the mortuary practices on that tell in the upper Tundzha valley: (1)The tradition of child burials is manifested even in the earliest settlement, though this practice can be considered an exception in the local burial practices. (2) It was sustained until the beginning of the Late Neolithic when, a nest cemetery was probably formed in a specific part of the settlement. This moment in the history of the settlement leads to the hypothesis that at certain times a cemetery might be formed in part of the settlement where the burials might even have the meaning and the function of extramural burial grounds. (3)If the above interpretation is correct, it supports the idea that extramural cemeteries in Neolithic Thrace might be related to household traditions, that they were small-scale, possibly a subject to destruction and therefore hard to document. Kazanluk tel

18 Karanovo tell’s burial records also include a pit of human bones (Buchvarov 2003:58), which was interpreted as possible secondary burial of bones from an extramural necropolis or even from original settlement burials (Nikolova 2004). Earlier Neolithic cemeteries

19 In particular, child burials within the settlements In particular, child burials within the settlements represent an important aspect of the social strategies for reproduction: (1)One possible explanation of their popularity was the reinforcement of the social concern for the children as a strategy for the unification of the household and the community, as well as the care for both mother and child (e.g. the two double burials from Karanovo and Kazanlak). (2)It is worth to mention the numerous child burials in Ilipinar IX (Roodenberg 1995). (3)We need plenty of additional contextual data to clarify the important issue of household, clan and all-village ritual practices and the relationship of settlement burials to these three levels of social interaction. constitution of the complex societies in the Balkans. But generally speaking, their inclusion in the social strategy of the community can be interpreted as an aspect of the constitution of the complex societies in the Balkans. Early Complex Society in the Balkans

20 The performance of mortuary rituals within the settlements included some common aspects of the symbolism of the body, death, the home, the household, etc. But the exceptional character of settlement burials leads to the general conclusion that they had a specific social and symbolic significance. We can even assume that some of them functioned as a metonymy of a certain social group and/or as a necessary element in the ritual and social practices associated with the symbolic binary oppositions life/death, pure/impure, us/them, mortal/immortal, in the legitimating of certain social norms etc. (Nikolova 2004). In other words, during the Neolithic village burials were one of the active social strategies in the enculturation as transmission of genealogical information from generation to generation and reproducing kinship connections. Gradeshnitsa triple burial Symbolism, enculturation and genealogy

21 Life in the prehistoric settlement required social practices for the daily constitution and affirmation of the various social entities and relationships. The burials within the prehistoric village can be included in this system of social and symbolic practices that could be related both to periods of stabilization and crises of the household or other social entities. Village burials

22 The earliest levels of Early Neolithic settlements in Thrace, for instance, demonstrate flourishing culture with extensive contacts and at the same time local peculiarities – diversity in the access to the resources, specific network for long-distant exchange of objects (e.g. obsidian knife from Kliment-Banyata). The earliest levels of Early Neolithic settlements in Thrace, for instance, demonstrate flourishing culture with extensive contacts and at the same time local peculiarities – diversity in the access to the resources, specific network for long-distant exchange of objects (e.g. obsidian knife from Kliment-Banyata). We can presume the establishment of the early complex society was also a stage of development of the social hierarchy, stratification and wealth demonstrated by rich households like the one from Sofia-Slatina. We can presume the establishment of the early complex society was also a stage of development of the social hierarchy, stratification and wealth demonstrated by rich households like the one from Sofia-Slatina. Social elite and early complex society

23 Theoretically it is supposed, that hierarchy and stratification are results of restriction of access to resources (Nikolova, in print). However, in contrast to the metal epochs, in the earlier Neolithic (1)the access to the subsistence economy resources presumably was regulated although based on common solidarity, and (2)the restriction was more probably with respect to the prestige items which were kept as a capital and possibly inherited. We believe that the principal of solidarity dominated at level of everyday social practices strengthened by reproducing specific cultural pattern and strong interregional contacts. A specific argument in our thesis are the data from the small objects (Nikolova, in print). Hierarchy and Stratification

24 Slatina (after V. Nikolov); Banya,Karlovo (after L. Nikolova) and Vaksevo (after S. Chokhadzhiev) Symbolic archaeology and complex society Dogon Mask

25 Interregional Balkan contacts While macro-cultural research Balkan-Anatolian is traditional, a detailed interregional analysis of the Balkan contacts during earlier Neolithic are not very popular in the contemporary historiography. Studying the earlier Neolithic figurines from the Central Balkans as a source for possible common rituals and interaction, recently we have added a new analogy to the item from from Banya, Karlovo, that comes from Vaksevo.

26 Interregional Balkan contacts Our understanding is that the small objects (some perishable) had a very essential function in the process of the enculturation and development of the complex society in Balkan Neolithic.

27 Interregional Balkan contacts Heiner Schwarzberg (2005) has discussed in details the earlier Neolithic tripod and polypod vessels and concluded the tripods from Thrace do not have precise analogies in Anatolia that clearly confirms our idea: Settling on one place the community attempted to create and reproduce culture that served the most stable and successful social strategies. The Balkan communities develop their own symbolic storage of cultural pattern that was transmitted from generation to generation with still not well investigated social and cultural mechanics.

28 From an archaeological point of you, the study of Neolithic cultures in the Balkans at the level of archaeological cultures does not create the optimal opportunity to define any 'subcultures', as that would require a detailed research of the differences and similarities between the unearthed households, whereas archaeological culture presents an integral material culture without a visible social hierarchy or visible differences.Problems An additional problem is posed by the fact that in early complex societies the differences between the social strata and the social groups are hardly reflected in the archaeologized material culture.

29 Neolithization as a process of development of early sedentary and semi- sedentary complex society was the most successful social strategies for the Balkan communities since: In later 7 th and early 6 th millennia cal BCE the Balkans had favorable climatic and geographical preconditions for development of agriculture as the basic subsistence economy. The permanent settlements required a specific social organization in which the principal of solidarity interacted with increasing social stratification among the households and differences between villages. The spatial organization of the villages at least in some cases can be correlated with possible development of the household and the household complexes.Conclusions

30 The household developed individual social strategies for reproduction including village burials. The last in some cases most probably related to common village rituals as well. The fact that settlement burials constitute an exception gives us reason to think that they represent a specific element in the establishment of early complex social structures as a social strategy of the household (predominantly), which could explain the variations of the ritual and its specificities within the different settlements and different everyday social practices. Small “ritual” (non-utilitarian) objects were possibly used in the everyday life as an enculturation means connecting the generations and inter- communities, although being used in inner- and interregional common rituals. While the everyday pottery specify the household as an individual social unit and a member of the communities, the common regional ceramic style was a strong cultural tool for cultural cohesion and development of the principals of solidarity.Conclusions

31 If you have any questions and for references please contact: Lolita Nikolova, Ph.D., International Institute of Anthropology, 29 S State Street #206, Salt Lake City, Utah Tel.: (801) THANK YOUContact


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