Mobilities, Entanglements, Transformations. Outline of a Research Project on Pottery Practices in Neolithic Wetland Sites of the Swiss Plateau

Hafner, Albert; Heitz, Caroline; Stapfer, Regine (2016). Mobilities, Entanglements, Transformations. Outline of a Research Project on Pottery Practices in Neolithic Wetland Sites of the Swiss Plateau (Bern Working Papers on Prehistoric Archaeology / Berner Arbeitspapiere zur Prähistorischen Archäologie 1). Bern: Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Prehistory; Bern Open Publishing (BOP)

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A large number of later Neolithic sites (3900–3500BC) in Switzerland, Southern Germany and Eastern France offer outstandingly well preserved archaeological materials from cultural layers. Due to the wide use of dendrochronology, settlement remains and artefact assemblages can now be placed into a precise and fixed chronological framework, thus presenting a unique case within prehistoric archaeology. In earlier research, chronological and regional units were constructed on the basis of pottery. These spacial and temporal units of typical pottery sets were understood as Neolithic cultures, as culturally more or less homogenous entities connected with (ethnic) identities. Today, with a larger data corpus of excavated settlements at hand, we can begin to understand that this period of the past was in fact characterised by a multitude of cultural entanglements and transformations. This is indicated by the occurrence of local and non-local pottery styles in one and the same settlement: for example typically local Cortaillod pottery is found together with NMB-styled pottery in settlements at Lake Neuchâtel or Michelsberg pottery is regularly occurring in settlements at Lake Constance where Pfyn pottery style is the typical local one. These and many more examples show that there must have been complex entanglements of social ties expanding between Eastern France, Southern Germany and the Swiss Plateau. Given these circumstances the former notions of Neolithic culture should be critically revised. Therefore, in late 2014, the Prehistoric Archaeology Department at the Archaeological Institute of University of Berne started a four-year research project funded by Swiss National Science Foundation in late 2014: ‘Mobilities, Entanglements and Transformations in Neolithic Societies of the Swiss Plateau (3900-3500 BC)’. It’s objective is to address the topic sketched above by adopting a mixed methods research (MMR)-design combining qualitative and quantitative approaches from archaeology and archaeometry. The approach is theoretically based on Pierre Bourdieu’s reflexive sociology and his concept of habitus but includes further concepts of practice theories. By shifting the focus to the movement of people, ideas and things – to pottery production practices in contexts of mobility – a deeper understanding of the transformative capacities of encounters can be achieved. This opens the path for new insights of Neolithic societies including social, cultural and economic dynamics that were underestimated in former research.

Item Type:

Working Paper

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of Archaeological Sciences > Pre- and Early History

UniBE Contributor:

Hafner, Albert; Heitz, Caroline and Stapfer, Regine

Subjects:

900 History > 930 History of ancient world (to ca. 499)

ISSN:

2297-8607

ISBN:

978-3-906813-12-7

Series:

Bern Working Papers on Prehistoric Archaeology / Berner Arbeitspapiere zur Prähistorischen Archäologie

Publisher:

Institute of Archaeological Sciences, Prehistory; Bern Open Publishing (BOP)

Language:

English

Submitter:

Caroline Heitz

Date Deposited:

28 Jun 2016 08:37

Last Modified:

08 Sep 2017 21:53

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.77649

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/77649

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