Riparian environment in shaping social and economic behavior during the first phase of the evolution of Late Neolithic tell complexes in SE Hungary (6th/5th millennia BC)

Sándor Gulyás, Pál Sümegi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The period corresponding to the initial phase of cultural evolution in the Late Neolithic of SE Hungary (turn of the 6th and 5th millennia) is characterized by a major transformation recorded both in settlement structure and strategy, as well as material culture of the agrarian societies settled in the SE part of the Great Hungarian Plains. According to the available chronological data and archeology from the sites of multi-layered settlement complexes (tells) located on natural highs of the floodplain of the River Tisza, during the initial phase of its evolution representatives of the Tisza Culture were mainly confined to the SE part of the Great Hungarian Plains south of the Körös River. This period was followed by a relatively stable phase lasting about 150 years which hallmarked the greatest northward expansion of the culture. Some studies noticed strange features in connection with the first settlement complexes dated to the first period especially along the northern borderline of the culture's distribution; i.e. a loose cluster of distinct settlement nuclei instead of concentration of settlements to a confined area characteristic of tells. Furthermore, by the end of the first phase, in the evolution of some settlements a northward shift of the houses away from the water was recorded. Most likely these reflect a socioeconomic response to some transformation in the local and/or regional riparian environment. As shown by our data gained from the paleoecological analysis of freshwater mollusks from a tell site, the referred pre-transitional period was characterized by pronounced floods causing major perturbations in the regional riparian environment. At the same time, the introduction of new subsistence strategies including shellfishing and fishing and the reordering of settlement structure was also recorded at several sites implying a successful adaptation to such most likely climate-induced perturbation, which is contemporary with the 5.1 ky event known in the literature.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2683-2695
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Archaeological Science
Volume38
Issue number10
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2011

Keywords

  • Carpathian Basin
  • Climate change
  • Freshwater mollusks
  • Multi-proxy paleoecological analysis
  • Neolithic
  • Riparian environment
  • Social and economic development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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