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date: 26 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

The Spondylus gaederopus/Glycymeris exchange network has long been known as the earliest continent-wide network in prehistoric Europe. This chapter establishes a space-time framework for the four distinctive phases of this network, which changes from low-intensity, Greek-Balkan to continent-wide, linking Greece to the Paris Basin, before a reduction to a Balkan-Carpathian network of high intensity, with many regional differences in forms and production. The two principal sources of the marine shells—the Aegean and the Adriatic—were exploited in different ways, with several production sites known near the former but none as yet near the latter. Currently, the only site more than 100km from the Aegean with a complete production sequence is Orlovo (SE Bulgaria). Shells were principally used as personal ornaments, taking advantage of their four main characteristics—their distinctive colour and brightness, their exoticity, and their capacity to carry biographical information about their life histories.

Keywords: Shells, exotics, long-distance exchange networks, transformations, revelation, regional preferences, Varna, Vršac sites, LBK (Linear Pottery Culture)

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