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date: 25 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores the historical transition from the Neolithic to the Bronze Age between the fourth and the third millennia BC and highlights some major qualitative or structural differences between the two. It argues that this new social formation restructured the political economy around a new set of institutions, giving rise to more complex societies at a global level. The chapter first examines the historical conditions or forces that led to the decline of the Neolithic and the rise of the Bronze Age in prehistoric Europe by comparing seemingly similar tell societies in both epochs in the Carpathian basin before identifying the new institutions of the Bronze Age, including the regional economic division of labour. As bronze was universally adopted it implied regular long-distance trade in metal, which created a new globalized economy that did not exist during the Neolithic.

Keywords: Neolithic, Bronze Age, social organization, family, property, metallurgy, political economy, Europe, Carpathian basin, trade

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