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date: 27 January 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Balkan Neolithic and Chalcolithic communities lived in a mosaic of settings, providing a suite of complementary resources but dominated by upland regions. Four non-evolutionary phases can be distinguished in three millennia. Communities of ‘early farmers’ developed subsistence economies based largely upon Anatolian or Aegean domesticated plants and animals. Tells and flat sites showed regional variations, while other forms of material culture were found in each region. Social integration and improved farming techniques led to a higher degree of sedentism and settlement nucleation among ‘mature farmers’. Local and regional identities were marked materially by decorated wares and ritual equipment. The term ‘climax period’ refers to a period with significant material diversification and regionalization in all aspects of cultural identity, especially gold and copper metallurgy. In the ‘post-climax Chalcolithic’, different depositional strategies led to the reduction in quantity and diversity of material culture on small settlements, large corporate cemeteries, and the more frequent hoards.

Keywords: Material transformations, symbolism, personal skills, embodied skills, personhood, domestication, settlement, pottery, figurines, metallurgy, copper, gold

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