The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain
Prof. Alasdair Whittle
With our final report nearing completion, I will summarise some of the main findings of the recent British-Hungarian project on the Early Neolithic site of Ecsegfalva 23, Co. Békés, and discuss them in relation to debate about the beginnings of the Neolithic in the northern Balkans. Ecsegfalva 23 is one of a group of sites near the northern margins of the Körös culture in the Hortobágy-Berettyó valley, roughly in the middle of the Great Hungarian Plain. Occupied for a relatively short period c. 5700 cal BC, it shows people attached to one place, and engaged with hunting, fishing, collecting but above all cultivation and herding. That place may have been in continuous use, but the occupation went through cycles of change, and people may not have been tethered to it at all times. This was perhaps a small and at times isolated settlement. Who were these people descended from? I will explore the case for a fusion model. Were these people directly involved in the further spread of the Neolithic? I will examine the lack of evidence for major population increase in the Körös culture, and compare the regional situation with both the northern part of the Great Hungarian Plain and Transdanubia (west of the Danube).
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