Arts and Humanities Research Board
University College London
University of Southampton
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Everyday ceramics and cult objects: a millennium of cultural transmission.

Michela Spataro
Institute of Archaeology, UCL

Since 2003, a project on the Starcevo-Cris (SC) Culture has been carried out at the Institute of Archaeology (UCL). The aims of the project are twofold: 1) the definition of the radiocarbon chronology of the Early Neolithic of the Balkans, particularly in Romania, Serbia and Montenegro and Slavonia, and 2) the identification of the raw material sources exploited for the production of everyday pottery and cult objects, such as figurines and altars. The 14 C results show that the relative chronology based on typological phasing fits the absolute one, and that the SC Culture lasted for most of the sixth millennium cal BC, without any evidence of a hiatus. Preliminary results of the scientific analysis of everyday pottery show that the same production formula was used throughout the region, from Slavonia to central-eastern Romania, to southern Serbia and western Banat. Furthermore, at Gura Baciului this formula was used in all four typological phases of the SC Culture. One of the main research questions is whether the cult objects were produced in specialised production centres. These objects are characteristic of the SC culture, and their iconography seems to be consistent throughout the region. Analysis of cult objects from Donja Branjevina indicates that these were manufactured using the same formula as everyday pottery. In summary, the SC Culture spread quickly along the river network over a broad territory ( Biagi et al ., 2005), and was homogeneous, in terms of pottery production technology.

Biagi, P., Shennan , S., and Spataro , M. 2005 - Rapid Rivers and Slow Seas? New Data for the Radiocarbon Chronology of the Balkan Peninsula. Lolita Nikolova (ed.) BAR, International Series, Oxford (in press).

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