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Obsidian exchange and societies in the Balkans and the Aegean from the late 7th to 5th millennia BC

Milic, M; (2016) Obsidian exchange and societies in the Balkans and the Aegean from the late 7th to 5th millennia BC. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

Obsidian has long been recognised as a proxy for tracing long-distance interaction and exchange. In this thesis, I use these lithics to examine the directionality, intensity and nature of interactions of the Neolithic communities that lived in western Anatolia, the Aegean and the Balkans between the late 7th and the mid-5 th millennia BC. The study sites are located in the zones of circulation of material from three major obsidian sources: central Anatolian, Melian and Carpathian. More specifically, they are located in the peripheries of, and overlaps between, distributions zones in which obsidian was procured from long distance. The thesis investigates the modes and scales of interaction that are responsible for bringing obsidian to these sites and that can be measured through characterising obsidian consumption. The main approach is based on examination of interrelationships between raw material and technology in a number of assemblages. This is done by provenancing obsidian artefacts to sources by quantifying characteristic trace element patterns using data obtained with a portable X-Ray Fluorescence spectrometer. Techno-typological analysis of artefacts within the chaîne opératoire framework is used to understand the forms in which obsidian was exchanged and consumed at settlements. The results show that the interactions in these regions are not highly uniform. The amount of obsidian found in these assemblages is sufficiently small that it could not be counted as a primary raw material, and so in many cases it could be related to irregular or occasional events rather than formal exchange networks or long-term relationships. The thesis also seeks to develop our understanding of the varying motivations and mechanisms underlying the consumption of obsidian from its role in day-to-day practices to its use as a symbolic representation of long-distance contacts.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Obsidian exchange and societies in the Balkans and the Aegean from the late 7th to 5th millennia BC
Event: UCL (University College London)
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Third party copyright material has been removed from ethesis.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of SandHS > Institute of Archaeology
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1477490
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