Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

Diet, dispersal and social differentiation during the Copper Age in eastern Hungary

  • Julia I. Giblin (a1) and Richard W. Yerkes (a2)
Abstract

Why did the early farming societies of south-east Europe ‘collapse’ and become apparently less complex at the end of the Neolithic? Stable isotope analysis of human bone collagen from Late Neolithic and Copper Age cemeteries in eastern Hungary provides new insights into this question by exploring dietary changes during this key transitional period. Results show that diet did not change significantly over time, and there was no evidence that individuals of different sex or social status were consuming privileged diets. The changes of this period appear to indicate a reorganisation of society, perhaps based around extended families, with greater dispersal across the landscape, but without reliance on dairying or the emergence of powerful leaders.

Copyright
References
Hide All
Ambrose, S.H. 1990. Preparation and characterization of bone and tooth collagen for isotopic analysis. Journal of Archaeological Science 17: 431–51.
Anthony, D.W. 2010. The rise and fall of old Europe, in Anthony, D.W. & Chi, J.Y. (ed.) The lost world of old Europe: the Danube Valley, 5000–3500 BC: 2857. New York: Institute for the Study of the Ancient World.
Bánffy, E. 1994. Transdanubia and eastern Hungary in the Early Copper Age. A Jósa András Múzeum Évkönyve 36: 291–96.
Bánffy, E. 1995. South-west Transdanubia as a mediating area. On the culture history of the Early and Middle Chalcolithic, in Szőke, B. (ed.) Archaeology and settlement history in the Hahót Basin, SW Hungary: 157–96. Budapest: Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Bartosiewicz, L. 2005. Plain talk: animals, environment and culture in the Neolithic of the Carpathian Basin and adjacent areas, in Bailey, D.W., Whittle, A. & Cummings, V. (ed.) (Un)settling the Neolithic: 5163. Oxford: Oxbow.
Bartosiewicz, L. 2007. Fish remains, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 377–94. Budapest: Institute of Archaeology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Bogaard, A., Heaton, T.H.E., Poulton, P. & Merbach, I.. 2007. The impact of manuring on nitrogen isotope ratios in cereals: archaeological implications for reconstruction of diet and crop management practices. Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 335–43. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.04.009
Bogaard, A., Fraser, R., Heaton, T.H.E., Wallace, M., Vaiglova, P., Charles, M., Jones, G., Evershed, R.P., Styring, A.K., Andersen, N.H., Arbogast, R.-M., Bartosiewicz, L., Gardeisen, A., Kanstrup, M., Maier, U., Marinova, E., Ninov, L., Schäfer, M. & Stephan, E.. 2013. Crop manuring and intensive land management by Europe's first farmers. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA 110: 12589–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1305918110
Bognár-Kutzián, I. 1972. The Early Copper Age Tiszapolgar culture in the Carpathian Basin. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
Bogucki, P. 1993. Animal traction and household economies in Neolithic Europe. Antiquity 67: 492503.
Bökönyi, S. 1988. History of domestic mammals in Central and Eastern Europe. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó.
Bonsall, C., Cook, G.T., Heaton, T.H.E., Higham, T.F.G., Pickard, C. & Radovanovic, I.. 2004. Radiocarbon and stable isotope evidence of dietary change from the Mesolithic to the Middle Ages in the Iron Gates: new results from Lepenski Vir. Radiocarbon 46: 293300.
Bonsall, C., Horvat, M., McSweeney, K., Masson, M., Higham, T.F.G., Pickard, C. & Cook, G.T.. 2007. Chronological and dietary aspects of the human burials from Ajdovska Cave, Slovenia. Radiocarbon 49: 727–40.
Chapman, J. 1999. The origins of warfare in the prehistory of Central and Eastern Europe, in Carman, J. & Harding, A. (ed.) Ancient warfare: archaeological perspectives: 101–42. Phoenix Mill: Sutton.
Craig, O.E., Chapman, J., Heron, C., Willis, L.H., Bartosiewicz, L., Taylor, G., Whittle, A. & Collins, M.. 2005. Did the first farmers of Central and Eastern Europe produce dairy foods? Antiquity 79: 882–94.
Craig, O.E., Heron, C., Willis, L.H., Yusof, N. & Taylor, G.. 2007. Organic residue analysis of pottery vessels, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 349–60. Budapest: Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Duffy, P.R. 2014. Complexity and autonomy in Bronze Age Europe: assessing cultural developments in Eastern Hungary. Volume 1: prehistoric research in the Körös region. Budapest: Archaeolingua.
Dufour, E., Bocherens, H. & Mariotti, A.. 1999. Palaeodietary implications of isotopic variability in Eurasian lacustrine fish. Journal of Archaeological Science 26: 617–27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1998.0379
Dürrwächter, C., Craig, O.E., Collins, M.J., Burger, J. & Alt, K.W.. 2006. Beyond the grave: variability in Neolithic diets in southern Germany? Journal of Archaeological Science 33: 3948. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2005.06.009
Ecsedy, I. 1981. A keletmagyarországi rézkor fejlıdésének fontosabb tényezıi [On the factors of the Copper Age development in eastern Hungary]. Janus Pannonius Múzeum Évkönyve 26: 7395.
Flannery, K.V. 2002. Prehistoric social evolution, in Peregrine, P., Ember, C. & Ember, M. (ed.) Archaeology: original readings in method and practice: 225455. Upper Saddle River: Prentice-Hall.
Fraser, R.A., Bogaard, A., Heaton, T., Charles, M., Jones, G., Christensen, B.T., Halstead, P., Merbach, I., Poulton, P.R., Sparkes, D. & Styring, A.K.. 2011. Manuring and stable nitrogen isotope ratios in cereals and pulses: towards a new archaeobotanical approach to the inference of land use and dietary practices. Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 27902804. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2011.06.024
Gábris, Gy. & Nádor, A.. 2007. Long-term fluvial archives in Hungary: response of the Danube and Tisza rivers to tectonic movements and climatic changes during the Quaternary: a review and new synthesis. Quaternary Science Reviews 26: 2758–82. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2007.06.030
Gardner, A.R. 2002. Neolithic to Copper Age woodland impacts in northeast Hungary? Evidence from the pollen and sediment records. The Holocene 12: 541–53. http://dx.doi.org/10.1191/0959683602hl561rp
Giblin, J.I. 2011. Isotope analysis on the Great Hungarian Plain: an exploration of mobility and subsistence strategies from the Neolithic to the Copper Age. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Ohio State University.
Giblin, J.I. 2014. Herd mobility and secondary product exploitation in eastern Hungary during the Neolithic and Copper Ages: strontium isotope analysis from zooarchaeological samples, in Greenfield, H. (ed.) Animal secondary products: domestic animal exploitation in prehistoric Europe, the Near East and the Far East. Oxford: Oxbow.
Gimbutas, M. 1982. The goddesses and gods of old Europe, 6500–3500 BC: myths and cult images. London: Thames & Hudson.
Greenfield, H.J. 2010. The Secondary Products Revolution: the past, the present and the future. World Archaeology 42: 2954. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00438240903429722
Gulyás, S. & Sümegi, P.. 2011. Riparian environment in shaping social and economic behavior during the first phase of the evolution of Late Neolithic tell complexes in SE Hungary (6th/5th millennia BC). Journal of Archaeological Science 38: 2683–95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2011.06.005
Gulyás, S., Tóth, A. & Sümegi, P.. 2007. The zooarchaeological analysis of freshwater bivalve shells and their relevance regarding the life of a Neolithic community, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 395411. Budapest: Institute of Archaeology, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Gyucha, A. 2009. A Körös-vidék Kora Rézkora [The Early Copper Age in the Körös region]. Unpublished PhD dissertation, Eötvös Loránd University.
Gyucha, A., Parkinson, W.A. & Yerkes, R.W.. 2009. A multi-scalar approach to settlement pattern analysis: the transition from the Late Neolithic to the Early Copper Age on the Great Hungarian Plain, in Thurston, T.L. & Salisbury, R.B. (ed.) Reimagining regional analyses: the archaeology of spatial and social dynamics: 100–29. Newcastle: Cambridge Scholars.
Gyucha, A., Duffy, P.R. & Frolking, T.A.. 2011. The Körös Basin from the Neolithic to the Hapsburgs: linking settlement distributions with pre-regulation hydrology through multiple dataset overlay. Geoarchaeology 26: 392419. http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/gea.20350
Halstead, P. 1999. Neighbours from hell? The household in Neolithic Greece, in Halstead, P. (ed.) Neolithic society in Greece: 7795. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic.
Hedges, R.E.M. & Reynard, L.M.. 2007. Nitrogen isotopes and the trophic level of humans in archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Science 34: 1240–51. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.10.015
Hoefs, J. 2004. Stable isotope geochemistry. Berlin: Springer. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-662-05406-2
Hoekman-Sites, H.A. & Giblin, J.I.. 2012. Prehistoric animal use on the Great Hungarian Plain: a synthesis of isotope and residue analyses from the Neolithic and Copper Age. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 31: 515–27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2012.05.002
Honch, N.V., Higham, T.F.G., Chapman, J., Gaydarska, B. & Hedges, R.E.M.. 2006. A palaeodietary investigation of carbon (13C/12C) and nitrogen (15N/14N) in human and faunal bones from the Copper Age cemeteries of Varna I and Durankulak, Bulgaria. Journal of Archaeological Science 33: 14931504. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jas.2006.02.002
Kalicz, N. 1988. The new results of the investigations on the Hungarian Copper Age. Summary. Rassegna di Archaologia 7: 75103.
Katzenberg, M.A. & Weber, A.. 1999. Stable isotope ecology and paleodiet in the Lake Baikal region of Siberia. Journal of Archaeological Science 26: 651–65. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1998.0382
Keeley, L.H., Fontana, M. & Quick, R.. 2007. Baffles and bastions: the universal features of fortifications. Journal of Archaeological Research 15: 5595. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10814-006-9009-0
Le Huray, J.D. & Schutkowski, H.. 2005. Diet and social status during the La Tène period in Bohemia: carbon and nitrogen stable isotope analysis of bone collagen from Kutna Hora-Karlov and Radovesice. Journal of Anthropological Archaeology 24: 135–47. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jaa.2004.09.002
Lillie, M.C. & Richards, M.P.. 2000. Stable isotope analysis and dental evidence of diet at the Mesolithic–Neolithic transition in Ukraine. Journal of Archaeological Science 27: 965–72. http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/jasc.1999.0544
Lillie, M.C., Richards, M.P. & Jacobs, K.. 2003. Stable isotope analysis of 21 individuals from the Epipalaeolithic cemetery of Vasilyevka III, Dnieper Rapids region, Ukraine. Journal of Archaeological Science 30: 743–52. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/S0305-4403(02)00249-2
Molnár, S. & Sümegi, P.. 2007. A long history of the Kiri-tó meander, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 4765. Budapest: Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Motuzaite-Matuzeviciute, G., Staff, R.A., Hunt, H.V., Liu, X. & Jones, M.K.. 2013. The early chronology of broomcorn millet (Panicum miliaceum) in Europe. Antiquity 87: 1073–85. http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0003598X00049875
Murray, M.L. & Schoeninger, M.J.. 1988. Diet, status, and complex social structure in Iron Age Central Europe: some contributions of bone chemistry, in Gibson, D.B. & Geselowitz, M.N. (ed.) Tribe and polity in late prehistoric Europe: 155–76. New York: Plenum. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4899-0777-6_7
Nagy-Bodor, E., Jarai-Komlodi, M. & Medve, A.. 2000. Late Glacial and post-Glacial pollen records and inferred climatic changes from Lake Balaton and the Great Hungarian Plain. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 181: 121–33. http://dx.doi.org/10.1144/GSL.SP.2000.181.01.12
Nicodemus, A. 2003. Animal economy and social change during the Neolithic–Copper Age transition on the Great Hungarian Plain. Unpublished MA dissertation, Florida State University.
Parkinson, W.A. 2006. The social organization of Early Copper Age tribes on the Great Hungarian Plain (British Archaeological Reports international series 1573). Oxford: Archaeopress. http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/009346910X12707321520675
Parkinson, W.A., Yerkes, R.W., Gyucha, A., Sarris, A., Morris, M. & Salisbury, R.B.. 2010. Early Copper Age settlements in the Körös Region of the Great Hungarian Plain. Journal of Field Archaeology 35: 164–83.
Pearson, J.A. & Hedges, R.E.M.. 2007. Stable carbon and nitrogen analysis and the evidence for diet at Ecsegfalva and beyond, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 413–19. Budapest: Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Richards, M.P. & Hedges, R.E.M.. 1999. A Neolithic Revolution? New evidence of diet in the British Neolithic. Antiquity 73: 891–97.
Richards, M.P., Price, T.D. & Koch, E.. 2003. Mesolithic and Neolithic subsistence in Denmark: new stable isotope data. Current Anthropology 44: 288–95. http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/367971
Sherratt, A. 1984. The development of Neolithic and Copper Age settlement in the Great Hungarian Plain. Part II: site survey and settlement dynamics. Oxford Journal of Archaeology 2: 1341. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1468-0092.1983.tb00093.x
Sherratt, A. 1997. Economy and society in prehistoric Europe: changing perspectives. Princeton (NJ): Princeton University Press.
Sümegi, P., Kertész, R. & Hertelendi, E.. 2002. Environmental change and human adaptation in the Carpathian Basin at the Late Glacial/Postglacial transition, in Jerem, E. & Biró, K.T. (ed.) Proceedings of the 31st International Symposium on Archaeometry (British Archaeological Reports international series 1043): 171–77. Oxford: Archaeopress.
Tringham, R. 2000. The continuous house: a view from the deep past, in Joyce, R. & Gillespie, S. (ed.) Beyond kinship: social and material reproduction in house societies: 115–34. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.
Tringham, R. & Krstić, D.. 1990. Conclusion: selevac in the wider context of European prehistory, in Tringham, R. & Krstić, D. (ed.) Selevac: a Neolithic village in Yugoslavia: 567616. Los Angeles: Institute of Archaeology, University of California.
Whittle, A. 1996. Europe in the Neolithic. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Whittle, A., Bartosiewicz, L., Borić, D., Pettitt, P. & Richards, M.. 2002. In the beginning: new radiocarbon dates for the Early Neolithic in northern Serbia and south-east Hungary. Antaeus 25: 72117.
Whittle, A., Anders, A., Bentley, R.A., Bickle, P., Cramp, L., Domboróczki, L., Fibiger, L., Hamilton, J., Hedges, R., Kalicz, N., Kovcás, Zs. E., Marton, T., Oross, K., Pap, I. & Raczky, P.. 2013. Hungary, in Bickle, P. & Whittle, A. (ed.) The first farmers of Central Europe: 4997. Oxford: Oxbow.
Willis, K.J. 2007. Impact of the Early Neolithic Körös culture on the landscape: evidence from palaeoecological investigations of Kiri-tó, in Whittle, A. (ed.) The Early Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain: investigations of the Körös culture site of Ecsegfalva 23, County Békés: 8399. Budapest: Archaeological Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
Willis, K.J., Sumegi, P., Braun, M., Bennett, K.D. & Toth, A.. 1998. Prehistoric land degradation in Hungary: who, how and why? Antiquity 72: 101–13.
Yerkes, R.W., Gyucha, A. & Parkinson, W.A.. 2009. A multi-scalar approach to modeling the end of the Neolithic on the Great Hungarian Plain using calibrated radiocarbon dates. Radiocarbon 51: 890932.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Antiquity
  • ISSN: 0003-598X
  • EISSN: 1745-1744
  • URL: /core/journals/antiquity
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material
Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material 3

 Unknown (19 KB)
19 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material
Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material 2

 Unknown (13 KB)
13 KB
PDF
Supplementary materials

Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material
Giblin and Yerkes supplementary material 1

 PDF (146 KB)
146 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed