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The problem with tells: lessons learned from absolute dating of Bronze Age mortuary ceramics in Hungary

  • Paul R. Duffy (a1), Györgyi M. Parditka (a2), Julia I. Giblin (a3) and László Paja (a4)

Prehistoric population decline is often associated with social collapse, migration and environmental change. Many scholars have assumed that the abandonment of the fortified tell sites of the Great Hungarian Plain c. 1500–1450 BC led to significant regional depopulation. The authors investigate the veracity of this assumption by dating graves from Békés 103—a recently excavated Bronze Age cemetery in eastern Hungary. Using decorative motifs and radiocarbon dates to measure changing ceramic styles over more than 1300 years, they consider the implications for non-tell sites known only through surface survey. The results suggest that, even though people abandoned tell sites, regional populations were maintained.

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