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Midlife changes: the Sopot burial ground at Alsónyék

Oross, Krisztián, Osztás, Anett, Marton, Tibor, Köhler, Kitti, Gábor Ódor, János, Szécsényi-Nagy, Anna, Bánffy, Eszter, Alt, Kurt W., Bronk Ramsey, Christopher, Kromer, Bernd, Bayliss, Alexandra, Hamilton, Derek and Whittle, Alasdair 2017. Midlife changes: the Sopot burial ground at Alsónyék. Bericht der Roemisch-Germanische Kommission 94 , pp. 151-178. 10.11588/berrgk.1938.0.37153

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Abstract

To the east of the main excavated area at Alsónyék, a small investigation took place which revealed a Sopot culture occupation, represented by pits, four ditches and 18 graves with the remains of 20 individuals. Some time-depth to the occupation is seen in the ditches cutting the pits, and some of the graves cutting the third ditch. The enclosed area was about five hectares, based on geomagnetic survey, but it is not possible to estimate the entire size of the occupation. The Sopot culture is normally regarded as a horizon with a questionable chronological position on the boundary between the Middle and Late Neolithic in western Hungary. Its role in the formation of the large-scale Lengyel complex remains controversial. Scholars can agree that it was brought to the region from the south, but there have been different views concerning the timing of its spread in the western Carpathian basin. Some have seen it as an entirely pre-Lengyel development, and others as at least partly contemporaneous with the early Lengyel culture. Dating within the ERC-funded project, The Times of Their Lives, aimed to provide formally modelled estimates of the timing and duration of the Sopot occupation at Alsónyék, and in so doing also to contribute to better understanding of the context and development of the Sopot culture in Hungary. The paper presents 17 dates on human and animal bone (including five existing dates from burials), which are modelled in a Bayesian statistical framework. The model concentrates on the samples available from the burials, and its main element regards the burials as representing a continuous period of activity in this area of the Alsónyék complex. The model estimates that the Sopot burials probably began in 5095-5020 cal BC (68% probability), probably lasted for 220-340 years (68% probability), and probably ended in 4825-4750 cal BC (68% probability). The model also estimates a terminus ante quem for the digging of Ditch 211 of probably 4930-4870 cal BC (68% probability). These estimates help to inform debate about the relative sequence of cultural developments in the region, and the relationship of Sopot communities to those of the LBK and the Lengyel cultures. As Alsónyék is the largest currently known Sopot burial ground in Hungary in eastern Transdanubia, this chronology is particularly valuable for modelling cultural interactions along the Danube between the northern Balkans and the Carpathian basin. The Sopot component also contributes significantly to the construction of a robust chronology for the long sequence of occupations at Alsónyék.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Publisher: Verlag Philipp von Zabern GmbH
ISSN: 0341-9312
Funders: ERC-funded Advanced Investigator Grant project
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 3 June 2016
Last Modified: 10 May 2019 02:00
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/91265

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