This investigation addresses a selection of archaeological remains from the time span between the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age in Central, Western and Northern Europe. In particular, the focus of this study lies on an analysis of systems of communication and interaction. For this purpose, the sources have to be limited not by area of interest, but on the level of the material remains because all artefacts of the relevant time span cannot be taken into consideration. Accordingly, the sources are narrowed down by a selection of chronologically distinct and supra-regional spread groups of artefacts, which can be understood as markers for interaction. This can be applied, on the one hand, for single-edged razors without handles which appear in three basic variations (crescent-like, trapezoid and triangular) and, on the other hand, for dress pins with S-shaped shafts (so-called swan‘s neck pins). The latter show a variety of different shaft-end alignments and a large spectrum of different pin-heads. They are made of bronze, iron, or a combination of both, whereas the razors only include bronze and iron types. These artefacts were found in hoards, graves, settlements, and as single-finds.
A total recording of all finds including these artefacts was desired but certainly not fulfilled. Nevertheless, 1.352 archaeological complexes with one or several of these artefacts were recorded, geographically located, and all associated finds were registered. All objects were classified with the help of a poly-hierarchical numeric method. This unique classification features modularity and the possibility of classifying overlapping cross-relations. It registers a wide range of monothetical attributes and polythetical features which all represent different aspects of the objects. The method is executed with the help of four classifications, which in sum characterise each object as a whole entity. Classification A addresses the material, while classification B regards the form and the function of each artefact. Classifications C and D are additionally applied on ornamented objects and address the decorations and the techniques with which each object was treated.
At first, the spatial dispersion of different attribute-feature-combinations is presented descriptively. For this purpose, all find spots are automatically clustered in so-called units of analysis with the help of a spatial-statistical operation. This is a compensation of the material filtered point of view and, in addition, it enables the formulation of statements for geographical areas as a whole.
In the course of interpreting different patterns of diffusion, one becomes aware of a certain liability to subjective conclusions. Addressing this crucial point, a method of modelling prehistoric networks of communication is affiliated discussing each step based on the other. The resulting procedure is applied on several spatially recorded attribute-feature-combinations. The combination of these systems of interaction leads to an aggregational network, in which the data from 61 single networks are integrated. It represents a partition of the entire Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age spheres of interaction. The value of interaction for each connection between units of analysis is seen in respect to its macrochore and therefore can pinpoint potential routes of communication. In this process, a significant dependency on stream systems, on the one hand, and on parts of the European main watershed, on the other hand, becomes visible. Additionally, the results from modelling are compared to other established studies focusing on contemporaneous communication and conclusions are discussed. The results of this thesis emphasize the importance of transparent and modular methods, which should represent the basis of historico-cultural interpretations.
Disertation available on: