Dissertation Proposal Defense: Metal Procurement and Community Organization in Bronze Age Southwest Transylvania
My research will investigate how metal procurement affected community organization in Transylvania during the Bronze Age (2500-1200BC). Metals, especially copper, tin, and gold, were key resources during the Bronze Age, a period of major social transformation across Europe. Southwest Transylvania is an ideal location in which to study the articulation of metal procurement and community organization because metal resources are locally abundant. The goals of this research are to understand how metal procurement was organized, and the changing roles of metal procurement in both the political economy and the development of social complexity throughout the Bronze Age.
The organization and evolution of metal procurement systems and communities will be examined through analysis of regional and diachronic patterning of metal technological processes, settlement systems, and local and non-local exchange. To generate these data, I will conduct systematic survey and test excavations at sites within the Geoagiu Valley to complement previously collected regional datasets. I will evaluate models for the organization of metal procurement if it was integrated by (1) autonomous communities, (2) local elites, or (3) regional polities using settlement patterns, metallurgical evidence, long-distance exchange, and cemeteries as archaeological indicators. These models will inform our understanding of how Bronze Age communities oriented themselves on the landscape in relation to locally available resources and to each other, and how these relationships changed through time.