The early Neolithic site of Vráble (5250-4950 cal BCE) is among the largest LBK settlement agglomerations in Central Europe, and exceptional within the southwest Slovakian area. Geophysical surveys revealed more than 300 houses, grouped into three contemporary neighbourhoods, one of which is delineated by a complex ditched enclosure system. This enclosure is associated with a large number of human remains, which reveal new patterns of burial and deposition practices. This volume presents the first part of the results of an international research project that was started in 2012 and aims to explore the social implications of settlement concentration in the context of early farming communities, on the background of subsistence patterns and landscape use.
This is the first volume of “Archaeology in the Žitava valley”, and it presents the finds, features and data uncovered and synthesised from our archaeological, pedological, geophysical, archaeobotanical, anthropological, zoo-archaeological and stable isotope studies on the site of Vráble “Veľké Lehemby” and “Fárske” in southwest Slovakia. These data are used to reconstruct the social and economic patterns and social processes, highlighting a growing tension between incentives of cooperation and sharing vs. monopolisation of resources and individual interests, driving the 300-year history of this site until its total abandonment. While the history of Vráble is unique, it holds clues for a better understanding of the overall, central European phenomenon of large, enclosed settlements of the later LBK, their association with rituals and violence involving human bodies, and the end of the LBK social world.
1. Research at the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Ivan Cheben, Martin Furholt
2. Scientific analyses at Vráble
2.1 Large scale magnetic prospections at Vráble “Veľké Lehemby” and “Fárske”
Knut Rassmann, Kay Winkelmann, Wolfgang Rabbel, Martin Furholt
2.2 Extending archaeological documentation from 2D to 3D: The benefits of geophysical on-site measurements in excavations
Natalie Pickartz, Erica Corradini, Raphael Kahn, Diana Panning, Knut Rassmann, Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Martin Furholt, Dennis Wilken, Tina Wunderlich, Wolfgang Rabbel
2.3 Geoarchaeology at Neolithic Vráble, Slovakia – New insights into early environmental impact from soils and sediments
Stefan Dreibrodt, Hans-Rudolf Bork
3. Settlement features and human burials
3.1. Built structures at the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Ivan Cheben, Martin Furholt, Nils Müller-Scheeßel
3.2. The burials and human remains from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Zuzana Hukeľová
4.1. Typochronology of the pottery from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Ivan Cheben, Alena Bistakova, Martin Furholt, Bastian Wolthoff, Wiebke Mainusch, Nils Müller-Scheeßel
4.2 Radiocarbon dating at the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
5. Material Culture, plants and animal data
5.1 The pottery and ornamentic styles from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Ivan, Cheben, Alena Bistakova
5.2 Stone tools from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Michael Cheben, Nils Müller-Scheeßel
5.3 Bone tools from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
5.4 Animal bones from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Ulrich Schmölcke, Rebekka Eckelmann
5.5 Archaeobotanical remains from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Dragana Filipović, Helmut Kroll, Wiebke Kirleis
5.6 Anthracological remains from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
5.7 Snail Shells from the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
5.8 Stable isotopic perspectives of animal and human diet at the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Rosalind E. Gillis, Cheryl A. Makarewicz
6. Synthesis: Demography, economy and social organisation at the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
6.1 Demography of the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble and the Žitava valley
Johannes Müller, Maria Wunderlich, Ivan Cheben, Alena Bistakova, Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Martin Furholt
6.2 Subsistence economy of the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Martin Furholt, Dragana Filipović, Ulrich Schmölcke, Rebekka Eckelmann
6.3 A political economy of the LBK and Želiezovce settlement site of Vráble
Maria Wunderlich, Martin Furholt, Johannes Müller, Ivan Cheben, Alena Bistakova, Nils Müller-Scheeßel
Johannes Müller (PhD, University of Freiburg, 1990) is a Professor and Director of the Institute for Prehistoric and Protohistoric Archaeology at Kiel University, Germany. He is the founding director of the Johanna Mestorf Academy, Speaker of the Collaborative Research Centre “Scales of Transformation: Human-environmental Interaction in Prehistoric and Archaic Societies”and of the Excellence Cluster “ROOTS – Social, Environmental, and Cultural Connectivity in Past Societies”.
Martin Furholt is Professor at the Institute of Archaeology, Conservation and History at the University of Oslo, Norway. Before he was working as Research Fellow and Lecturer at the CAU Kiel. His main research interests are the social and political organisation, mobility and community composition, local and regional social networks of Neolithic and Bronze Age communities in Southeast Europe, Central Europe, and Northern Europe.
Alena Bistáková is Researcher at the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra. Her main interests are material culture studies, settlement structures and burial rite of Neolithic and Copper Age periods in Central Europe. She has conducted archaeological fieldwork in Slovakia. She has worked on projects in Central Europe, covering the Neolithic to the Bronze Age and archaeological practices and knowledge work in the digital environment. She is part of the Vráble project since 2018.
Ivan Cheben is a Researcher at the Archaeological Institute of the Slovak Academy of Sciences in Nitra. His main research interests are material culture studies and settlement patterns of Neolithic and Copper Age periods in Central Europe. He has an extensive experience in archaeological fieldwork in Slovakia, and served as the head of rescue excavations in SW Slovakia for many years. Since 2012 he is head of the Vráble fieldwork project.
Nils Müller-Scheeßel is Scientific Editor and Lecturer at Kiel University. He has worked on several projects in central and south-eastern Europe, covering the Neolithic to the Iron Age, and joined the Vráble project in 2016. His particular interests include the means and meaning of the disposal of the dead, landscape archaeology, the possibilities of remote sensing, as well as quantitative methods.
Maria Wunderlich is currently a Lecturer and Research Fellow at the Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology, Kiel University. Being interested in social archaeology and comparative analyses, she combines different theoretical approaches with material data derived both in recent and archaeological contexts. She obtained her doctoral degree (Dr. phil) in 2018.