Blog posted by Akos Mengyan

Write Bronze Age stories by the help of the numbers.

Think about it that you are trying to tell a story about someone or about a community through their material culture and their funerary practices. Is it seems to be difficult? I say it is. In the BAKOTA project’s 2018s season, we are trying to recognize a community through their known and excavated material culture. We are investigating a Bronze Age site in Southeastern Hungary to understand their social organization and to get a wider aspect about their life.

I am the part of the ceramic team and we are analyzing the vessels and sherds from a Bronze Age cemetery and settlement. We are measuring their ornaments and their metrical data, so we can represent all vessels like numbers. First, this may sounds a little bit boring, but it is worth it, because we can work with this data and we can tell their stories to the world.

The researchers believe that the Bronze Age is the first period in the human history, when we have concrete evidence for the stratified society. Most of them believe that at this time there is rising up a warrior elite, whose controlling the trade, the settlements and they are “moving this exciting world”, moreover they are fighting with each other for these goods at times.

However, we have not so much possibilities, because most of their material culture ruined unfortunately, but at the same time we have lots of methods and techniques, which can help us and this methodology is developing constantly. For example we do not just coding the vessels, but we can use the GIS (Geographic Information System), so we can look the place of the graves on their original location for this we have a great opportunity to looking for groups of graves which were placed far away from the others. As well as we can use the results of the earlier anthropological investigations, to know more about the dead. Moreover, besides the lab work we are excavating more sections on the field to find more graves and to gain more information.

Hopefully at the end of the season we will get a few more answers about this site. For example every individual elements vary by social units and burial form (inhumation, urn cremation, and scattered cremation), in the cemetery 4th period. Furthermore, I will compare element variation between vessel forms and will try to identify changes in individual elements over time. So in this season  the ceramic team and I  are investigating the cemetery through the vessel forms and ornaments. Moreover we are looking for patterns and trying draw conclusion about their life through these analysis.