Social identities and chipped-stone technological cycles in east Balkan and Anatolian late prehistoric contexts

Социални идентичности и технологични цикли за производство на каменни сечива в късния праисторически контекст на източните Балкани и Анатолия

  • Tsoni Tsonev Department of Interdisciplinary Research and archaeological map of Bulgaria, National institute of archaeology with мuseum in Bulgarian academy of sciences, 2 Saborna Str., 1000 Sofia
Keywords: notions of the social aspect of flint-knapping tools: ‘distance’, ‘exotic’, and ‘quality’


The article takes into consideration three different aspects of the relationship established between the social identity and chipped-stone technologies for production of stone tools and objects. These aspects include the notions of ‘distance’, ‘exotic’, and ‘quality’. I analyze the question how these aspects inscribe themselves into the networks of communication and exchange, and how they are understood by the prehistoric communities from the Neolithic, Eneolithic and Early Bronze Age in the Balkans and Anatolia. In this study I put a special focus on landscape metaphors, information flow, embodied skills, and gender relations, all of which constitute the phenomenology of the past human behavior. I narrow down my analysis on revealing the added value these notions bring about to the ‘special’ artifacts, made by ‘special’ materials, and how they participate in the formation of social identities. The major goal is to find out the process of establishing the social inequality among the prehistoric communities in the Balkans and Anatolia. Geographically, my study focuses on the Balkan-Anatolian region and includes examples drawn from different archaeological contexts. I use two criteria for analysis of the technological cycles as part of the social identity: expansion of the knowledge about distant regions (presence of high-quality flint varieties), and the social conventions for their representation (‘special’ artifacts that are being exchanged over long distances). In this way I represent a great number of archaeological facts that prove the discrete geographic nature of the process of establishment of social inequality among the prehistoric communities from the Balkans and Anatolia.

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