Henry Skorna and Fynn Wilkes on their 2021 research in the Carpathian Basin (Slovakia)

Wilkes and Skorna Fynn Wilkes (left) and Henry Skorna (right) at the Bronze Age burial site of Jelšovce (Slovakia) (picture: F. Wilkes / H. Skorna)

During the first three weeks of July, two ROOTS PhD candidates, Henry Skorna and Fynn Wilkes, travelled to Western Slovakia to collect original data for their PhD projects on “Inequality and Violence in East Central Europe” (link) and “Social Inequality in the Carpathian Basin” (link), respectively. Both projects are conducted in the framework of the Subcluster ROOTS of Inequalities (link).

The first week of fieldwork was spent working with archaeological material and literature at the University of Bratislava, where they also had opportunities to meet with Slovakian colleagues following a year and a half of only virtual communication. This time offered them access to numerous local scientific publications, which are not accessible through German library catalogues. The following two weeks were spent at the guest house of the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Science in Nitra. There, they collected bone samples for isotope studies as well as data about metal weights.

In addition, bone samples were collected for the project “Inequality and diet at the Bronze Age burial site of Jelšovce” – a shared project in the framework of their individual PhD projects. This study aims to understand how dietary markers, including isotopes, could be used as a proxy for inequality measures. With more than 600 burials, the site of Jelšovce (Nitra region, West Slovakia) one of the largest Early Bronze Age burial sites in the region and has already been studied with a wide set of methods. It therefore offers an exceptional archive for this investigation.

Furthermore, Henry and Fynn measured and weighed Copper and Bronze artefacts of various Bronze Age burial sites from West and Southwest-Slovakia. The weight of these object is a particularly important factor for both PhD projects, since studies about inequality and wealth often take the scarcity of material into consideration. Surprisingly, the weights of metal artefacts are not commonly published in finds catalogues.

In addition, material for C-14 dating was collected in order to date several long-known Bronze Age burial sites. The radiocarbon dates will be used to gain a deeper understanding of the sequence of sites in the region. Furthermore, the samples will shed light on the long-lasting debate on the chronological relationship of the Nitra culture within the Early Bronze Age of South-Western Slovakia.

Henry Skorna and Fynn Wilkes would like to thank the Institute of Archaeology of the Slovak Academy of Science in Nitra, the Archaeological Department of the Comenius University in Bratislava, the Museum Galanta, and the Museum Trnava and the Museum Nové Zámky for their support during the visit.

Wilkes and SkornaEarly Bronze Age burial inventory from the region of Nitra (photo: F. Wilkes).

Wilkes and Skorna
Fynn Wilkes scanning literature at the library of the Comenius University Bratislava (photo: H. Skorna).

Wilkes and Skorna



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