Big Exchange: Searching for Knowledge, Social Inequality and Politics behind exceptional Large-Scale Networks in European Prehistory

ROOTS Interdisciplinary ResearchPaneuropean distribution of examplary goods in the Bronze Age: oxhide ingots incl.  representations (Sabatini & Lo Schiavo 2020; Sabatini 2016); Lapis Lazuli (Casanova 2019, Massa & Palmisano 2018); amber spacer-plates (Kristiansen 2016); tin objects (Berger 2019; Nessel 2019). Background map made with Natural Earth, design Hilpert.

Networks connect e. g. production at a source to demand in a distance, regardless if it is the supply of abundant goods like small tools or highly valued diplomatic gifts. Distribution patterns of artifacts and/or raw materials are an expression of these networks as the spread of objects and ideas follow and form their internal organization in a reciprocal way.  
The project aims on the most important examples of outstanding large-scale networks in European prehistory. It collects already available data-sets as well as digitizes published data to standardize and describe those networks with indices. Network parameters will be synchronized with then already available ROOTS indices of social inequality (e.g. Gini coefficients of settlement and graveyard data) and warfare (e.g. fortifications, rates of change in weaponry development, trauma-data). To fulfil the objectives the project uses a questionnaire approach. Currently, generating ideas on the knowledge involved requires qualitative reasoning. The project will identify network-related variables for modelling social processes behind large networks, thus contributing to a more general aim of ROOTS: How are connectivity, social inequality, knowledge and violence affected by each other and dialectically interrelated? 


Post-Doctoral researcher: Dr. Johanna Hilpert

Principal investigators:
PD Dr. Tim Kerig (Subcluster ‘ROOTS of Inequalities’)
Dr. Jutta Kneisel (Subcluster ‘Knowledge ROOTS`)
PD Dr. Oliver Nakoinz (Subcluster ‘ROOTS of Conflict and Conciliation’)


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions