Conflict and Conciliation in the First Millennium BC

In the surge of conflict archaeology over the last decades, the research focus was firmly placed on aspects related to violence and the escalation of past conflicts. This PhD project aims at bringing de-escalation and conciliation back into the picture. The investigation will focus on different research questions: How is conciliation visible in the archaeological record? Can the (pre)history of conflict and conciliation in the chosen region be merged into a narrative? Can common patterns be found in these social conflicts? Are there certain coping strategies that tend to lead to de-escalation?
The selected setting is located in the southwestern Baltic Sea region of the Late Bronze Age and the Early Iron Age, a time during which interactions with objects connected to conflicts change visibly in the archaeological record. For example, the deposition of weapons was first focused within hoards, later switching to graves, which can be interpreted as an archaeological more egalitarian looking society turning into an increasingly stratified one. Throughout this phase of prehistory, people deploy different measures to fortify their settlements or whole stretches of land. Building fortifications and their upkeep requires resources, such as time, manpower, and material, so they are most likely an important node in the political network-facilitating dialog about territoriality and power. Hence, while broadcasting a heightened potential for conflict, they are at the same time measures of conciliation processes.

LoyReconstruction of the fortification of the Early Iron Age/Pre-Roman Iron Age settlement at Lyngsmose, Denmark (photo: Anna K. Loy, September 2019).

Project by Anna K. Loy


Fieldwork + Activities


Participating Institutions