Studying the Past with Fragments from the Fire: Student Research on an NSF-REU Field School

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 81st Annual Meeting, Orlando, FL (2016)

Significant population increases, the intensification of craft production and new forms of agricultural output characterize the 18th and 17th century BC on the Great Hungarian Plain. Many archaeologists consider these changes hallmarks of an emerging social class. Yet research from different parts of Eastern Europe suggests that societies were organized in a variety of ways during this regional florescence. This session describes ongoing investigations by the Bronze Age Körös Off-Tell Archaeology (BAKOTA) project into a Middle Bronze Age community buried at the cemetery of Békés Jégvermi-kert (Békés 103) in Eastern Hungary. For the first time, research at this site includes an international team of undergraduate students funded by the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates Program and the Central European Institute at Quinnipiac University. During the 2015 summer field season a team of 15 students conducted independent research projects on a range of datasets from the cemetery and surrounding area. In this session the students present their findings on the site, reporting on how the cemetery population fit into the trade, population movement, and new identities emerging in Bronze Age Europe.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-13 of 13)

  • Documents (13)

  • Analysis of color and fracture patterns on burned bones from the Békés 103 Bronze Age cemetery (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Matthew Capece. Tucker Hlad. Jaime Ullinger.

    In this study we use color and fracture patterns of burned bone to reconstruct cremation temperatures and the conditions of the body prior to cremation in highly fragmented skeletal material from a Bronze Age cemetery in Eastern Hungary. Using a Munsell Soil Color Book we were able to qualitatively measure the color of cremains in order to estimate burning temperature. Determining whether or not the body was burned with flesh relied on two methodologies: the analysis of color patterns across the...

  • Analysis of possible anatomical order in microexcavated Bronze Age funerary urn material from Hungary (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Alana Acuff. Jaime Ullinger. László Paja.

    On-going excavations conducted by the BAKOTA project at the Bronze Age cemetery of Békés 103 in Eastern Hungary have uncovered 69 human burials, the majority of which are cremated skeletal remains deposited in ceramic urns. Cremains are an often-overlooked archaeological resource as information regarding age at death, sex, and pathologies can be more difficult to assess after a body has been burned. While demographic information may be limited in this context, the stratigraphic distribution of...

  • Ceramics production and trade across the Great Hungarian Plain: Chemical analysis of Bronze Age ceramics from Békés 103 in Eastern Hungary (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ashley Cercone. Mark Golitko.

    The Bronze Age in Europe is noted for an increase in foreign interaction and trade, yet some areas show few signs of receiving non-local goods. Using chemical analysis of Bronze Age ceramic pastes from the cemetery of Békés 103 and nearby clay sources, this poster seeks to investigate trade networks and exchange between the people of the site and other areas of the Great Hungarian Plain. Using LA-ICP-MS, we examine the extent of trade and the degree to which the community participated in the...

  • Food offerings and feasting in Bronze Age burial contexts from the Körös region, Hungary (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kayla Pio. John Marston.

    While the collection and analysis of paleoethnobotanical material is increasingly common in settlement excavations, it still remains rare in burial contexts. Botanical material from cemeteries can provide important insights into mortuary practices and associative beliefs about the afterlife for investigated populations. Charred food remains may indicate food offerings or feasting around the burial site, as well as social inequality or aspects of the deceased’s personal identity. In the case of...

  • Geophysical investigations at the Bronze Age site of Békés 103 in Eastern Hungary (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Pawel Dziechciarz. Dylan Kelly.

    In archaeological research both non-invasive and weakly invasive methods are often employed without, or prior to, excavation. Surface collection, geophysical survey and shovel testing are the methods that have been employed at the site of Békés 103. Despite the difficulty imposed by the soil conditions and the nature of the targets themselves (cremation graves), geophysical measurements employing a variety of techniques (gradiometry, soil resistivity and electromagnetics) were applied in tandem...

  • Munsell vs. Hounsfield? A methodological comparison in assessing cremation temperatures of human bone (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Edward Bormann. Matthew Capece. László Paja. Julia Giblin.

    The identification of the temperature at which bone was burned is an important technique for both archaeological and forensic applications that deal with cremated skeletal material. Known color changes in burned bone can be systematically quantified using a Munsell Soil Color Book and associated with known temperature ranges at which the material was burned. Non-invasive techniques, such as computed tomography (CT) scanning may be able to provide analogous information for archaeological material...

  • Osteoarchaeological assessment of generalized stress indicators in skeletons from the Tápé-Széntéglaégető cemetery, Hungary (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Agata Kostrzewa. László Paja.

    Generalized stress indicators are non-specific anomalies produced by the body as an adaptive response to biological stressors such as malnutrition, disease or trauma. The prevalence of these lesions may be related to daily activity, lifestyle or differential access to resources. Based on archeological analyses, the Hungarian Bronze Age is associated with significant socio-economic changes, including population increases, agricultural intensification, and the emergence of social inequality. In...

  • A preliminary analysis of the metal finds from Békés 103 (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Anna Szigeti. Virág Varga. Viktória Kiss.

    Bronze is a central economic and symbolic focus in the European Bronze Age, and the distribution of metals found in Bronze Age burial contexts can suggest differences in wealth. This poster analyzes the bronze artifacts from the site of Békés 103, a Bronze Age site in Eastern Hungary. Previous work at settlements in this area indicates little social inequality and suggests that metal production was not centralized at larger settlements (fortified tell-sites). Study of the distribution of metals...

  • Rogue utopians or bumpkins on the margin? Bronze Age mortuary customs in the marshlands of the Great Hungarian Plain (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Györgyi Parditka. Paul Duffy. László Paja. Ádám Balázs. Justine Tynan.

    Many archaeologists argue that the emergence of a social elite in the Bronze Age of the Great Hungarian Plain is due to the parallel appearance of a specialized trade network they were able to control. This poster focuses on the burial customs at the Békés 103 site, a Bronze Age cemetery in Eastern Hungary. This area saw growth in population, the intensification of farming, and increases in metal production during the Bronze Age, but the settlements lack any evidence for social hierarchy. Do...

  • Studying the past with fragments from the fire: student research on an NSF-REU field school (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Paul Duffy. Julia Giblin. Györgyi Parditka. László Paja.

    Significant population increases, the intensification of craft production and new forms of agricultural output characterize a major transition between the18th and 17th century BC on the Great Hungarian Plain. Many archaeologists consider these changes hallmarks of an emerging social class. Yet research from different parts of Eastern Europe suggests that societies were organized in a variety of ways during this regional florescence. This session describes recent investigations into a Bronze Age...

  • The szőlő of wrath: Hungarian vineyards and land use in the 20th century (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Francisco Diaz.

    Understanding the land use history of an archaeological site is necessary for understanding the contextual state of the archaeological artifacts recovered through systematic excavation. Bronze Age cemetery excavation at Békés 103 in Eastern Hungary presents some challenges, however, because multiple landowners and a long and varied history of land use parcels the site into archaeological deposits of differing and varied degrees of disturbance. Oral history provides an important source about land...

  • Using cremain weight from a Bronze Age cemetery in Eastern Hungary as an indicator of sex (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Pranavi Ramireddy. Jaime Ullinger. László Paja.

    In well-preserved osteoarchaeological samples, traditional anthropological methods are employed to determine age at death, biological sex, differences in diet, activity level, pathologies, and genetics. Determining sex based on classical anthropological methods such as examining morphological and metric traits is often difficult or impossible with cremains due to fragmentation and post-depositional damage. A previous study conducted by Van Deest et al. in 2013 showed a correlation between...

  • A virtual documentation of excavation through 3D modeling; is it worth the effort? (2016)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Kalyan Chakraborty.

    Illustration of various means has always helped in visualising complex information, and archaeologists have used means such as photographs, drawings and even three-dimensional illustration to present complex archaeological data. Archaeologists began using three-dimensional models of various archaeological monuments only in 1990s. However, in recent years, and with high-end computer applications, archaeologists are able to document different stages of excavations using 3D illustration, which has...