Long distance networks in Neolithic Europe

Author(s): Caroline Von Nicolai

Year: 2016


In Neolithic Europe, certain artefacts made of high-quality stone were distributed over considerable distances. For example, Jade axe heads, which originate from the Alps, were found between 5300 and 3700 BC in small numbers all over Central and Western Europe as far as Brittany, Scandinavia and the British Isles, i.e. up to 1700 km from their original quarries. Likewise, between 4500 and 2200 BC single daggers, arrowheads and other artefacts made of flint that came from Northern Italy have been recovered in Switzerland, Southern Germany and Austria north of the Alps. Both find groups differ from others regarding their wide distribution, their relatively rare occurrence, and – especially in the case of the jade axe heads – regarding their use and find contexts. They can therefore be interpreted as socially significant objects. Their wide diffusion suggests the existence of supraregional networks and communication spheres. Within these networks, a certain intercultural sense of coherence determined which raw materials were particularly appreciated, and which objects were thought to be valuable and socially significant. The aim of this paper is to study how such networks worked and which exchange mechanisms contributed to the large distribution of the artefacts under consideration.

Cite this Record

Long distance networks in Neolithic Europe. Caroline Von Nicolai. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 404863)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -11.074; min lat: 37.44 ; max long: 50.098; max lat: 70.845 ;