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Can urban agglomerations be seasonal, low-density and egalitarian?: new interpretations of the Ukrainian Trypillia megasites

Author(s): John Chapman ; Bisserka Gaydarska

Year: 2017

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Summary

Recent geophysical investigations of Trypillia megasites created a second methodological revolution, following the first revolution (1970s) defined by the discovery of the megasites and their dating to the 4th millennium BC. So far, this second revolution comprised primarily a methodological advance based upon detailed geophysical prospection; but its potential gains may be subverted without a fundamental re-interpretation of the very nature of megasites. The prevailing view of the megasites for over 40 years is as oversized examples of the Childean ‘Neolithic package’ of permanent settlement, domesticated plants and animals and artifact assemblages containing polished stone tools and pottery. Here, many thousands of people formed large villages, central places, proto-urban sites or fully urban settlements – in effect, the first Eurasian cities. However, doubts about the standard view have emerged from our recent investigations. A tipping-point has been reached for the standard model, with as many as nine lines of independent evidence combining to create such doubts that the only logical response is to replace the standard model with a less permanent, more seasonal settlement mode or a smaller permanent settlement involving coeval dwelling of far fewer people. We consider the new interpretation of megasites as seasonal, low-density, egalitarian cities.


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Can urban agglomerations be seasonal, low-density and egalitarian?: new interpretations of the Ukrainian Trypillia megasites. John Chapman, Bisserka Gaydarska. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 430830)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Europe


Spatial Coverage

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

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15099

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America