Amber Runs through It: The Centralization of Wealth and Power in Late Prehistoric Lika, Croatia

Author(s): Emily Zavodny

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "Living and Dying in Mountain and Highland Landscapes" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Prehistoric cultural and sociopolitical development in the mountainous region of Lika, Croatia is still poorly understood despite over a century of archaeological excavations. Traditional cultural-historical narratives based on grave good typologies suggest that a unified regional culture, the Iapodians, emerged at the end of the Bronze Age and rapidly expanded across the area. This interpretation has yet to be systematically tested, and so this study analyzes Late Bronze and Early Iron Age mortuary contexts and assemblages to better characterize regional trends towards centralization and integration. Large-scale sociopolitical and economic reorganization during this period is evidenced by the shift in burial practices from individual stone mounds to large communal cemeteries and the inclusion of large quantities of foreign goods, such as Baltic amber, in graves. Results suggest that communities began to participate in the new far-flung continental trade networks during the Late Bronze Age, and that some valleys were able to accumulate more wealth and power than others by controlling access to local mountain passes. These patterns suggest the beginnings of a regional hierarchy, but not yet the fully developed cultural and sociopolitical system known as the Iapodians.

Cite this Record

Amber Runs through It: The Centralization of Wealth and Power in Late Prehistoric Lika, Croatia. Emily Zavodny. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452165)

Spatial Coverage

min long: 19.336; min lat: 41.509 ; max long: 53.086; max lat: 70.259 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 24227