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Negotiating Identities during the Copper Age

Title: Negotiating Identities during the Copper Age: A Bioarchaeological Study of Burial and Social Networks on the Hungarian Plain (5400-3500 BC).
Name(s): Pawn, Ian, author
Schepartz, Lynne A., professor directing dissertation
Pullen, Daniel J., university representative
Hellweg, Joseph, committee member
Slice, Dennis E., committee member
Parkinson, William A., committee member
Department of Anthropology, degree granting department
Florida State University, degree granting institution
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Text
Issuance: monographic
Date Issued: 2012
Publisher: Florida State University
Place of Publication: Tallahassee, Florida
Physical Form: computer
online resource
Extent: 1 online resource
Language(s): English
Abstract/Description: This dissertation examines social relations and identity construction as expressed through mortuary ritual. Mortuary treatment has long been used by archaeologists to examine human social structure, and burial is now seen as an important event when communities reflected upon how to represent the deceased and themselves. Representations in graves indicated important social roles and identities of the interred and those who interred them, and thus changes in mortuary treatment might reflect changes in individual both identity formation and social relations. Many archaeological models have focused on interpreting mortuary ritual using grave goods and burial ritual. Bioarchaeological analyses can be used to augment study of burials by providing insight into social relations such as marriage, exchange, and interaction that may have influenced mortuary treatment. Overall, the dissertation concerns how both genetic and mortuary variability could be used to model social relations during the Copper Age. This project investigates social relations in the Early and Middle Copper Ages (4500- 3500 BC) of the Hungarian Plain. These periods are characterized by the appearance of burial areas that are distinct from settlements and increasing differentiation between individuals based on both gender and age. Differences are made primarily through body position and grave goods. There are three major research goals. First, burials across the Hungarian Plain are compared to analyze local and regional patterns in mortuary treatment. Second, phenotypic differences in the dentition are used to examine genetic variability between and within cemeteries. Finally, the project evaluates genetic differences between males and females to determine if some mortuary variability might be explained by post-martial residence patterns. Examination of mortuary treatment revealed regional similarities in burial treatment, but each cemetery provided evidence for unique sets of material culture and mortuary rituals. Male and female social identities were distinguishable by different treatments, and age factored in the type and number of items in graves. Phenotypic analyses revealed overall genetic homogeneity across the Plain, but there were subtle genetic differences between the cemetery samples. Based upon diversity in burial treatment and genetic variability, Tiszapolgár-Basatanya and Tiszavalk- Kenderföldek may have represented more regional populations. Despite the presence of distinct gendered mortuary treatments, the genetic differences between males and females within cemeteries were limited suggesting relatively equivalent amounts of gene flow among both sexes. Genetic homogeneity indicates intensified interaction between individuals and communities on the Hungarian Plain during the Copper Age. This interaction was likely accelerated by the exchange of valued items such as stone and metal, and these exchanges seem linked to male social identity through the frequent inclusion of these items in male graves. Female social status may have increased during the Middle Copper Age as evidenced through not only increased female inclusion in cemeteries but also a more even distribution of grave goods between genders. Young female status is particularly emphasized, and this could indicate a connection between female status and youth, marriage, and fertility.
Identifier: FSU_migr_etd-5100 (IID)
Submitted Note: A Dissertation submitted to the Department of Anthropology in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.
Degree Awarded: Spring Semester, 2012.
Date of Defense: February 29, 2012.
Keywords: archaeology, bioarchaeology, Copper Age, Hungary, identities, mortuary studies
Bibliography Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Advisory Committee: Lynne A. Schepartz, Professor Directing Dissertation; Daniel J. Pullen, University Representative; Joseph Hellweg, Committee Member; Dennis E. Slice, Committee Member; William A. Parkinson, Committee Member.
Subject(s): Anthropology
Persistent Link to This Record:
Owner Institution: FSU

Choose the citation style.
Pawn, I. (2012). Negotiating Identities during the Copper Age: A Bioarchaeological Study of Burial and Social Networks on the Hungarian Plain (5400-3500 BC). Retrieved from