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VITA ANTIQUA,     ISSN 2522-9419 (Online), 2519-4542 (Print)
Center for Paleoethnological Research

VITA ANTIQUA 10, 2018, Prehistoric Networks in Southern and Eastern Europe, 126-134
Geographic determinism and Trypillia contact networks, c. 3600 – 3400 BC
Diachenko Aleksandr
Institute of Archaeology of the NASU



Geographic determinism causes the unequal informative potential of archaeological records. Preservation of artefacts made of different raw materials, especially organics, varies from region to region and from one period to the other. Unlike wetland sites with their assemblages of archaeological data, ecofacts, detailed absolute chronologies, settlements belonging to numerous cultural units of prehistoric Europe are characterized by significant gaps in representation of the remote past in material remains preserved till nowadays. This requires the search for analytical tools filling such gaps. Geographic determinism, obviously, influenced not only the preservation of archaeological data, but also human behavior in prehistory causing the choices for settlement locations, subsistence strategies and framing the trans-regional interactions in the remote past. The related set of issues may be approached by the application of network analysis, which is widely applied in mathematics, physics, computer sciences, theoretical ecology, sociology, epidemiology and other fields of science.

This paper deals with the Trypillya sites in Western Volhyn, c. 3600 – 3400 BCE aiming to answer the question of the influence of geographic determinism on the formation of long-distance interactions. Simulation of networks, which correlates with the available empirical evidence, has shown the openness to innovations provided by the structure of Trypillya networks that shared the modified innovations in pottery styles from the entire region further to the east. The frontier between the Funnel Beaker culture and Trypillya complex, despite its peripheral location, therefore, may be viewed as the ‘cultural incubator’. High intensity of interactions caused the hybridization of Trypillya traditions during a period of c. 100 years, while this ‘cultural epidemics’ is, probably, to a great extent caused by influences from the neighboring cultural units.

Key words: network analysis, contact networks, ‘cultural epidemics’, Trypillya, Funnel Beaker culture, Western Volhyn

Language: English


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