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Assess the impact of the introduction of metallurgy on the Balkans.

I think the impact of metallurgy on the Balkans was substantial upon certain factors, but not on others. This is partly because we should be careful in ascribing changes over this era simply to the introduction of metal. The introduction of metal took place over several millennia and many other stimuli for change no longer appear in the archaeological record. However, I still believe that the introduction of metal had some impact on the copper age Balkans. To examine this I will use this essay to make a case study of the Balkans at the time of the introduction of the first metals which was during its copper age. The copper age in the Balkans lasted from approximately 4500 BC till 3200 BC but I intend to examine the period from 5000 BC down to 3000 BC so as to be able to compare the copper age to the surrounding Neolithic and Bronze Age. There are two things that we first need to examine , firstly what we would define as a culture and secondly by what terms we would determine an impact and what it could be counted as impacting on. In terms of culture I am taking this to mean similar assemblages within societies for example assemblages of zoomorphic pottery. With regards to impacts I broadly think there are three areas which metallurgy had an impact: upon social organisation, the environment which surrounds human habitation and finally burial practices. It should be noted that though we see a change in the culture of the Balkans over the period in which metallurgy was first introduced and we are working on the assumption that the metal causes this change it could be the result of this change instead or be only tenuously linked to it. A further difficulty when discussing the Balkans is that we are examining a very large diverse area stretching from the Danube to the Mediterranean and as a result there would be a large amount of variation within this area and as such I will be focusing on specific areas of the Balkans. The problem is also raised by D. W. Bailey (2000 6) is that these societies were many and varied, meaning what is true in one area is not in another. Thus I intend to use the geographical areas examined by D. W. Bailey in Balkan Prehistory (2000), notably Serbia, Bulgaria and Southern Hungary as the main focus.

Social Organisation One big area where the introduction appears to have had a large impact is social organisation. By the end of the period societies within the Balkans appear have a change in gender and age identity and generally become more complex as shown by settlements becoming more permanent (Bailey 2000 153) . A further impact upon the culture of the Balkans during this period was that society becomes more and more stratified and complex across this period. However, this is only partly related to the introduction of metal, during this period. This is due to an argument put forward by Gies and Gies (1991 82) that in a medieval village wealth and status fluctuated based on the harvests. Such a principal is readily applicable to the Balkan copper age. For instance if one of the villagers had an excellent harvest for several years running and anothers failed then the villager with the excellent harvests would become richer and acquire more land. As a result should he suffer a bad harvest following this that villager would be more able to ride out the tough patch whilst those who had weaker harvests in preceding years would be harder hit. Thus, in theory this villagers family over generations could continue to grow in authority and wealth till his influence extended beyond the world of agriculture for instance into trade. Thus we could argue that the introduction of metal had

less impact increasing social stratification as metallic objects were indicative of social stratification, not the cause of them. Alternatively, Derevenski (2000) argues that there was increasing categorisation of persons during the transition from the Neolithic and thus copper objects in particular, due to their value, played an important role in delineating gender and age. For instance arm rings are found on the remains of the younger members of one culture whilst the more senior members had copper beads (Derevinski 2000 391). In addition, this kind of evidence would suggest greater trade links due to the high frequency of valuable objects for instance at Varna in Bulgaria. According to Ruslan and Pelevina (2008 67) the carnelian beads from the site are most probable to have originated from the Crimea or Caucasus thus providing evidence for increased trade links primarily focused around the movement of ores and metals. This is probable as generally trade exchange in prehistory was more focused on the movement of luxury goods that could only be produced regionally due to the difficulty in transportation that would otherwise be faced. The desire for metal directly created these new trade links and these increased contacts could be considered to have a large impact on the social organisation of the Balkans Chalcolithic. Their main impact would be to create wider links between various groups resulting in a faster spread of ideas than may have been seen previously. Thus it can be argued that the introduction of metal to the Balkans had a great impact on the social organisation and complexity of the Balkans by delineating different members of society and by forging long range trade connections. Settlements As previously mentioned we see over the Chalcolithic become more permanent in the Balkans (Bailey 2000 153) this is arguably a direct result of the introduction of metallurgy for one of two probable reasons. Either they became more permanent to control the source of resources of minerals or alternatively in order to better access the trade routes upon which these metal items were transported. This is evidenced by Earle and Kritiansen (2010 72-73) who describe an increase in fortified Tell sites in the Benta Valley Hungary all of which were located in strategic sites to control entrance or movement through the valley, probably in order to protect arable land within the valley but also to control the trade through the area. This could also be evidenced by increased density of population especially within several primary sites where 36% of the population now lived (Earle and Kristiansen 2010 72) but also by the low populations of several of the other hill forts (one hasa population of only fifty) With a population that low it is comparable to the population of later castles and might be thought of as performing a similar role for the increasing social elite as a means of control. Material Culture Clearly the area where the introduction of metallurgy had a large impact was on material culture, mostly indicated through grave assemblages (Bailey 2000 199). Pottery becomes far more common place as shown by it making up 66% of all grave goods over the four cemeteries of Turgovishite, Devniya, Vitnitsa, and Golyamo Delchevo (Bailey 2000 200). Further we see an increase in the social significance of items such as axes and craft items over items such as bows associated with hunting. We see this in many graves at Varna where there is a decline in the number of items associated with hunting from the previous period for them to be replaced by an abundance of craft objects in certain

graves. For instance an example of grave containing large amounts of crafting tools and objects is grave 4 at Varna contains a copper awl with a bone handle, two copper chisels, two hammer axes, a copper axe (Bailey 2000 204-205).This is not necessarily entirely related to the adoption of metallurgy within the Balkans and is probably influenced by the rise of agriculture as well. However, the importance of craft items cannot be over looked suggesting an increased importance due to the introduction of metallurgy resulting from the introduction of metallurgy to the Balkans. Conclusion In conclusion, the impact of the introduction of metallurgy to the Balkans was quite large. It can be shown to have impacted heavily on Social Organisation , material culture and Settlement patterns in the Chalcolithic Balkans. Though the introduction of farming and agriculture also had an impact on this period which can give the appearance that metallurgy had a greater effect than in reality it is still clear there was a substantial impact mostly on creating trade networks which proceeded to influence Settlement patterns, material culture and Social Organisation. Bibliography Books Bailey, D. W. 2000. Balkan Prehistory London and New York, Routledge. Earle, T. & Kristiansen, K. 2010. Organising Bronze Age Societies New York, Cambridge University Press. Gies F. and Gies J., 1991. Life in a Medieval Village New York, Harper Perrenial Press. Articles Derevenski , J. F. 2000. Rings of Life: Roles of Metallurgy in Mediating the Gendered Life Course World Archaeology 31: 389-406. Ruslan, I. K. and Pelevina, O. 2008 Complex Faceted and other Carnelian Beads from the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis: Archaeogemmological Analysis Geoarchaeology and Minerology 2008 edition 67-72.