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Bruyere, Caroline

Metal Circulation and the Fortified Landscape of the Late Bronze Age Balkans

PhD Candidate: Caroline Bruyere
Supervisor: Associate Professor Barry Molloy

Funding: As part of The Fall of 1200 BC a project funded by the European Research Council 


The increased frequency of large fortified sites in the Northern Balkan region, primarily along river corridors, suggests that the Late Bronze Age witnesses a significant change in how landscapes are used with a seemingly growing interest in investing in the fortification of strategic locations. Systematic research on these sites is still in its infancy. Establishing the socio-political and economic character of this system of fortified settlements is therefore crucial to determining how this control over the landscape impacts the wider region. Tied to strategies of fortification are developing interests in securing of metals and associated weaponry, which is a necessarily mobile endeavor due to the distribution of mineral resources and the need to secure fresh supplies of metal. Hence, determining patterns in the circulation of metal is proxy to revealing networks of social and economic interaction in southeastern Europe.

This project seeks to establish the relationship between distribution patterns of fortified sites along emerging transport pathways and metal circulation in the Balkans. A key aim is therefore to establish to what extent, if any, fortification and the control of metals and metallurgy is linked in the Balkan region, and how such a system would be integrated into established and emerging networks of production and trade. A multiscalar approach will include methods such as site survey and targeted excavation as well as lead isotope analysis of the metal in the Northern Balkans.  

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