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Population Density, Communication and Areas of Tradition

During the 4th millennium BC in northern Central Europe, social changes took place leading to the erection of monumental architecture. By the analysis of archaeological objects and architecture on a high scale level, these complex sceneries are investigated. The aim is to model demographic processes, the consistence of communication structures, and areas of tradition between continuity and change.

The project consists of three modules:

Population densitiy (Working group Köln)

The Cologne working group works out a demographic analysis through the megalithic graves and the number of buried indiduals in there. For this purpose a mathematical model of relational ordered modules applying paleodemopgraphic geostatistical methods is developed. Based on this model a value for the

Communication structures (Working group Kiel)

Standardized data collections, especially of ceramic and stone artifacts, allow the comparability of objects in time and space. Thereby spatial patterns suitable for the reconstruction of statics and dynamics of communication structures and areas of tradition can be discovered. The Kiel working group is using cultural differences as an indicator for communication structures, analyzing them by comparing typological differences in the inventories of megalithic and non-megalithic graves, settlements, and earthworks on different spatial scales (local, regional, and supra-regional). In the first part of the project, a broad database of inventories from megalithic and flat graves, as well as from settlements, could be collected. In the second part of the project, this database is used to establish a fine chronology for the material and to analyze communication structures within hundred-year time slices. The main issues in this work are analyzing communication groups and networks, plus their characterization concerning centrality and heterogeneity.

Areas of tradition (Working group Frankfurt)

The detailed analysis of the architecture of megalithic graves is based on the processing of single architectural features. The diversity in the combination of single features shows regional differences and spatial patterns. The biography of monuments contains their erection, modfications in construction, changes in their function, and more generally, the process of alterations of funeral and burial rites. The crucial question of the Frankfurt working group is how far the megalithic architecture indicates cultural and social traditions and the nature of social structures of neolithic societies.