SPECIALIZED BONE WORKING IN THE BRONZE AGE? THE ORGANIZATION OF PRODUCTION AT PECICA-ŞANŢUL MARE, ROMANIA

Amy Nicodemus, Ashley Lemke

Resumen


During the European Bronze Age, the working of osseous materials was an important craft, especially in regions distant from metal and stone resources. Bone, antler, teeth, horn, and shell were used to make a range of utilitarian and prestige goods. An important question is how bone working was organized—did it become a specialized industry at this time, as did a variety of other crafts, or was it maintained as a small-scale, household activity? We address this question using Pecica-Şanţul Mare (Romania) as a case study. Ongoing excavations at Pecica have documented a substantial bone working industry, with one of the highest densities of debitage, tools, and finished products in the Carpathian Basin. To assess the organization of production, we examine raw material procurement strategies, the manufacturing process, and the distribution of finished goods. Together, these discrete lines of evidence point to a craft that was strongly embedded within the domestic economy. While there is some variation in production through time and between households, there is no indication of formal workshops, highly-specialized bone working artisans, or elite-controlled crafting.

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