This paper will explore changing patterns of settlement location, scale and complexity in the southeasternmost region of Europe --Thrace-- in the third millennium BC. The purpose will be to define the contribution of local historical trajectories and ‘foreign’ cultural elements in the formation of social practices and material traditions, including material culture and the built environment. The character and role of exchange systems will be explored, and it is argued that influences from Anatolia were a spur to greater complexity of settlement systems and society in the study region during this period of the later part of the Early Bronze Age. We will assess the relevance of new archaeological data obtained from both excavation and survey projects for understanding these issues, and present them in light of our revised model for the trajectory of this region in prehistory and propose that a form of "embryonic" colony can be identified, the first of its kind in Europe. In particular, we will focus on the sites of Kanlıgeçit and Selimpaşa in Turkish Thrace and Mikhalich in southeastern Bulgaria. We begin by establishing the historical scene and the specific questions to be addressed through this paper. In order to understand the social conditions and connections that provide the context for understanding these sites, we next provide a detailed analysis of high-status material culture, with a particular emphasis on those elements that both directly and indirectly attest to interaction and connectivity with elitist groups throughout the East Mediterranean, Anatolia and Europe more widely. Building on this framework, we then discuss the character of the key settlement sites that support the core arguments of this paper in relation to the role of interaction in the changing complexity of this region in the Early Bronze Age.
|Title of host publication||Of Odysseys and Oddities|
|Subtitle of host publication||Scales and modes of interaction between prehistoric Aegean societies and their neighbours|
|Place of Publication||Oxford|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|Name||Sheffield Studies in Aegean Archaeology|