Written in Stone, Cast in Bronze: Durability of Archaeological Interpretation of Prehistoric Hoards in the Valley of Sava

  • Rajna Šošić Klindžić Department of Archaeology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Zagreb
  • Hrvoje Kalafatić Institute of Archaeology, Zagreb
  • Marija Mihaljević Municipal Museum, Nova Gradiška
Keywords:
hoard, deposition, archaeological record, archaeological interpretation, Sopot culture, Late Bronze Age

Abstract

The process of archaeological inference begins prior to the beginning of interpretation or even the actual discovery of a particular object. Certain objects, materials, or groups of finds raise more intense interest among researchers and general public alike. Object made of precious materials and minerals are particularly attractive, especially if they are recovered from even more attractive contexts such as richly furnished graves or groups of objects found together – hoards. Objects deposited in groups of identical or similar artefacts, particularly if laid into a recipient such as a vessel or a casket, have raised attention for centuries or even longer. Researchers and general audience are equally interested in hoards consisting of precious metals, jewellery, weapons, and principally of coins. In the context of archaeological research and interpretation, hoards consisting of ordinary everyday objects, such as raw and semi-processed materials and tools, also figure prominently. In their form and context, they are similar to hoards containing precious objects, and are therefore intriguing to researchers, since it is expected that some of enduring questions on behaviour of prehistoric people, especially in symbolic domain, will be solved by examining these finds. Ascribing symbolic meaning to hoards has been the constant practice of archaeologists from the times of formation of professional archaeology till today. This text is a review of interpretations of stone and bronze hoards, registered in the region of the valley of Sava, and dated into late Neolithic and Late Bronze Age. The exceptionality of the finds in the perception of archaeologists dictates the archaeological interpretation, not only of the particular find, but also of the whole context. Hoards and depositions, along with many other archaeological assemblages of finds, are mainly interpreted according to the dominant narrative and conceptual framework of prehistoric society as the one of primordial communities, whose every action is imbued by ritual and mystery, at the same time being exceptionally rational in their economic relations.

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Published
2020-11-07
How to Cite
Klindžić, Rajna, Hrvoje Kalafatić, and Marija Mihaljević. 2020. “Written in Stone, Cast in Bronze: Durability of Archaeological Interpretation of Prehistoric Hoards in the Valley of Sava”. Issues in Ethnology and Anthropology 15 (3), 799–828. https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.21301/eap.v15i3.7.