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Title: Tradition, practice and creativity : an exploration of Middle and Late Bronze Age Belegis cremation urns
Author: Coxon, Sarah
ISNI:       0000 0004 5917 0629
Awarding Body: University of Southampton
Current Institution: University of Southampton
Date of Award: 2016
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Understanding similarity and difference is perhaps a cornerstone of archaeological enquiry. What is it that makes two objects similar and what is it that makes them different? Furthermore, how do we distinguish and explain these similarities and differences? This thesis explores similarity and difference within Middle and Late Bronze Age Belegiš ceramic urns from the region of Vojvodina in Serbia. This material comprises a corpus of cremation vessels that are similar to each other, yet also display differences, most noticeably in decoration. It therefore presents itself as an ideal case study to explore similarity and difference. Traditional approaches to the Belegiš phenomenon have rested upon typological classification within a culture-historical paradigm, meaning that similarities and differences have been explained in terms of cultural ethnicity, both spatially and temporally. Yet these attempts to categorise Belegiš urns have fallen short of sufficiently dealing with and explaining the complexity of the material, leading to confusing and often contradictory typological narratives. In order to redress these issues and elucidate the underpinnings of similarity and difference, this thesis focuses on how the vessels were made. The analysis of technological traces is used to shed light on three aspects of production; tradition, practice and creativity. Each of these three axes is suggested to provide a framework for exploring commonalities and variation within vessel manufacture. Exploration of Belegiš ceramic technology through tradition offered a macro-scale investigation and enabled the isolation of aspects of production that were shared across the region of Belegiš distribution. Analysis of the dataset demonstrated a clear core set of manufacturing principles. Despite this, urns from different sites show differences in the way in which the guidelines of tradition were used. It is suggested that trends in the data demonstrate that there were three communities of Belegiš practice; eastern Srem, southern Banat and southern Bačka. It is additionally suggested that creativity within Belegiš manufacture accounts for some of the variation present which sits within the relationship between maker and the collective. Each example of creativity is shown to be a reworking of existing manufacturing practice.
Supervisor: Sofaer, Joanna Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available