Retrospective - Oral Presentation Session
In her contribution to Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies (1995), Janet Levy presented a contextual examination of relationships in and across different contexts of Bronze Age Denmark, including settlement, iconography, and ritual. In this paper, I build on her multi-contextual framework by integrating archaeological survey data with excavation reports and regional syntheses to examine change in settlement behavior and representations of person-community identities and relations in Bavaria during the Neolithic (ca. 5500 to 2200 BC). I examine the intertwining of horticulture and land tenure practices, construction of domestic and public space, human and animal imagery, and mortuary behavior. During the early Linearbandkeramik (LBK) period (around 5500 BC), the first agricultural colonists initially focused on a specific ecological adaptation while maintaining strong communal practices within large core settlements. LBK practices blurred ontological categories of human, animal, and object, subverting individuality and reinforcing perceptions of community. During the later LBK period some core communities began to fragment and expanded into new ecological zones. This process of community fragmentation and settlement expansion was intensified during the Middle Neolithic (ca. 4800 BC) when there was a shift toward layering, rather than merging, ontological categories. By the later Neolithic (4000 BC), practices of community were further challenged by the emerging representation of separate material domains of nature and humanity and the appearance of cults of individual—rather than communal—identities in mortuary practices.