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Between worlds and elites at the beginning of the Early Bronze Age in the Lower Danube Basin: a pluridisciplinary approach to personal ornaments (Authors: A. Frînculeasa, D. Garvăn, M. Mărgărit, A. Bălășescu, I. Lazăr, M. Frînculeasa, D.A. Soficaru, M. Molnar, M. Georgescu). Archaeological and Anthropological Sciences (ISI journal), https://doi.org/10.1007/s12520-020-01177-0 - Personal adornment in the Prehistory of the Northern Danube territory: aesthetic or socio-cultural symbol?

The territory situated to the north of the Lower Danube represents the ideal space for observing the interaction between local communities, local environment and newcomers who arrived here at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC. Thousands of burial mounds and relatively few flat graves present an array of common or exceptional inventories, indicating a very dynamic society. Among these grave inventories, the ornaments, beyond their primary symbolism (religious, social, cultural), generate important information which, properly exploited and systematically treated, allows the exploration of social practices in the context of the development of elites in prehistory. This study highlights the results of pluridisciplinary investigations (anthropological, isotopic, metallographic, technological, traceological, malacological and archaeozoological) of the ornaments discovered in a grave of the Early Bronze Age (the first third of the 3rd millennium BC) from Șoimești, Prahova County, with the richest inventory in Romania. The exploration of various aspects, such as the variety of basic materials used (animal teeth, molluscs, metal), ornamental forms and settings, their large number and their distribution in the burial space, allowed for interpretive assumptions about the deceased individual’s relation with the environment (through the fauna in the grave), and cultural and social identity (including status) analysed from different spatial perspectives, including the Lower Danube, Carpathian Basin and the North Pontic steppe.