Anatolian Aegean Prehistoric Phenomena (AAPP)


The central theme of the research group Anatolian Aegean Prehistoric Phenomena (AAPP) is the synoptic analysis of Neolithic, Chalcolithic and Early Bronze Age sites in Anatolia and the Aegean from a supra-regional perspective. This enables a better understanding of phenomena, which connected these two major cultural spheres. Anatolia and the Aegean are both starting and intermediary points of formative, cultural phenomena and developments of historical relevance to humanity, which shaped the European continent. The interdisciplinary analyses crosslink our knowledge of both cultural areas and are crucial for the understanding of causes and socio-cultural impact, yet different research traditions and orientations of international academic schools have so far impeded progress. The AAPP research group, established in 2014, draws attention to this significant desideratum and unites experts of both regions. The Balkans as direct contact zones and links to inner Europe are integrated in this broad geographical approach since 2017. The focus on inter-regional prehistoric questions from the Neolithic to the Early Bronze Age in this cultural core may, via systematic comparison, leads to models and concepts that can be evaluated in a larger geographical and socio-cultural context.

Archaeological Context

In the Holocene, from c. the 10th to the 3rd millennium BC, crucial changes in human society and lifeways took place in the Aegean-Anatolian-Balkan area that characterizes the region to this day. These include the foundational and sustained changes to the oldest sedentary agricultural cultures in Neolithic times and the beginnings of human-induced environmental change, associated with a fundamental change of social organizational structures. The changes in the socio-cultural structures of these first sedentary communities to the emergence of the first proto-urban societies in the course of the Copper and Bronze Age reflect a fundamental change that becomes apparent through the onset of numerous simultaneous innovations. These dynamics can be described in concepts and models addressing e.g. the utilization of resources and the changing access to raw materials. They are also visible in the development of social hierarchies and specialized technologies.

The geographical area of the archaeological cultures of this research group mainly comprises the mainland of Greece, including the northern coastal zones, the Aegean Islands and Anatolia from its western coast to the Anatolian plateau as well as the central and eastern Balkans. Supra-regional studies of the group generally include the whole Balkans as well as Anatolia, upper Mesopotamia, the east Mediterranean and the Levant.

Research concept

Out of the ongoing research projects in OREA on prehistoric archaeology in Aegean and Anatolia, questions are continually being developed on a supraregional scale. The specific work of the research group from 2014 to 2017 currently includes the following questions:

  1. Statuettes in the Copper Age
    A supraregional study on statuettes from the 6th to 4th millennium BC is planned, and will include new finds from Western Anatolia and unpublished figurines from the Greek mainland. Particular emphasis is put on a contextual analysis of the findings.
  2. Early Bronze Age ceramic technologies, production and provinces
    The research questions and results developed from ongoing archaeometric and archaeological studies on settlement ceramics in the 3rd millennium were presented and discussed at an international conference in Vienna in 2015.
    The basis for this is the results of various projects. First, petrographic and chemical investigations on ceramics from the Çukuriçi Höyük were carried out in conjunction with broad comparative studies as part of the FWF project “Interaction of Prehistoric Pyrotechnological Crafts and Industries”. These results are supplemented by NAA of a series of ceramics from the prehistoric surveys in the Pergamon area. Second, a petrographic project was started in the course of the finds processing of Midea, which characterizes the early Bronze Age ceramic production of the Argolis and its demarcation from neighbouring regions based on petrographic and chemical analyses. The analysis of ceramics from Tiryns is also part of this project. Another project provides the archaeological and petrographic characterization and contextualization of the heretofore barely explored early Bronze Age ceramics of Messenia by means of the ceramics of Romanos.
    The International Conference “Pottery Technologies and Sociocultural Connections between the Aegean and Anatolia during the 3rd Millennium” took place in October 2015. The publication on the conference is currently in preparation.
  3. Lithics and Raw Materials
    The ongoing research on Neolithic to Chalcolithic chipped stone technology, its development, distribution and sociocultural interpretation at different sites of the research area show substantial new knowledge. The related analyses of the raw materials have already led to the first locally constructed models, the regional and interregional evaluation of which is still pending. The beginnings of our own geochemical investigations of flints and cherts lead us to expect new knowledge about raw material circulation. The different models for the distribution of obsidian could thus be used to add important elements that significantly expand the picture of the resources used as well as their production and dissemination processes.
    In addition to manufacturing technologies, the focus is also on new methods of raw material analysis and their comparability in archaeometric analysis.