The Role of Households at the Dawn of the Bronze Age

Contextualizing Social Organization

The DOC-team project focuses on studying households as a primary source for addressing social organisation in Early Bronze Age Aegean, namely at Çukuriçi Höyük (western Anatolia) and Platia Magoula Zarkou (Thessaly). The project is based on an interdisciplinary cooperation between four PhD candidates: two archaeologists, a zooarchaeologist, and a socio-cultural anthropologist.

This project is a jointly planned set of interdisciplinary dissertation projects with a common over-arching research interest. This research focuses on studying households, household activities and settlement organization as a primary source for discussing the emergence of social structures in Early Bronze Age, at the beginning of the 3rd millennium BC, in the Aegean and Western Anatolia. The main aim is to shed more light into the social organization of this period through the transdisciplinary approach of combining archaeological data and methods with anthropological methodology and concepts. In contrast to the usually rather “elite focused” Bronze Age research, this project is an innovative bottom-up approach with its main focus on the social structures. These sets of topics will be addressed by research cooperation between two archaeologists, one archaeozoologist and one anthropologist, linking knowledge of both humanities and natural science. Spatial analyses of two archaeological excavations, Platia Magula Zarkou in Thessaly/Greece and Çukuriçi Höyük in Western Anatolia, will provide data for detailed analysis on intra as well as inter-site spatial analyses.

Households as the smallest social entity comprehensible archaeologically and as a dynamic social process have to be defined within the two archaeological case studies. Our main goals are to test if and how individual households can be defined within the case studies, how these settlements were organized in a social and economic way and if these structures are uniform or rather diversified in a regional and supra-regional comparison. On a more theoretical level, our questions are about the social organization of Early Bronze Age societies within our research area. How can these societies be characterized on a socio-archaeological level? Is there a possible emergence of social complexity within this period and is there a shift of social organization? Do the archaeological outcome and its interpretations fit to the already known socio-anthropological models of social organization, such as chiefdoms or segmentary lineage systems in pre-state societies?

The comprehensive analysis of the two exceptional archaeological sites as well as the comparison of contemporaneous sites provides a broad data base, on which these theoretical concepts can be tested. Linking the archaeological case studies with contemporaneous comparative sites and anthropological theory should clarify if there are patterns of a uniform social organization or if the social structure is more diversified. The anthropological expertise will be primarily analytical, conceptual, and comparative to maintain a sound level of interdisciplinary sophistication and theorization that enriches the overall outcome of the entire project. Archaeozoological information on diet, butchery and cooking methods will inform on social behaviour. In detail, questions concerning the internal composition and the sphere of action of these social structures will be investigated.



  • B. Horejs – St. Grasböck – M. Röcklinger, Continuity and Change in an Early Bronze Age 1 Metal Workshop, in: B. Horejs, Çukuriçi Höyük 1. Anatolia and the Aegean from the 7th to the 3rd Millennium BC, OREA 5 (Vienna 2017) 95–124.
  • M. Röcklinger – B. Horejs, Function and Technology. A Pottery Assemblage from an Early Bronze Age House at Çukuriçi Höyük, in: E. Alram-Stern – B. Horejs (eds.), Pottery Technologies and Sociocultural Connections Between the Aegean and Anatolia During the 3rd Millennium BC, OREA 10 (Wien 2018) 77–104.

Presented Papers

Presented Papers


  • No (e)scape? Relational Archaeology in the Aegean Bronze Age, Breaking Boundaries: Negotiating Change in the Aegean Bronze Age, Groningen, The Netherlands 25-27 March 2020 (25.3.2020): St. Emra – S. Cveček, Negotiation and interaction in EBA Çukuriçi Höyük: differing solutions to competing ‘scapes' with the beginning of rising inequality.
  • Vienna, 10. DOC-Team Graduiertenkonferenz, ÖAW, 4.12.2018: S. Cveček – St. Emra – C. Moser – M. Röcklinger, The Role of Households at the Dawn of the Bronze Age. Contextualizing Social Organization.
  • Istanbul, Deutsches Archäologisches Institut, 5. DAI-Netzwerktreffen „Food in Anatolia and Neighbouring Regions – Food and Social Spaces“, 10.3.2018: M. Röcklinger, Food and copper – competing in everyday life? EBA 1 foodways at Çukuriçi Höyük (Western Anatolia).
  • Haifa, University of Haifa, Department of Maritime Civilizations, 8.1.2018: M. Röcklinger, The Role of Households at the Dawn of the Bronze Age. A Western Anatolian perspective.
  • Halle (D), Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg, Institute for Art History and Archaeologies of Europe, Tavşan Adası and the Southeast Aegean/Southwest Coastal Anatolian Region (SASCAR) – A Ceramic Perspective, 11.11.2017: M. Röcklinger, Local, Regional and Exotic Pottery at EBA Çukuriçi Höyük.
  • Alghero, Italy, Fish Remains Working Group (FRWG) – Stino on Sardinia, 1.–7.10.2017: St. Emra, Fishing strategies at the coastal site of  Çukuriçi Höyük in western Anatolia at the dawn of the Bronze Age.
  • Copenhagen (DNK), Interdisciplinary Summer School in fields of Anthropology, Archaeology, Linguistics, and Genetics, 24.6.–6.8.2017: S. Cveček, Eastern Mediterranean Households in the Early Bronze Age, Roots of Europe – Language, Culture, and Migration.
  • Oxford (UK), Graduate Archaeology at Oxford, 10. –11.3.2017: S. Cveček, Two EBA trade models between Anatolia and Aegean in late Early and Middle Bronze Age. Some analysis of finds through cross-cultural comparison.
  • ÖAW Vienna, Seminar “Pottery as Tools” with P. Day (Univeristy of Sheffield), 17.03.2016: S. Eder – L. Peloschek – M. Röcklinger – Ch. Schwall, Diachronic pottery studies at Çukuriçi Höyük. Shapes, Function and Functionality.
  • ÖAW Wien, ERC – Prehistoric Anatolia Closing Workshop, 20.10.2016: M. Röcklinger, EBA ceramics – Contextualizing settlement organization.
  • ÖAW Wien, OREA, Households in Prehistory, 28.1.2016: M. Röcklinger, Deposition processes and household identification. Possibilities and boundaries.
  • ÖAW Wien, OREA, Households in Prehistory, 28.1.2016: C. Moser, Pars pro toto? A Fragmentary Household in Bronze Age Thessaly.


  • Volos, Greece, 6th Archaeological Meeting of Thessaly and Central Greece (6th AETHSE), 1.--4.3.2018: C. Moser, Platia Magoula Zarkou in Thessaly. Cultural Development and External Relations of an Early Bronze Age Settlement.
  • Nicosia, Cyprus, ASWA 13th International Meeting, 7. –9.6.2017: St. Emra – A. Galik, The archaeozoology of a Metallurgical Workshop from Early Bronze Age Çukuriçi Höyük in Western Anatolia.
  • Vienna, Feierliche Stipendienverleihung der ÖAW, 9.6.2017: S. Cveček – St. Emra – C. Moser – M. Röcklinger, The Role of Households at the Dawn of the Bronze Age. Contextualizing Social Organisation.
  • Wien, 10th ICAANE, 28.4.2016: M. Röcklinger, Living and Working at Early Bronze Age Çukuriçi Höyük. Contextual analysis on pottery – A case study from Western Anatolia.
  • Vienna, Feierliche Stipendienverleihung der ÖAW, March 2016: C. Moser, Platia Magula Zarkou in Thessalien, Griechenland. Kulturelle Entwicklung und Außenbeziehungen von 3500 bis 2300 v. Chr.


  • ÖAW Vienna, OREA, 20.–21.11.2018: Household Archaeology in Old World Prehistory. An interdisciplinary Approach
  • ÖAW Vienna, OREA, 28.1.2016: Households in Prehistory