It’s been just over a week since I came back from Hungary where I spend three and a half weeks analysing Bronze Age ceramics for the site’s forthcoming publication. I’m still recovering from the pot induced coma (forgive the pun)!
The excavation focusses predominantly on the Middle Bronze Age settlements (1800 BC onwards) and the site is situated next to the Danube, in Szazhalombatta, 30 km south of Budapest. My job (since 2009) is to aid in the post-excavation analysis of the ceramic finds. The sheer amount of ceramic material that is unearthed every year is astonishing and the quality of the vessels is highly suggestive of an extremely skilled craft culture. The pottery produced on this site is arguably the apex of ceramic craft in this area during the Middle Bronze Age. Interestingly the ceramic quality declines in the Late Bronze Age (c.1350 BC), and vessels become less decoratively elaborate and more coarse.
The three weeks spent this summer working in the Matrica Museum, Szazhalombatta (where all the finds are stored) were used to analyse ceramic material from the top six stratigraphic layers of the excavation, belonging to the Late and Middle Bronze Age. It’s really refreshing to be back in the field handling new artefacts and I always feel a sense of appreciation that I am one of the lucky people who has the opportunity to analyse this material and gain an understanding of the site in a different way to the excavators. It’s also rather delicious working outside the museum in 35 degree heat…the things us archaeologists do eh….
Being familiar with material from Hungary (north of Croatia and Serbia) is extremely beneficial for my greater understanding of ceramic craft throughout central Europe. The parallels that I can see between this material and the vessels I am analysing for my PhD are very noticeable. It definitely gets me wondering whether our whole understanding of Bronze Age groups within this area of Europe is somewhat disjointed…..
Me working outside the Museum in Szazhalombatta