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  • Author or Editor: Gergely Szenthe x
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The cemetery at Vác-Kavicsbánya was used by two communities characterised by differing material cultures and cultural contacts from the mid-7th century onward. The later phase of the cemetery’s use attests to a process of cultural blending. The archaeological record enables the reconstruction of how the earlier local community lost its identity and of the process leading to the emergence of the new, Late Avar culture.

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The paper discusses the system of late Avar bronze casting workshops of the Carpathian Basin, their specialisation and the problems of the distribution of bronze objects. Comparing the strong specialisation, which seems certain also from the experiences of practical archaeology, with the strong probability that most of the late Avar casts were re-moulded, the extensive attitude of the Avar period workshop practice becomes conspicuous. The lack of mass produced objects refutes the existence of a regular circulation of bronze objects independent of the producer. The reconstructed system rather implies the activity of itinerant artisans. Thus the concept of “workshop” in the late Avar Carpathian Basin actually means the complexity of know-how and material goods concentrated around a master without having a spatial relevance. The organisation of work is different from the system of localised workshops of the West European Merovingian and Carolingian periods.

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Abstract

Research on late antique and early medieval economic and social processes during the past three decades called for, and enabled, a fresh look at the history of the ‘Late Avar period’ of the Carpathian Basin, corresponding exactly to the ‘long eighth century’ of the Mediterranean and European world. This paper offers a rather sketchy new model, alongside raising questions and framing a research programme focusing on social and economic historical processes. Therefore, using the archaeological evidence as a solid foundation, I have proposed a set of research hypotheses as starting points for regional and micro-regional studies.

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The present study discusses a single buckle type, namely the variant that has the loop and plate cast in one and is provided with an attachment spike, representing a separate technological group within consciously employed forms. Assigned to the heraldic style in the Martinovka group, these buckles enjoyed a long use. The distribution and chronology of this buckle type shed light on the cultural contacts between the territories (cultural peripheries) on the northern fringes of the Mediterranean.

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Portable handheld X-Ray Fluorescence Spectroscopy (pXRF) is very effective and widely used technique for chemical analysis in field of archaeometry. The most advantageous feature of this technique is the possibility of analysing objects, artefacts on the spot without any sample-taking. In this study raw materials of 31 buckles from 7th century AD made of various kinds of bronze and silver alloys were analyzed to check similarities or differences between these objects via chemical analysis. Concentration ratios and distributions of alloying (Cu, Sn, Pb, Ag) and minor elements (Sb, Bi, Zn, Au) in material of bronze artifacts may have useful information suggesting important data about provenance and technology. Our recent study 27 bronze and 4 silver buckles were analyzed by pXRF and the results were used in statistical evaluation in order to get closer to provenance of raw materials and alloying technologies.

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