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The Danube and settlement prehistory – 80 years on

Chapman, John


John Chapman


Although commentators have discussed myriad themes presented in the rich and extensive oeuvre of Childe, one of the topics that has been, in my view, seriously neglected is the topic of settlement types. In this article, I seek to make good this omission, starting from a consideration of The Danube in Prehistory. The basis of Childe’s ideas on settlement types in the Neolithic and Copper Age of eastern Europe was a binary classification into ‘tells’ and ‘flat sites’ that, in turn, reflected a division between permanent and shifting cultivation and greater and lesser cultural complexity. However, the introduction into this debate of questions of trade, surplus production, and Neolithic ‘self-sufficiency’, as well as metallurgy and ritual, meant that the initial binary classification left a series of contradictions that Childe struggled to transcend in the last decade of his life.


Chapman, J. (2009). The Danube and settlement prehistory – 80 years on. European Journal of Archaeology, 12(1-3), 145-156.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2009
Deposit Date Feb 22, 2012
Journal European Journal of Archaeology
Print ISSN 1461-9571
Electronic ISSN 1741-2722
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 12
Issue 1-3
Pages 145-156
Keywords Binary classification, Cultural complexity, Economic basis, Land ownership, Neolithic self-sufficiency, Tells versus flat sites, Vere Gordon Childe.