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Research Groningen Institute of Archaeology Research Research groups GIA

Settling with the norm?

Norm and variations in social groups and their material manifestations in (Roman) Iron Age settlement sites of the northern Netherlands
Karen de Vries

K.M. (Karen) de Vries M.A.


Promotor: Prof. dr. D.C.M. Raemaekers

Co-promotor: Dr. S. Arnoldussen

Period of employment: 1 September 2015 – 31 August 2019

Financed by: ARCHON

Project description:

Up till now, research into (Roman) Iron Age (c. 800 BC – AD 250) settlement sites in the northern Netherlands has had a strong emphasis on describing diachronic changes and setting up typochronologies of the main settlement site elements, i.e. the longhouse and its accompanying household materials. As a result these studies have often underplayed the variation in the material culture (e.g. houses or ceramics) that could occur simultaneously. Moreover, the importance of these synchronic variations for understanding how prehistoric societies displayed their (local) group identity has been underestimated.

This project aims to apply a new approach to settlement research by incorporating all material manifestations and dissecting two theoretical dichotomies, that of (a) normativity versus variation and (b) tradition versus change. Three separate, though strongly related components form the core of this study, i.e. settlement sites, household assemblages (specifically ceramics) and the social practice of depositing household materials after their use life. Normativity and variation in material culture will be linked to the process of settlement nucleation that took place in the period under study. The project will show whether the first visual expressions of group belonging were also reflected in more uniformity of the material culture within such groups. This approach will lead to a deeper understanding of the importance and meaning of normativity (and variation) in material culture within different phases of prehistory and its change through time.

Last modified:23 July 2018 1.29 p.m.