The Black Sea and the Question of “Indo-European” origins

The Black Sea in Prehistory - Cycles of Interaction and Emergence from the 4th to the 2nd Millennia BCE - Alexander A. Bauer

Alexander A. Bauer [+-]
City University of New York
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Alexander A. Bauer is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Queens College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. His research interests include trade and interaction, ceramic technology, the semiotics of material culture, and archaeological ethics, and is focused primarily on the Bronze Age of the greater Near East. He currently serves as Associate Director of the Sinop Regional Archaeological Project (SRAP), Turkey, where he has worked since 1997, and his publications include Social Archaeologies of Trade and Exchange (Left Coast Press, 2010), and New Directions in Museum Ethics (Routledge, 2012). He has also served as the Editor of the International Journal of Cultural Property since 2005.


This book presents the results of a decade and a half of research into the archaeology of the Black Sea region prior to the period of Greek colonization in the first millennium BC. It presents both new data and a fresh theoretical perspective on the region, offering a synthesis of Black Sea prehistory from the Chalcolithic to Early Iron Ages, which illustrates a waxing and waning of regional connectivity linked to the Black Sea’s role as a counterpoint to trends in the Mediterranean in larger inter-regional dynamics. Using concepts of ‘emergence’ as well as the semiotics of cultural circulation to argue that decentralized networks of interaction may themselves engender new social forms, this book presents an analysis of regional pottery-making practices and other material culture between the 4th and 2nd millennia BC, identifying in particular an early phase of integration across the Black Sea during the Early Bronze Age. As the Bronze Age continued, however, this integration waned, only to re-emerge in almost cyclic fashion at the end of the second millennium. Through a presentation of the prehistoric Black Sea cultural sequences, the longer-term cycles of connectivity and dis-integration across the region are explained as likely occurring in long-term historical rhythms and as well as in response to interregional dynamics between the Near East, southeast Europe, and the Mediterranean, challenging a conventional view of Black Sea connectivity as first occurring with Greek Colonization. This book thus offers important insight for current understanding of the region, as well as comparative work on colonialism and the role of social interaction in the development and maintenance of communities.

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Bauer, Alexander A. . The Black Sea and the Question of “Indo-European” origins. The Black Sea in Prehistory - Cycles of Interaction and Emergence from the 4th to the 2nd Millennia BCE. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Nov 2026. ISBN 9781845532239. Date accessed: 15 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24743. Nov 2026

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