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17 January 2011
Ancient buildings are physical manifestations of Bronze Age societies

Based on previous studies from the Carpathian Basin in Central Europe and new findings from the Tell settlement Százhalombatta-Földvár in Hungary, new research shows detailed information on how societies worked. Claes Uhnér, the author of the thesis, describes the ways in which the construction of Tells indicate how power was centralized.
     Tell-building societies are named after a distinct form of settlements with a high density of population and construction, which over the course of time accumulated such thick cultural layers that they took on the shape of low mounds. These societies would have had relatively advanced economies, based on agricultural production and animal husbandry, and would have traded regionally and over long distances. "By exercising a degree of control over these parts of the economy, it was possible for leaders to finance political activities and power-exerting organisations," says Uhnér.
     In his thesis, Uhnér shows how leaders were able to control settlements from fortified tells. Due to their close proximity to rivers and other transport routes, these settlements would have been able to demand tribute fro passing trade as well as acting as intermediaries during exchanges of goods in the region. Uhnér, puts forward that a large tell is a manifestation of a successful society with a long history and suggests that such tells would have legitimized the social position of the elites and their right to lead.
     "By controlling tells and the activities carried out in them, leaders had an organisational advantage over the rest of the population, and others found it very difficult to build up competing power positions," says Uhnér.

Edited from RedOrbit (11 January 2011)

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