General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Connectivity And Mobility In Bronze Age Europe And The Near East
Language English
Module lecturer dr Paulina Suchowska-Ducke
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position Assistant professor
Faculty Faculty of Archeology
Semester 2023/2024 (winter)
Duration 30


In the academic year 2023/2024 the course starts on 16th October 

The lecture is taking place on Mondays at 15.00 in the room 2.100 at Collegium Historicum (Campus Morasko)

Module aim (aims)

The course will explore long-distance networks and cross-cultural communications of the Bronze Age societies of continental Europe and the Mediterranean Basin. Without doubt, some of the most interesting aspects of the archaeological record relate to mobility, connectivity and exchange. When people travel, things and ideas travel with them. The dissemination of foreign knowledge, new skills and trends had a profound effect on the societies and often lead to significant transformation. The course will focus on several case-studies from across the European continent, presenting these processes in action, and based on archaeological finds and interdisciplinary studies (e.g. ancient DNA, isotope and metallurgical analysis). For instance the organisation of trade and diplomacy in the Eastern Mediterranean, warriors on the move, travelling women and itinerant craftsmen. Moreover, warfare as a special form of human interaction will be discussed, as well as how accurate the depiction of the Bronze Age is in the poems of Homer.

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Basic knowlegde of archaeology and/or ancient history


Week 1: Introduction to aspects of mobility, connectivity, trade and exchange in European prehistory 

Week 2: The rise of Bronze Age societies – the beginnings 

Week 3: Bronze Age socio-cultural environments, ways of transport and raw materials 

Week 4: Texts, trade and travellers – diplomacy and trade organisation in continental Europe and the Mediterranean basin 

Week 5: Case Study 1 – Merchant colony city of Kanesh and port-of-trade in Ugarit 

Week 6: Case Study 2 – “The Aegean List” – Egyptian official trip to the Aegean? 

Week 7: Evidence for trade and exchange from iconography and material culture – part 1 

Week 8: Evidence for trade and exchange from iconography and material culture – part 2 

Week 9: Case Study 3 – Bronze Age shipwrecks and their cargos 

Week 10: Case Study 4 – craftsmen on the move – extraordinary objects as evidence for itinerant craftsmen 

Week 11: Case Study 5 - Women travels in the Nordic Bronze Age (the Ølby Woman, the Egtved Girl, the Skrydstrup Woman) 

Week 12: Case Study 6 – Warriors of the Naue II swords and their role in the transformation of Bronze Age societies 

Week 13: Bronze Age battle fields (Trojan War, Battle of Kadesh, Tollense Valley battlefield) 

Week 14: The Sea Peoples and the end of the Bronze Age 

Week 15: Discussion

Reading list

Aruz J., Benzel K. & J.M. Evans (eds.) 2008. Beyond the Babylon. Art, Trade and Diplomacy in the Second Millennium BC (New York)

Bauer A.A. & A.S. Agbe-Davies (eds.) 2010. Social Archaeologies of Trade and Exchange. Exploring Relationships among People, Places and Things (California)

Bergerbrant S. 2007. Bronze Age Identities: Costume, Conflict and Contact in Northern Europe 1600-1300 BC (Lindome)

Broodbank C. 2013. The Making of the Middle Sea. A History of the Mediterranean from the Beginning to the Emergence of the Classical World (London)

Carman J. & A. Harding (eds.) 1999. Ancient Warfare: Archaeological Perspectives (Sutton)

Gale N.H. (ed.) 1991. Bronze Age Trade in the Mediterranean (Goteborg)

Jantzen D., Brinker U., Orschiedt J., Heinemeier J., Piek J., Hauenstein K., Krüger J., Lidke G., Lübke H., Lampe R., Lorenz S., Schult M. & T. Terberger 2011. A Bronze Age battlefield? Weapons and trauma in the Tollense Valley, north-eastern Germany. Antiquity 85: 417-433.

Kristiansen K. & T.K. Larsson. 2005. The Rise of Bronze Age Society. Travels, Transmissions and Transformations (Cambridge)

Kristiansen K, & P. Suchowska-Ducke. 2015. Connected Histories. The Dynamics of Late Bronze Age Interaction and Trade 1500-1100 BC. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society 81: 361-392

Pulak C. 2001. The Cargo of the Uluburun Ship and Evidence for Trade with the Aegean and Beyond. In: L. Bonfante & V. Karageorghis (eds) Italy and Cyprus in Antiquity 1500-450 B.C', pp. 13-60 (Nicosia).

Suchowska-Ducke P., Reiter S, Reiter & H. Vandkilde. 2015. Forging Identities. The Mobility of Culture in Bronze Age Europe. British Archaeological Reports International Series 2771, 2772 (vol. 1, 2) (Oxford)

Zaccagnini C. (1983) 'Patterns of mobility among ancient Near Eastern craftsmen', Journal of Near Eastern Studies 42: 245-264.