Bronze Age agriculture in Eurasia

Land usage in Bronze Age Europe: understanding human-environmental interactions in antiquity

As part of the COEVOLVE ERC project (2013-2018) we are studying the impact of the Bronze Age (3rd millennium B.C.E. to mid-1st millennium B.C.E.) on human-environment interactions as well as land usage throughout Europe. As the Bronze Age experienced the first major impact of humans on the environment, both locally and globally, understanding this important time period and its development is essential for producing comprehensive land usage models. In order to create these models, we began with the construction of a geo-database of bronze agricultural implements throughout Europe. Based upon archaeological dating methods and typologies we have been able to divide this data into 100-year time segments, showing a clear expansion and decline in their distribution across Europe. Utilizing this database as a starting point, the next steps are to begin to develop a categorization system for land usage throughout Europe, taking into account cultural interactions, social and technological development, economic processes, topography, and resource availability and usage, in order to ultimately develop more accurate and comprehensive models of changing land use patterns during the Bronze Age. As part of this project, we utilise a variety of archaeological methods including archaeobotany, archaeozoology, palaeoclimatology, as well as a variety of other scientific and modelling approaches.

Distribution of Bronze Age sickles throughout Europe by century.