People, things and ideas across the Central Mediterranean in the 3rd mill. BC

Inauguration Meeting ReSoc
Foto: Peter Thomas (DBM)

Throughout Europe, the 3rd millennium is marked by the presence of large-scale ideologically-motivated interaction networks, and is believed to be a “period of passage” from a Neolithic economy based on ownership and mobilization of agro-pastoral resources, to a market economy, based on the long-distance exchange of metal, both as raw material and finished product. One of the most fascinating of these far-reaching contacts is the Cetina phenomenon, which spread from Dalmatia across the Central Mediterranean and represented a common denominator for areas from the Caput Adriae in the north to Sicily and the Maltese Islands, and the Peloponnese in the south.

Cetina features comprise distinctive ceramics style, use of barrows as funerary structures, and long-distance mobilization of prestige objects with high symbolic value, representing thus an outstanding case study to understand the relationship between people and objects on the move, and to assess the impact that migration has on cultural and societal changes. The spread of Cetina elements across the central Mediterranean was widely debated by scholars in the 1990s, and currently Cetina is interpreted as the common denominator behind the circulation of objects, people and ideas by way of both seaborne and overland networks. Having abandoned the definition of Cetina as a bounded culture, the interpretative model of what is now called the Cetina phenomenon suggests a migration of small groups connected to the circulation of metals and other resources. However, it is difficult to understand the nature of the Cetina phenomenon, which resources were involved and played a key role, and the directions of these contacts. This project will explore the role of material and immaterial resources in the spread of Cetina features by means of both seaborne and overland mobility, and in the construction of materialized environments and different “Cetinascapes” across the Mediterranean and the western Balkans. Combining ceramic provenience studies to other hard science based methods, and by using Network Analysis and Agent-Based Modeling this study will test this model and will provide an explanation for mobility, cultural and social transformations and phenomena of acculturation in the context of 3rd mill. economy.


Dr. Maja Gori


Dr. Maja Gori


Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Institut für Archäologische Wissenschaften


Deutsches Bergbau-Museum Bochum, Forschungsbereiche Archäometallurgie und Montanarchäologie

Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Lehrstuhl für Makroökonomie


Juni 2017 – Mai 2020