Quinn said the grant will be used to conduct investigations into an early town in Teius, Romania, and to explore the strategies Bronze Age Transylvanian communities employed when trying to live together in larger settlements for the first time.
He said that the transition from living in small villages to large towns is one of the most consequential shifts in human history. “Confronted with navigating the challenging social landscape that comes with higher population density,” he said, “communities in early towns experimented with new ways of coming together and mitigating tensions and rising inequalities.”
In order to help diverse communities create shared identities and common purpose, novel social, economic, and religious institutions would have been created. “Sometimes these efforts to create community cohesion would have been successful, and other times these towns broke apart as the integrating institutions failed,” Quinn said. “Archaeology, with its focus on material traces of human behavior in the past, provides one of the only ways for us to reconstruct how the first towns coalesced.”
He said that given Transylvania’s important role as a metal-producing region within Europe, his project will help archaeologists better understand the successes and failures of community integration during a period of major social, political, and economic transformation.