Lives (Archaeology of People) Part 1

Likewise the anthropologist Maurice Bloch has referred to the ‘the long conversation that is Balinese society’, in which ‘at some time, one notion of time is used, and others, another’ (Bloch 1977, 284). Archaeologists wrestling with the relationship between ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ and the satisfactory definition of these terms may have much to learn from this kind of approach to identity and action in the world. One recent insightful account of the variation in depositional practice in LBK settlements characterised the LBK as emerging ‘between structure and agency’, somewhere between ‘shared principles and individual histories and local solutions’, and suggested that the ‘locus of that dialectic is the house’ (Last 1998b, 19). Another recent account has also examined the scope for agency in the LBK, using Habermas’s concept of Lebenswelt and Bourdieu’s notion of doxa, to examine whether change was simply unimaginable or whether orthodoxy was promoted by the suppression of change (Sommer 2001). There is a welcome attempt to examine issues of uniformity and diversity in different material practices through the history of the LBK, and in terms of controlled, negotiable and neutral ‘sectors’, but the conclusion (e.g. Sommer 2001, fig. 3) remains a generalising contrast between houseplans, lithics, pottery and domesticates.

So far in this topic I have tried to illustrate, through a combination of ethnographic and archaeological examples, the actuality of multiple identities, of long conversations and public and private discourses, of the messiness of existence with its mesh of routines, individualism, shared values, life courses, rememberings and intentionalities. I have looked at a complex array of dimensions, from learning about the world and bodily engagement with it through such basic routines as sleeping, eating or moving, and such basic features as the postures in which the body is held, to the at times fluid notions of identity that may go far beyond the physical individual, involving also a network of loyalties, affiliations, allegiances and values. I have also tried to show the importance of animals in the construction of identity and people’s understanding of the world, and I have argued that multiple kinds of remembering, regularly selective and creative, help to orientate people in the world not only with reference to grander schemes of beginnings and descent but also in relation to how daily lives were carried forward. I have not said as much directly as I could about material culture or the materiality of existence, but this is implied throughout.

This should all indicate the scope for breaking down ‘lumped’ concepts such as culture, agency and structure. There is little need for the kind of theoretical abstraction that characterises so much of recent debate, and the archaeological record (if this term is allowable in a neutral sense) should of itself in fact encourage and enable a much more fragmented and complex approach to interpretation. As John Robb (1999, 7) has argued, ‘top-down cultural analysis tends to portray cultural systems as deceptively logical and unrealistically consistent’. In this topic therefore, I want to try to give a further sense of the complexity of things in actual situations. I have chosen the LBK, the early Neolithic of the Alpine foreland, and the early Neolithic of southern England in contrast to that of western Britain. I have already drawn on these in earlier topics. I would like to have included the early Neolithic Koros culture of the Great Hungarian Plain here, but I have already discussed this at some length in previous topics. I do not have the opportunity here for either the extended synthesis or the detailed treatment of individual settings, contexts and situations which would be desirable. Rather I want to try to give some sense in each brief example of the layerings of existence and of the histories to which these belong. In this regard, the Koros culture, or rather the history of people in the southern part of the Tisza drainage basin between 6000 and 5500 BC, is in various ways part of the history of the emergence and thereby the character of the LBK, or rather the history of the multiple existences of longhouse people through the woodlands and river valleys of central and western Europe. For reasons of practicality it is hard to avoid using these generalising labels, and my accounts will not easily avoid a generalising tone, but it is easy to see how dangerous this can be. I have chosen the three case studies to illustrate differences between situations, but one may also reflect on the extent of variation within each situation and on the degree to which experience was shared across existences which we normally choose to represent as different.

Longhouse lives

The very way in which the evidence for the LBK comes to us encourages generalisation. The partialities of survival and research promote this. Some of the biggest and best studied faunal assemblages are in the Paris basin (Hachem 1995; 1997; 1999; 2000); the Aldenhovener Platte remains the most extensively investigated and published landscape (Luning and Stehli 1994; Luning 1997a); and some of the best published burial grounds, such as Aiterhofen (Nieszery 1995; cf. Jeunesse 1997), have come in recent years from southern Bavaria, with far better preservation of the human remains than from the better contextualised examples of the Aldenhovener Platte or Elsloo in Dutch Limburg. With the floor levels of longhouses almost without exception gone, the widespread similarities in house plans, pot styles, stone tools and grave rites encourage us to think in terms of some kind of network, not only extensive but active and interconnected throughout its total distribution. Other studies have already shown how regional or local practices can in fact be seen throughout (e.g. Modderman 1988; Coudart 1998; Veit 1996; Orschiedt 1998; Zimmermann 1995; de Grooth 1997; Last 1998b), underlining the already quoted dictum of Bruno Latour (1993, 117) that ‘the network is always local’. The emphasis here, with space restricted and with individual case studies anyway easily available to readers, is on suggesting ways in which multiple, layered identities could be thought about within the realms of the LBK.

History is the first dimension to reflect upon. We are still not sure when the LBK came into existence and it need not be the case that all its later constituent elements somehow came simultaneously into being. The development of the rather simple pottery that characterises the alteste LBK, for example, might have either preceded or followed the emergence of longhouses. My interest here is principally in those longhouses. It is normally estimated that these were in existence by 5500 BC, with suggestions that they could go back to 5600 BC (e.g. Sommer 2001, 250; Stauble 1995); evidence from the site of Brunn II just outside Vienna could even take this back a little earlier (Peter Stadler, pers. comm.). It has also been suggested that this first phase was prolonged, lasting up to four hundred years (Sommer 2001, 254; cf. Price et al. 2001, fig. 1). Sites of the alteste LBK have been found scattered across the area from north-west Hungary to the middle Rhine (Gronenborn 1999, fig. 1). By now quite familiar lines of argument suggest a choice between colonisation from somewhere in northern Hungary and acculturation of the indigenous population (summarised with references in Sommer 2001, 251—4). The case for the appropriate conditions for a major colonisation is not overwhelming.Both faunal assemblages with their strong presence of wild animals (Uerpmann and Uerpmann 1997) and lithic assemblages with strong similarities in point technology (Mateiciucova 2001) indicate the possibility of major continuities with indigenous practice. Lithic materials like the radiolarite from the northern Hungarian source of Szentgal or flint from the Dutch Limburg source of Rijkholt-St Geertruid were moved widely through the alteste LBK sphere, and both sources had been used previously in the Mesolithic (Gronenborn 1997). The simplicity of alteste LBK pottery is compatible with imitation of ceramic styles to the south-east. On the other hand, genetic evidence allows for an element of incoming population, which might be dateable to this period (Sykes 1999). Gronenborn in particular (1999) has argued for interactions and fusions especially on the western edge of the alteste LBK distribution, between incoming LBK populations (of whatever origin) and other populations using La Hoguette and Limburg pottery. The continued reality of such fusions seems to be reinforced by the recent strontium isotope analyses of the burial grounds at Flomborn and Schwetzingen in the middle Rhine in the middle or Flomborn phase of the LBK (Price et al. 2001).

The general argument for a fusion of populations could now be extended, and the longhouse may have a particular role in this process. Since Hungarian archaeologists have long debated the role of the local Szatmar group in the emergence of the AVK or local Plain variant of the LBK (Kalicz and Makkay 1977), it is possible that the LBK emerged in the area of the Koros culture east of the Tisza river on the Great Hungarian Plain. It is perhaps far more likely in the present state of evidence that the LBK emergence is to be located somewhere within the area bounded by the Danube as it makes its great turn, the eastern end of the Alps and the Drava river to the south. Here there is evidence for small, scattered Starcevo-Koros populations, up to and level with Lake Balaton (e.g. Kalicz et al. 1998; Banffy 2000), and further survey and excavation will presumably produce more sites of the kind seen at Szentgyorgyvolgy-Pityerdomb, where two single-phase structures up to 14.5 m long defined by posts and bedding trenches were found (Banffy 2000). There is, however, little immediately local evidence for a Mesolithic presence, and in this regard the situation west of the Danube is comparable with the contemporary one east of the Tisza. There is little evidence for direct Mesolithic-Neolithic contact, and rather than any kind of frontier there was a limit to the Koros distribution and a zone to its north largely empty of a regular Mesolithic presence; the southward movement of obsidian, however, shows interaction across or through this zone.

Whichever of these two areas - west of the Danube or east of the Tisza, or indeed both – saw the emergence of the LBK, we can perhaps begin better to define the context in which this took place. This was not obviously one of major increases of population on either side of an unstable frontier; the situation may rather be to do with contact between low-density populations. In this setting, the appearance of the first longhouses is of particular interest (Figure 6.1). Post-framed structures in the northern Starcevo and Koros cultures were neither particularly common nor substantial, examples rarely exceeding 10 m in length (Lenneis 1997); though there are exceptions, many Koros structures may have been quite short-lived shelters, consisting largely of walls framed by bundles of reeds and covered by daub, with only a very light post or stake frame. Many of these seem to have been burnt at the end of their use. The longhouse is much bigger, though it is not clear whether any of those belonging to the alteste LBK much exceed 20 m. At Bruchenbrucken, Friedberg, for example, from the western part of the distribution (Luning 1997b), houses were little more than 16-17 m long, and defined by outer bedding trenches and few internal postholes, though these were definitely arranged in cross-rows of three (Stauble 1997). In other cases, many more internal posts have been found (Stauble 1997, 67; Neth 1999, fig. 72). The longhouse could have been created for the first time by a larger group coming together and deciding, say, to double the size of a conventional structure, to take in more people or to make visible and more enduring a union or fusion between people of differing identities and pasts.

If there is anything in this speculation, it could suggest that the longhouse itself had a powerfully symbolic history from the outset. The idea was widely copied by people as far west as the Rhine, though there also seems to be quite a lot of variability in these alteste LBK houses, and given that there may have been varied constituents of this population, the house as fusion may have been accepted from the outset as a form promoting the integration of people of varying identity. The sequence at Bruchenbrucken seems to have been quite a long one, and as far as can be seen the practice was of replacement by rebuilding rather than by burning. Visible continuity was perhaps part of this emergent history.

House plans of the alteste LBK (arrows indicate north). Clockwise from top left: Miskovice; Bruckenbrucken; Gerlingen; Bruckenbrucken; Rosdorf; and Bylany.

Figure 6.1 House plans of the alteste LBK (arrows indicate north). Clockwise from top left: Miskovice; Bruckenbrucken; Gerlingen; Bruckenbrucken; Rosdorf; and Bylany.

If the alteste LBK phase did last for a longer rather than shorter time, the implication would be that subsequent developments were more accelerated or intensified. Two features are of particular interest, both suggestive of the possibility that the developing house structure itself served to go on evoking a powerful past. In the houses which emerged after the alteste phase (Modderman 1988), the Y-configuration in the centre of larger houses might also be a reference to the past; the first of these settings had probably appeared in the alteste phase (Neth 1999, fig. 72). It might be something to do with doorways in the long sides (Veit 1996, 62), but in the absence of floorplans this is classically difficult to prove. The arrangement seems too arbitrary merely to fit or facilitate arrangements for entrance and exit. It seems to offer a complex of possible symbolisms. It draws attention to the centre of the building. It provides an orientation, normally to the east side of the longhouses in question. It appears to emphasise above all the central post of the Y-configuration. Could this draw on cosmological principles, or could it refer in some way to simpler structures such as tents, older than the longhouse, but not forgotten? In turn, the Y-configuration passed out of fashion in later LBK building (Modderman 1988), but in both phases the idea of tripartite compartmentalisation was important. This has normally been interpreted in more or less functional terms, though in differing ways, from central basic living unit, with granary and stall as additions (Modderman 1988), to control of women in rear portions furthest from the entrance (Hodder 1990), or the use of the northern, sometimes planked portion as a mortuary shrine (Bradley 2001). One argument for the use of the southern or south-eastern part of the longhouse as granary has been the doubling of posts in some instances in this portion (Modderman 1988). But this doubling of posts is not universally present (Coudart 1998). Perhaps what was important was the symbolic representation of a union of differences. Whether or not architectural compartmentalisation exactly mirrored the social composition of the inhabitants of a particular longhouse, the codified building practice could have served to evoke a history of bringing different ideas or people together. Compartmentalisation is not a major feature of earliest longhouses, and becomes more prominent as the LBK continued to expand both outwards and within the area of its primary distribution, and as an earlier history became both more remote and more important.

Something of the same kind may have been important in the way longhouse lives were oriented. This may have varied. It has been argued that the general pattern of longhouse orientations can be related to the general direction from which LBK people came (Bradley 2001; 2002). Since the argument for orientation according to prevailing winter winds is unconvincing (Mattheusser 1991), this has much to recommend it, though it can be noted that in more northerly and westerly areas the idea of orientation in opposition to the coasts has also been mooted (Coudart 1998, 88-9). It is also to accept that the spread of the LBK was due to a colonisation which followed a regular path, which earlier discussion shows may be a simplification of a complex process. It remains plausible nonetheless to think in terms of a general orientation towards a sense of beginnings, even if this mental map should not be seen as a literal one. It is something that may have become more important with the passage of time, just as the movement of Spondylus down long paths from the east became a more marked feature as the LBK developed (Willms 1985; Sommer 2001, 262). The movement of axes is another feature which might have served to orientate people to far-away places. In all cases, however, there may have been other groundings. If the longhouse was not only a central metaphor but also a central physical fact in the LBK, then the layout of these structures, both as individual entities and as more or less nucleated or dispersed groupings depending on the case, must have encouraged a certain way of moving around the domestic focus, a combination, hard to put into words, of distancing between individual longhouses, progression around the long sides of buildings, movement past flanking ditches with their placed deposits of sherds and bones, and entry to and exit from the compartmentalised spaces within structures. There may in nearly all cases have been an important sense of local orientation, or grounding in the local landscape. This has hardly been explored in LBK studies at all. Bruchenbrucken provides an early example of orientation to the local river, and there are many others, such as Cuiry-les-Chaudardes in the Aisne valley. In the same way, particular settlement clusters had local orientation in terms of their normal lithic sources (e.g. Zimmermann 1995; de Grooth 1997) as well as towards more exotic items coming from further afield. All these local aspects may have been as much at the heart of the experience of longhouse lives as the more metaphysical orientation to a sense of beginnings. It is tempting to speculate that the latter might have been a matter especially for older people, a kind of understanding reached with seniority.

We assume that while the LBK settlement was in existence, it contained long-houses. The longhouse stands as the central fact of residence. When one building came to an end, so another was constructed to replace it. The longhouse comes easily to stand for permanence and continuity, and this finds uncanny echoes in ethnographic accounts of the perpetuity of the house idea and of the ‘metaphorical immortality of the social groups who identify with them’ in many other settings (e.g. Waterson 2000, 177). Though the intention in this topic is to focus on the archaeological evidence, it is worth quoting directly from Waterson’s account of house dwellers in South Sulawesi, Indonesia, as a foil to what makes the LBK distinctive:

The physical and spiritual components of house value — the heirlooms, bones, and spirits of the dead as well as the placentas of the newly born — anchor people to place and to their ancestral origins. People’s identities are thus grounded in the landscape, the physical house functioning as a material sign for the social memories that localize groups to certain places (houses, fields, tombs). Houses create simultaneous spatial and temporal networks for conceptualizing how social groups are linked to one another, because of their references to specific historical memories of descent and affinal relationships that are construed as relationships between houses.

At least three features in combination mark out the distinctiveness of the LBK. We must envisage a steady pattern of recruitment to households, through local migration and marriage. The potential value of the recent strontium isotope analyses (Price et al. 2001) in this regard is obvious. Simply because of the variation in their size and duration, apart from anything else, it is highly unlikely that individual longhouses all constituted closed social groupings. It is far more plausible that these were part of a network. One recent study of the distribution of distinctive motifs on pottery from sites on the Aldenhovener Platte, over a distance of only a few kilometres and across two or three local stream valleys, has shown how settlements, sometimes close neighbours but sometimes a little further apart, are linked by the use of such decorative techniques (Kolhoff 1999, figs 52-60). This is interpreted as part of an exogamous, virilocal residence pattern, in which daughters learn potting from their mothers and take their knowledge to local (and presumably other) settlements on marriage (Kolhoff 1999, 120-2). Neat though this scheme is, it might be as attractive to think in terms of a more generalised local network of material exchanges between kin groups, alliances or other social groupings. It presumably need not be the case that there was rigidly one daughter per household. Whoever did make pots, these patterns might also suggest a certain general fluidity in household membership.

If the house can be seen as a metaphor, so too can the human body be seen as standing for a lattice of relationships. Just as the individual longhouse came to an end, so too did the human body. There is a striking general contrast between the state and condition of bodies found within settlements on the one hand and in formal disposal areas or burial grounds on the other. In some areas, it may be that the cemetery was a feature that belonged to preeminent or senior settlements, or served a wider locality while placed closest to major settlements. The examples of both Niedermerz on the Aldenhovener Platte and Elsloo in Dutch Limburg could be thought of in this way. Whether this was a universal model is less clear. There is some basis for seeing burial grounds in tributary valleys of the Danube in southern Bavaria (Nieszery 1995) as belonging to a smaller orbit of settlements, if not to individual settlements. In both cases, however, the burial ground presented whole bodies, consciously positioned with material things carefully placed around them, redolent of identities appropriate to age and gender (Hofmann 2001). The history of an LBK burial ground often appears to begin a little later than that of the local settlements, the accretion of individual grave plots, in most cases presumably identifiable and in some way permanently marked, mirroring the succession of longhouses within settlement foci. But the body within the settlement was often treated very differently (Veit 1996; Orschiedt 1998). Here there is considerable variation in the placing of adult remains in relation to longhouses (mainly in various pits, at varying stages of their biographies), in the completeness of the skeleton (often partial) and its arrangement (often disordered in comparison to that seen in formal ‘graves’), and in the association with material objects (often very few being present). Child burials often present a contrast, being both more complete and often apparently being placed close to particular longhouses. A series of contrasts could be suggested (cf. Pluciennik 2002). Just as the body selected for formal disposal in a separate burial ground could stand for the longhouse, or the idea of longhouses, so the partial and disordered remains found within settlements could stand for the possibility and reality of the finite existence and eventual dissolution of the longhouse. The force of the idea of longhouse continuity took its strength perhaps from the more mundane facts of frequent replacements, alterations and endings.

There are too many longhouses. For all their bulk, many if not most longhouses may have lasted for far shorter periods than their robust construction would have allowed. The sequence worked out for the Aldenhovener Platte (Luning and Stehli 1994), probably currently the most detailed of its kind, and with fourteen or more phases, rests on the assumption of about twenty-five years per house generation. If the alteste LBK phase is to be seen as lasting longer, then this figure might even be seen as a maximum. But these structures could have lasted far longer than a generation (Bradley 1996, 247), being constructed of substantial oak timbers.1 While seniority may have been one important principle guiding what was placed in graves with whom, and while the relative seniority of individual settlements may have been important at local or regional level, it does not seem — and in contrast to the ethnography of say the Malagasy Zafimaniry (Bloch 1992; 1998) — that ageing was an important consideration in the value placed on LBK longhouses. For all their bulk, these could be thought of as relatively ephemeral. What was important was their frequent replacement. If there is comparatively little evidence for the burning of LBK longhouses, then these were presumably simply abandoned, or possibly de-roofed and left, their timbers lasting for longer and eventually collapsing to form identifiable low mounds (Bradley 1996). There was then a play between endings and continuities. While the idea of the longhouse was maintained, any one example was definitely finite in its duration. The longhouse was therefore something constantly open to discussion, evaluation and negotiation.

We do not know the circumstances in which individual longhouses came to an end at this kind of generational pulse. They could as well be to do with shifting histories of the alliances or groupings which constituted them as with the deaths of prominent or leading members. To this house biography we should add the lives of others involved. What happened when a longhouse was abandoned, say on the death of a senior member? There would have been other older members, but also younger ones, recent incomers and children, who would all have been re-absorbed into another household. It often seems to be the case that the number of houses suggested per phase fluctuates through the history of a settlement, and in that situation relocation may have been to other existing households rather than in a direct house replacement. This potential discontinuity at the heart of longhouse lives has been little commented upon. Any LBK individuals surviving into mature adulthood might have belonged in the course of their existence to two or three different physical structures.

To this punctuated life course in turn can be added a variety of domains in the taskscape. These would have had diverse localities, temporalities and socialities. As I have noted in earlier topics, the LBK taskscape extends outwards from the longhouse itself. Flint working, plant preparation and possibly animal butchery seem to have taken place in appointed places around the longhouse, and other activities were conducted in the spaces in between longhouses. Other activities would have taken people out into the landscape to varying distances and in varying groups. It is possible that by the established phases of the LBK cereal cultivation was practised in small fixed plots or gardens (summarised in Luning 2000; see also Bogaard 2002), relatively close to longhouses. Such gardens would therefore often have been long-lasting, and part of the sense of place of a household or community.2

If the longhouse was merely part of a wider lattice of relationships, then people -perhaps particularly women if they were responsible for the maintenance of gardens – would probably have had access to or at least knowledge of a series of such places. This hypothetically female space, prominent especially in the spring and summer, would have been crossed by other, perhaps male activities. Let us suppose that animal herding and flint procurement were the responsibility principally of males. Cattle, sheep and pigs would have been tended at differing ranges from settlements. Taking animals to water must have been part of daily routine, and I have already noted the possible significance of wells as locales for social interaction. As we have seen, it has been argued from the Aisne valley evidence that there was some kind of specialisation in herding and hunting (Hachem 1995; 1997; 1999; 2000), which would give added significance to intersecting paths and routines involved in animal keeping, but I have suggested that this specialisation may also be to do with other factors such as household composition and history. Modest amounts of flint were procured at distances from settlements (Zimmermann 1995; de Grooth 1997), possibly on the basis of annual visits made perhaps chiefly by men.

The products and histories of these activities and socialities were in turn brought back to the communal spaces of the longhouses. It seems clear from various studies that life around the longhouse was carried on in a patterned kind of way, in so far as various sorts of deposition took place in a recurrent manner. This can be seen not only in the established phases of the LBK (e.g. Last 1998b; Hachem 2000) but in its earliest stage too (e.g. Stauble 1997). There is also quite a lot of variability from setting to setting (Last 1998b, 35-6). It is also striking that the quantities of material remaining in LBK pits and the ditches flanking longhouses are comparatively modest (e.g. Last 1998b, 26). Two suggestions can be offered to make some sense of these observations. On the one hand, life around the longhouse may have been characterised not only by a more intense kind of sociality and gregariousness, but also by more formality or adherence to patterned ways of doing things. On the other hand, life was clearly not carried on only at longhouses. Unless we envisage original living surfaces thickly carpeted with the remains of occupation, the evidence could be taken to suggest, despite the sheer bulk of the longhouses themselves, modest numbers of people, not always present. Life away from the longhouse settlements might also have been, speculatively, carried on with a greater freedom. People came and went, some to a greater extent than others, depending on their age, gender and affiliations. Longhouses and associated places and socialities anchored people in particular locales, though not necessarily one only. It is as though there was a flow in the life course of these people, in which the longhouse, itself the product of a particular history at the beginning of it all, represented the possibility and means of periodic re-assembly of the social group. Something of that flow, it seems to me, is captured in the nature of the designs on LBK pottery, from the earliest but especially from the middle phase onwards: the bands as paths, straight or curving, going round the pot and round again without either starting point or ending, the infill motifs as footprints of people or animals,3 or particular ones like the so-called music-note as punctuations or pauses in lives characterised by movement.

If no one model of LBK society has yet been agreed as acceptable (e.g. Sommer 2001, 258-60), this perhaps underlines the reality of multiple identities. Rather than seek to define a single structure, or uncover a dominant kind of agency, we could see the moral community of the LBK as a nexus constituted in varied dimensions. Memory of history brought an idea, perhaps an ideal, of fusion, together with a sense of orientation. The longhouse and longhouse groupings required a network of affiliations and allegiances, and the success of particular foci tended to concentrate people through time in places of prowess and renown. It is perhaps no accident that the striking new evidence for acts of interpersonal violence in the LBK is collective in nature: involving something like an extended household in the case of Talheim, and a larger grouping in the case of Asparn (summarised in Sommer 2001, 259).4 There was some fluidity in residence and longhouse membership, and individuals can be thought of as constituted differently at different stages in their lives. A principle of seniority may have been important, marked in some cases in exotic items like amphibolite axes and with Spondylus shells being associated with older men (summarised in Sommer 2001, 259). In other cases, such as the Aiterhofen cemetery (Nieszery 1995), the oldest men had fewer Spondylus ornaments than their adult juniors and more local items such as fox mandibles and arrowheads, suggesting perhaps a passing on of exotic valuables and a turning to concern for the guarding and continuity of the community (Hofmann 2001, 56). The orbit of lives may have been largely local and regional, but there was interest too in things from farther afield. Whether there was any conscious sense of the totality of the LBK distribution is quite unclear. Involvement in exchange networks seems to have been a recurrent goal, and other values may have revolved around reputation, prowess and hospitality. The replacement and continuity of the longhouse itself was clearly a major concern. It is hard to see a single principle framing membership of the longhouse group, since memory, generalised ancestry and specific genealogies may all coincide in it. The descent principles of the longhouse grouping could as well have begun as open and bilateral as closed and unilineal. The tensions within LBK society suggested by the recent evidence for violence might in time have focused around issues of succession, rather than around the social costs of display (Bogucki 1996) or competition for scarce resources (Windl 1999).

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