Monday, January 27, 2020

The TOMBA project

The TOMBA project
TOMBA is a multilingual internet image database for tombs of élites in Bronze and Early Iron Age Europe (2400/2300-480/450 BC). The database is localized into Danish, English, French, German, Greek, and Italian.

The Tomba project has been established for understanding of this early european development of se élites. It is meant to provide easy access to se early european élites for public and to offer to scientists possibility of advanced studies.

The project to create image database is supported by European Commission, Directorate General X and established by seven institutes from as many European States.

Among European funerary rites and traditions archaeological remains of prehistoric Bronze and Iron Ages (ca. 2000-0 BC) play an important role. Across Europe, graves of this time illustrate development of complex social systems characterised by a significant degree of social stratification. Burials with rich grave goods, which demonstrate social ranking in after-life as well, are of major importance to this me. The high social renk of buried is visible by grave goods as wagons, weapons, metal vessels and gold artefacts as well as by monumental tomb construction. They represent wide cultural connections and mutualities in burial customs among various culture groups of Europe.

No o r source of information available allows se processes to be followed in such detail. Personages of high rank, or ir successors, endeavoured to express ir social status in form of ir burials; at same time this allowed m to lay claim to a similar status in after-life. The emergence of highly structured societies with a dominant élite went hand in hand with complex processes in production and relations of power, linked systems of distribution, thus leading to intensification of international contacts. Indeed, it seems interdependency between formation of élites and intensification of international contacts was a typical feature of such highly structured societies.

This process began in Minoan and Mycenaean cultures of Greece, where for first time in Europe an advanced civilisation (palace-culture with writing and administration) developed in second millennium BC. From this Aegean core area, élite graves containing swords, gold ornaments and metal-vessels spread out over large parts of Europe. In particular phenomenon in Bronze Age covers a strip of land from sou rn Scandinavia (Denmark) to Greece. Especially in Central Europe, beginning in 13th century BC a model for provision of élites’ tombs developed, including swords, wagons and metal-vessels. In Iron Age also in Italy, eastern Alpine region and eastern France similar developments can be observed in course of Late Bronze and Early Iron Age (10th/9th centuries BC), whereas western Europe from Iberian Peninsula to England and nor rn Scandinavia are lacking such an process. Certain special types of grave goods, as well as specific elements of funerary ritual can be detected far away from Aegean, in a wide region between Mediterranean and sou rn Scandinavia. Research into this data provides evidence of European dimension of this process during Bronze and Iron Ages.

During Iron Age rise of élites intensified especially in Italy and Central Europe.
In historical sources, first kings of Greek and Etruscan city states are said to have been recruited from these élites buried with exclusive grave goods. Until 6th century BC these rulers were buried in monumental tombs with outstanding and splendid grave goods. They are protagonists actively participating in cultural-historical developments in an early stage of Europe.

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