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Living Among the Dead – Settlement Structures in the North-Western Pontic Region in the 4th Millennium BC

Uhl, Regina A.
Journal of landscape ecology 2017 v.10 no.3 pp. 25-36
archaeology, death, human communities, human settlements, Moldova
The function of the plan-schematic settlements of the so called Cucuteni-Tripolye-Complex in the north-western pontic region remains enigmatic and yet, these structures haven´t been approached holistically. The article aims to address basic aspects as the construction plan and the chronology at one of these sites, the settlement Petreni in the Republic of Moldova. Beyond that, it shall be outlined, in how far the settlements served as mnemonic places. Deliberately burnt houses in these settlements represent a characteristic feature, which do not only resemble the end of a settling stage - they rather mark performative acts and may be associated with the death of a household or a community member. As the burnt house debris has not been removed or levelled, it reflects a visible marker for preceding generations among the living - such structures constitute distinctive mechanisms of commemoration and mirror communities which share a common set of experiences and knowledge.