METALLURGY AND EARLY BRONZE AGE FORTIFIED SETTLEMENTS IN SLOVAKIA
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The study presents proofs of metallurgical production at fortified settlements of the Early Bronze Age cultures on the territory of Slovakia in the northern part of the Carpathian basin in the chronological succession they appeared. Since the beginning of the 1950s close attention has been paid to the research of fortified settlements in Slovakia. Owing to this Slovakia and Slovak archaeology made an important step in raising awareness of the European scientific public. Relevant precondition for metallurgy development were deposits of non-ferrous metals (copper, gold and tin), which are situated first of all in regions of central and eastern Slovakia. From the point of view of metallurgical development in fortified settlements, the area where the western Unetice culture meets the eastern Hatvan culture, appears to be of extraordinary importance. In the final period of the Early Bronze Age the number of fortified settlements in the northern part of the Carpathian Basin increased and the development of metallurgical production culminated. While metallurgy in the period of the Hatvani culture was concentrated at areas of fortified settlements prevailingly, in the following period, that of the Madarovce culture, we can find proofs of metallurgical activities also out of fortified areas, at open space (Nitra, Bahon). This makes the region of the Madarovce culture close to that of the Veterov culture. Even more distinctively than in the Madarovce culture in south-western Slovakia, metallurgy of non-ferrous metals is documented in the Otomani culture in eastern Slovakia. This observation does not point out the fact that metallurgical production in the Madarovce culture was on noticeably lower level than in the Otomani culture. More probably it refers to different extinction of majority of fortified settlements in the Madarovce and in the Otomani cultures. While small number of hoards and almost total absence of bronze and golden artefacts in settlements of the Madarovce culture may refer to their gradual extinction, occurrence of numerous hoards of these artefacts in the Otomani culture, frequently hidden under a hut/dwelling floor, indicate their abrupt, probably catastrophic end.
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