Die Zeit der großen Gräben: Modelle zur Chronologie des Michelsberger Fundplatzes von Heilbronn-Klingenberg „Schlossberg“, Stadtkreis Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg



Seidel U, Stephan E, Stika H, Dunbar E, Kromer B, Bayliss A, Beavan N, Healy F & Whittle A (2016) Die Zeit der großen Gräben: Modelle zur Chronologie des Michelsberger Fundplatzes von Heilbronn-Klingenberg „Schlossberg“, Stadtkreis Heilbronn, Baden-Württemberg. Praehistorische Zeitschrift, 91 (2), pp. 225-283.

This paper presents an attempt to establish more precise dating of the Michelsberg enclosure of Klingenberg-Schlossberg in the Neckar valley. The approach used is advocated as the basis on which to explore the timing and duration of other Michelsberg enclosures of the later fifth–earlier fourth millennium cal BC. Excavated extensively in 1986–1987, the Klingenberg enclosure has two ditches across a loess promontory, traces of a palisade inside the inner ditch, remains of burnt superstructure in both ditches, numerous pits both inside and outside, and numerous dog remains. There are some signs of pre-enclosure occupation in the MK II and III/IV phases, but the bulk of activity belongs to the MK V/Munzingen phase. A formal chronological approach combines the detailed archaeological information from the excavation with radiocarbon dates on carefully selected samples, here mainly charred cereals or articulated or articulating animal bones, in a Bayesian statistical framework.  No samples were found to date MK II activity. Samples for two MK III/IV pits suggest a date in the 40th–39thcenturies cal BC. MK V/Mz activity began at the very end of the 39thand the start of the 38thcentury cal BC. Unlike in the previously published interpretation of the sequence, this activity probably began with the construction of the enclosure, both ditches being dug either together or in very quick succession. This was followed by pits inside the enclosure, from the earlier 38thcentury cal BC. Probably after a few decades, pits began to be dug outside the enclosure, in the middle part of the 38thcentury cal BC. Both ditches probably went out of use in the mid-37thcentury cal BC, probably simultaneously, after the burning of the rampart between them, and the ending of the external pits could be of the same date; the internal pits might have continued a little longer. A duration of 120–150 years for MK V/Mz activity is estimated. Alternative models are considered.  The local and wider implications of these formal date estimates are discussed, topics covered including the circumstances in which the enclosure may have been constructed and those in which it ended, the chronology of MK pottery, and the wider development of MK and other enclosures.

Neolithic; Neckar valley; Michelsberg; enclosure; chronology; radiocarbon dating; Bayesian statistics

Praehistorische Zeitschrift: Volume 91, Issue 2

Publication date31/12/2016
Publication date online15/12/2016
Date accepted by journal29/04/2016
PublisherDe Gruyter

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Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor Alexandra Bayliss

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences