PeBA Seminars

Online Lectures on Balkan Archaeology

The pandemic pushes us to think a new way, how to encourage scientific exchange among young archaeologists working at the Balkans. We intensively discussed different online formats of the PeBA conference. However, the experience of meetings in person, which lie at the heart of the PeBA initiative, cannot be replaced appropriately in a digital way.

Nevertheless, we are convinced that a continuous dialogue is important, and the idea of “PeBA Seminars” was born. PeBA Seminars is conceived as a series of lectures, giving you the possibility to report on current research and/or fieldwork concerning the region.

Although the series is thematically independent of the conferences, we would like to address and encourage junior researchers in particular to present their studies and receive feedback.

The meetings will take place online via the platform “Zoom” (click to join the meeting) to ensure a fruitful exchange within a specific audience of colleagues. We kindly ask you to register with your full name to guarantee access to the event.

Schedule 2021/2022

All lectures are starting at 2 PM (s. t.)

19 October 2021: Maja Gori (Rom, Italy): Balkan Archaeology: That is where we stand.

This paper aims at providing critical evaluation of the theoretical approaches and lines of research that characterized archaeology of Balkan Bronze Age from the aftermath of the Second World War to the present. In particular, it will address the 3rd and the 2nd millennium BC by discussing conceptual frameworks of the discipline and how they changed through time. It will attempt to offer a synthesized overview of the current state of knowledge by describing the major research insights, existing gaps, and future research directions.

02 November 2021: Nikola Stefanovski (Halle, Germany) Warfare tactics and fighting styles in Archaic Macedonia: Moving away from technological determinism.

The presentation will cover a chapter from my PhD dissertation. It is a survey of historical and archaeological records dealing with warrior praxis. The goal is to show how the similar material does not necessarily lead to the same praxis. Additionally, this heterogeneity should not be seen as a marker of stark difference between the regions. The presentation will also highlight the need for caution in the face of technological determinism and a trend of modern technological bias (focused on optimum performance) when thinking of the past.

23 November 2021: Nevenka Atanasoska (České Budějovice, Czech Republic): Exploring interactions through the landscape of Pelagonia and Mariovo in the last stages of prehistory.

The presentation will cover part of the doctoral dissertation. It focuses on the material culture of the archaeological sites from Pelagonia and Mariovo, primarily the necropolises which are currently a better-researched category,  covering the time period of the last centuries of the second millennium and the first half of the first millennium BCE. The research will mainly explore the ceramic data sets, but also other indicative archaeological material, and an attempt will be made to position these two regions in the prehistoric network and to detect some micro-regional and regional processes. But above it will explore the character of the data set. Results will be commented on with references to preliminary landscape studies in order to understand what unifies/divides these two regions.

07 December 2021: Philip Mihaylov (Pernik, Bulgaria): Unusual funerary practices in Bulgaria during the 1st millennium BCE.

The primary objective of this lecture is to share several seldom encountered or described funerary practices. By the town of Letnitsa a pit burial of a child was excavated. On top of the skull was found a quern, conceivably the cause of death. Several meters away was found a second pit – with three vessels filled with grains – perhaps a ‘grain offering’ associated with the burial?
In Western Bulgaria, during the excavations of two necropolises – Dren-Delyan and Vrabcha, we encountered different extraordinary practices. One involved the scattering of cremated and unburnt human bones and artefacts below, between, and over, heaped stone. The other featured intentionally cut human lower limbs under/over small stone mounds. Possibly, the two rites were connected. Both might be associated with the characteristic to the Thracian aristocracy rituals of immortalization. With the famed dismemberments of Orpheus, and Osiris… But were they?

18 January 2022: Nicole Mittermair (Vienna, Austria): Bronze Age alloying practices and traditions in the Balkans.

The presentation covers the chemical analysis of Bronze Age copper-based objects from the Balkan region and the interpretation of results in archaeological contexts to reconstruct development and changes of alloying habits. From early metallurgical evidence in the Chalcolithic onward continuous innovations grew more complex in respect of raw material extraction, processing and metal production until a significant upswing in metallurgical activity was reached in the Bronze Age (2nd millennium BC). The aim of this study is to contextualise newly generated trace and minor elemental data together with the archaeological and chronological information within broader cultural-historical frameworks. The central interest lies in the reconstruction of deliberate choices and establishment of metallurgical practices within prehistoric, local bronze production peculiarities and adaption of technological innovations rather than reconstruction of raw material origins.

01 February 2022: Tobias Krapf (Athens, Greece): Connecting stratigraphies in the SW Balkans: The Middle Bronze to Early Iron Age Pottery Sequence of Sovjan in SE Albania.  

The Korçë district in SE Albania became from the 1960ies onwards a major center of prehistoric research. It occupies an important geographic position at the junction of the three modern countries of Albania, Greece and North Macedonia and lies close to the watershed between the Adriatic and the Aegean, showing influences and contacts in both directions. Albanian and French archaeologists excavated there from 1990 to 2006 the prehistoric lakeside settlement of Sovjan, which has one of the most complete stratigraphic sequences of the SW Balkans, covering mainly the period from the second half of the 3rd mill. to the 8th c. BCE. Now, the region reclaims its importance in prehistoric research with Frano Prendi’s long awaited post-mortem publication of the Maliq excavation in 2018 and the completion of the manuscript of the stratigraphic volume of Sovjan by the French-Albanian team. Furthermore, after the study of the EBA pottery of Sovjan (published by Maja Gori), the documentation and evaluation of the MBA to EIA material has been completed as well. In this paper, the pottery sequence of the seven layers of Sovjan ranging from the beginning of the MBA to the EIA will be presented. In parallel, the different influences and contacts will be traced and the synchronization with other sites of the SW Balkans established. This allows reaching more general conclusions about the sociocultural developments in the wider region. It turns out that influences from all directions reached the Korçë plain, but that their importance shifted over time. The transition of the LBA to the EIA was a period of most intense contacts, providing the best opportunity for secure synchronizations. Combining these results with new research on dendrochronology linked with C14 dates, Sovjan can provide a precise and useful chronological reference for the wider region.

01 March 2022: Kriledjan Çipa (Vlora, Albania): New evidence on late prehistoric burial practices from southwestern Albania: the case of the tumuli near Himarë. (preliminary results of a rescue excavation project)



Please feel free to join PeBA Online Lectures on Balkan Archaeology