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    The Milky Way: Mobility and Economy at the Turn of the 3rd Millennium in Southern Central Europe

    Dunne, Julie, Szilágyi, Márton, Casanova, Emmanuelle, Griffiths, Seren ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5168-9897, Knowles, Timothy TJ, Evershed, Richard P. and Hofmann, Daniela (2023) The Milky Way: Mobility and Economy at the Turn of the 3rd Millennium in Southern Central Europe. Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society. pp. 1-28. ISSN 0079-497X

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    In the light of discussions surrounding the social changes attributed to the arrival of the Corded Ware culture in central Europe, here we investigate the economic strategies of one of the cultural complexes of the immediately preceding Late Neolithic. The Cham culture of southern Bavaria is characterised by a variety of economic choices but problems remain in synthesising and combining archaeozoological and archaeobotanical evidence. Using lipid residue analysis from Cham culture pottery excavated at the unenclosed settlement of Riedling, Lower Bavaria, we succeed in identifying a dairying economy at this time. Compound-specific lipid radiocarbon dates are then combined with other samples to provide a formal estimate for the duration of activity at Riedling and the first Bayesian chronological model for the Cham culture as a whole. Although data are currently not fine-grained enough to distinguish between competing models for site permanence, we suggest that the Cham culture pattern fits into a wider central European trend of greater mobility and economic flexibility in the pre-Corded Ware horizon, concluding that key economic strategies previously associated with ‘steppe invasions’ were already present in the preceding centuries. Finally, the demonstrated use of cups for milk-based products, as opposed to alcoholic drinks as previously suggested, leads us to propose possible alternative uses and users for these items.

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