Un)familiar and (un)comfortable – the Deep History of Europe


Oratie uitgesproken door Prof.dr. D.R. Fontijn bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van hoogleraar op het gebied van Archaeology of Early Europe aan de Universiteit Leiden op vrijdag 18 maart 2016 The answer to the question why Europe has become so important in world history, is often looked for in its past. One epoch that is often seen as quintessential for that development is the Bronze Age (c. 2300-800 BC), the period that in which Pan-European contact networks emerged and that saw the rise of an admirable and efficient economy based on large-scale bronze circulation and recycling. It is also the time that cultural landscapes came into existence that have some ‘familiarity’ to those of later periods. Ancient DNA research also seems to indicate that modern ‘Europeans’ are genetically linked to the people who came to inhabit Europe in the Bronze Age. But archaeology at the same time also shows us that this ‘familiar’ past has several ‘unfamiliar’ aspects, and that it does not lend itself to self-glorification of modern Europe. Rather, it seems to be past that can be unpleasant, uncomfortable, but nevertheless still a past that informs us about human societies as they were in the past – and thus – about us living in the present.    Economies of Destructio

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