Main Research Topics

Emergence and Spread of the Early Farming Societies: The Process of Neolithisation in the Carpathian Basin (6th to 5th Millennium BC)

The multifaceted research of the region’s Neolithic sites, defined as representing the link between South-East and Central Europe, has since long been regarded as a priority research area for the Institute of Archaeology.

The main issues in this field of research address one of the fundamental turning points of human history: the emergence and spread of food-producing farming communities and of sedentismthat simultaneously entailed radical changes in material culture and social organisation, as well as the interaction between human communities and the environment.

The integration of data sets from previous fieldwork and more recent excavations, alongside the results of small-area surveys enables a new level of modelling of the era. The ongoing research projects also serve as a methodological experiment with the aim of harmonising previous models of settlement patterns with the results of the current, constantly evolving research areas such as absolute chronology and archaeogenetics. Past and current research project are conducted through a series of national and international collaborative networks funded by various research grants (DFG, ERC, NRDI).

The implications of a better understanding of the mobility and social organisation of early farming communities are also addressed in the research on mortuary practices and human bioarchaeology. With a regional approach, the dynamics of the settlement system, its role in the neolithisation of Central Europe, its subsequent development, and its connections to both Central Europe and more southerly regions can be demonstrated in the long-term trajectories of roughly a millennium.

Funding of the research

NKFI K-19/132663: Transforming traditions of material culture. Spatial and temporal patterns in pottery style, production and use during the second half of the 6th millennium cal BC in SE-Transdanubia and beyond (2020–2024)  — PI: Tibor Marton

János Bolyai Research Fellowship: Architecture and Society in the Western Carpathian Basin in the First Half of the 5th Millennium BC (2020–2022, 2024–)  — PI: Anett Osztás

Socio-Economic Strategies of Late Copper Age and Bronze Age Societies in the Carpathian Basin (4th to 2nd Millennium BC)

The springboard for this research topic is the complex investigation of the socio-economic transformations in the Late Copper Age and the Bronze Age. This period marks an important milestone in the evolution of political institutions, in the developmental trajectory from socially barely differentiated egalitarian communities to the earliest states, as this era saw the emergence of chiefdom societies. It is also the period when the genetic make-up of modern Europe evolved. One of the greatest challenges of 21st-century research is the storage, interpretation, and dissemination of large and complex scientific datasets (big data). As a response to these new disciplinary challenges, the Lendület “Momentum” BASES Research Group (2023–2028) was established to continue the previous successful Lendület “Momentum” Mobility research project (2015–2022). The goal is to expand the already existing archaeological, bioarchaeological, archaeometric, chronological, and settlement network data from this period. New information will be stored in a digital repository (DAAH by IA, see below), making it possible for datasets to be analysed and interpreted in new and innovative ways. These investigations will involve the handling, processing, and modelling of large and complex datasets while exploring poorly understood areas and issues of research. This new research concept will be able to provide a stable foundation for a new synergy of both the domestic and the Central European archaeological disciplines and can potentially lead to the development and implementation of an international research project (ERC) in the future.

Funding of the research

MTA–BTK Lendület “Momentum” BASES Research Group: Bronze Age Socio-Economic Strategies in the Middle Danube Region: a Digital Database (2500–1500 BC) (2023–2028)  — PI: Viktória Kiss

MTA NKM grant: Beyond Borders: Exploring Bronze Age Connections Between the Czech Republic and Western Hungary (2024–2025) — PI: Viktória Kiss

About the program on the project's website

NKFI K-146290: Changes in Life and Death. Bronze Age Communities in Tiszafüred (2024–2028) — PI: Klára P. Fischl 

About the program on the Institute's website  and on 

NKFIH MEC_21 141 321: Őskori erődített települések Közép-Magyarországon (Pest megye)/Prehistoric fortified settlements in Central Hungary (Pest county) (2022–2024)  — PI: Gabriella Kulcsár 

ERC The Yamnaya Impact on Prehistoric Europe (2019–2024) — PI: Volker Heyd, University of Helsinki; Participant: Gabriella Kulcsár

UMO-2020/37/B/HS3/02561: OPUS (37 edition), Poland (2021–2025) — Co-PI: Gabriella Kulcsár