In the framework of the long-standing debate on the cultural history and lately on the structure of Late Bronze Age economy and ritual behaviour, the project aims to investigate the structure and function of intentional manipulation of material culture. Based on modern anthropological methodologies of interpretation artefacts are being observed through a perspective of a biographical method. A large part of the research is dedicated to integrated analysis and interpretation of archaeological finds from settlement deposits, hoards and graves. Artefacts and contexts of their depositions are being interpreted as symbols used in complex processes of communication – as units of information enabling us to decipher and interpret their meaning in the cultural processes of production, manipulation and deposition of the material culture of the Urnfield culture.
With this perspective the material culture of Eastern Slovenia will be addressed in a new and holistic approach – the interpretations of intensively ritually manipulated items such as bronzes in hoards and graves will be supplemented with the information on the level of manipulation with pottery. Based on the contexts of discovery we will be able to observe different intensities of manipulations with pottery, we will be able to observe how the meaning of the same types of pottery became laden with meaning in different, less (settlements), medium (graves) and intensively (pottery hoards) ritually manipulated, contexts. The project represents an important step in the further development of the previous research in the area and involves the progress of numerous different skills and scientific competences of the project team - from the analysis of major Bronze Age sites in a broader region, the interpretation of archaeological contexts, the detailed knowledge of archaeological materials, new approaches to a chemical analysis of finds, development of strong competencies in research focused on material culture manipulation and the interpretation of ritual behaviour.