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Mobility in the Mountains: Late Third and Second Millennia Alpine Societies’ Engagements with the High-Altitude Zones in the Southern French Alps

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Publication details

JournalEuropean Journal of Archaeology
DatePublished - 1 Sep 2011
Issue number1 - 2
Number of pages27
Pages (from-to)88-115
Original languageEnglish


The assessment of the important changes that occurred in late third and second millennia societies across Europe
often emphasizes changes in technology and the emergence of associated objects and art forms, changes in burial
rites, and developments in economic practices. Notions relating to the evolution of homo economicus dominate
many of the discourses, and the evidence for increased long-distance trade / contact across Europe is used to bolster
this assessment. These themes are underpinned by an obsession with ever-refined chrono-typological phases. In
an attempt to present a more socially embedded perspective, this paper considers the changes that occurred in the
uses of the high-altitude, sub-alpine, and alpine zones in the southern French Alps during the third and second
millennia BC. From c. 2500 BC onwards, there was a fundamental change in the use of and engagement with
this landscape. The first substantial stone-built pastoral structures at high altitude (2000 m and above), appear
at this time. This departure in the use and structuring of the alpine space would have included concomitant
changes in the nature of mobility, notions of territory, and memories associated with this area.

    Research areas

  • Alps, archaeology, France, Bronze Age

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