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5 A graphical site-typological analysis of the Michelsberg sites

5.1 Résumé of the archaeological goal

To recap, the archaeological problem in the core region of Venray is the desire to obtain insight into the changes in the food economy in the Mesolithic and Neolithic period. We assumed that the various types of settlement, as one of the aspects of the exploitation system of these hunter/gatherers and early farmers, are an expression of that food economy. By investigating whether there are various types of settlement and, if so, what they are and in which period, we intend to begin to understand the Neolithization process in the south-east of the Netherlands.

This regional investigation, using surface sites almost exclusively, is faced with data that are by no means of the quality usual in excavations, due to post-depositional and research factors. In spite of all our efforts, the data are incomplete and randomly distorted. This problem, characteristic for all regional archaeological investigations, cannot be solved, but requires an approach essentially different from analysing excavation data. In the Meuse Valley Project we have used an approach that:

  1. reduces the data to a lower level of measurement (progressive ordinal classes) than the recorded counts of artefact types per site.
  2. uses in particular graphic analytical techniques to obtain insight into the structure of the data.

By adapting these two approaches we hope to have achieved a good harmony between the limited quality of the data and the type of archaeological conclusions. We accept that in consequence, the research results will be different in nature from what is usual from excavations. The results will be more indicative and intuitive, hence statistically less verifiable.


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Last updated: Wed Feb 25 1998