Surface collection in ploughed fields outside Szeghalom-Kovácshalom (Photo credit: W. Parkinson).

Tell formation on the Great Hungarian Plain occurred first during the Neolithic and Copper Age, and second during the Bronze Age. Led by Bill Parkinson, Attila Gyucha, Richard Yerkes, and Apostolos Sarris, the Körös Regional Archaeology Project has been studying the tribal dynamics of Neolithic and Copper Age societies in the region since 1999. I have been participating in this phase of research as a Field Director and Spatial Analyst since spring of 2010. The most recent phase of the investigation centers on a comparison of two tell sites contemporary during the Neolithic – Szeghalom-Kovácshalom and Vésztő-Mágor. Surface collection, magnetometer survey, excavation and sediment cores are being used to identify the local and regional determinants of population aggregation and tell formation. To see a fabulous VR reconstruction of the site put together by Arpi Zohrabyan Avetyan and others at the Laboratory of Geophysical – Satellite Remote Sensing & Archaeo-environment Foundation for Research & Technology, Hellas, click here:


Although the focus predates my Bronze Age research by over 3000 years, our current estimates suggest the hydrology of the region was fairly stable during the Holocene. The process of large village emergence and tell formation may have therefore been primarily due to social forces that occurred in both the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. At Vésztő-Mágor, a tell with eight meters of deposit from the Neolithic to the Middle Bronze Age, we’ll have an opportunity to compare environmental conditions between these periods and study differences in animal husbandry strategies and trade over time. This collaboration between specialists working on the Neolithic, Copper Age and Bronze Age in the Körös region is an unprecedented opportunity to provide detailed accounts of social processes occurring, and potentially and re-occurring, over thousands of years.

3D view of ceramic density grid overlaying topography at Szeghalom-Kovacshalom. The densest values are on the tell, but Neolithic occupation is found all around the Neolithic mound on both sides of the prehistoric meander (Image credit: P. Duffy).