MK-Projekt – Emergence of social complexity

logo_anr_mk-projekt.jpgThe UMR Trajectoires was the initiator, with Jean-Paul Demoule, of the MK-Projekt.

The MK-Projekt is a Franco-German programme (2010-2014), co-funded by the ANR (Agence Nationale de la Recherche) and the DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft). It is supported by the UMR 8215-Trajectoires (CNRS, Université Paris 1-Panthéon-Sorbonne, INRAP), the DAI (Deutsches Archäologische Institut), the RGZM (University and Museum of Mainz) and the Landesamt für Denkmalpflege und Archäologie Sachsen-Anhalt.
General aims: From material culture to spatial structuring: monumental enclosures, exploited resources and territoriality in the Neolithic period The MK-Projekt aims to study a key period of history, around 4500 BC, marked by the emergence of important economic, social, technical and cultural transformations in agricultural societies. The most striking feature is undoubtedly the appearance of large sites in the landscape surrounded by complex systems of ditches and palisades. More generally, we observe an intensive exploitation of natural resources, rock, flint, salt, etc., while signs of social differentiation are clearly evident. The programme focuses in particular on the causes, forms and consequences of these early mechanisms of social complexity in north-western Europe. The Michelsberg Culture (MK), which extends between 4200 and 3600 B.C. from Normandy in the west to Saxony-Anhalt in the northeast, straddling France and Germany, was chosen as it has yielded abundant archaeological data, which have not yet been comprehensively processed. In addition, there is a long tradition of Franco-German scientific collaboration, on this topic, offering the possibility of methodological exchanges.

The database of Middle Neolithic sites associated with the project is available online: