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Martini, S. J.; Athanassov, B.; Frangipane, M.; Rassmann, K.; Stockhammer, Philipp W. ORCID: 0000-0003-4702-9372; Dreibrodt, S. (2019): A budgeting approach for estimating matter fluxes in archaeosediments, a new method to infer site formation and settlement activity: Examples from a transect of multi-layered Bronze Age settlement mounds. In: Journal of Archaeological Science-Reports, Vol. 26, 101916
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In this paper a novel approach for quantifying matter fluxes into archaeological sites is presented. Using the case studies of two multilayered sites with occupations before, during, and after the Bronze Age (Arslantepe and Niederroblingen), one Bronze Age multilayered site (Fidvar by Vroble), and a trash deposit from a fourth (Bresto), the potential of this method for investigating behavior and settlement activity of prehistoric inhabitants is illustrated. The results are generally in line with archaeological expectations considering the type of compared sites (different sized villages and towns/regional centers). Three examples of using this method for understanding site formation (sedimentation rates), changes in settlement activity, and paleodemography are provided for a discussion of the interpretive possibilities of matter fluxes. Although no cross-regional cultural changes specifically related to the Bronze Age can yet be identified, this quantification allows a better understanding of individual site development, i.e. in the increasing substitution of wood by loam in architecture at Niederroblingen from the Middle Bronze Age onwards. The pattern of calculated population sizes again fits archaeological expectations and is of the same order of magnitude as previously published population estimations based on other methods. At Arslantepe, the unique character of the Chalcolithic "palace period" is underlined by the very low number of inhabitants, suggesting that occupation of the tell during this period may have been restricted and a focus placed on administrative and ritual activities. Besides the illustrated potentials, limitations of the outlined approach are also considered.