Book Series Warsaw Studies in Archaeology, vol. 6

Numbers, Measures, and the Transfer of Goods in Prehistory

Philippe Della Casa, Aleksander Dzbyński (eds)

  • Pages: approx. 150 p.
  • Size:216 x 280 mm
  • Illustrations:10 b/w, 31 col., 5 tables b/w.
  • Language(s):English
  • Publication Year:2024

  • ISBN: 978-2-503-61068-9
  • Paperback
  • Forthcoming (Sep/24)



Philippe Della Casa (University of Zurich) and Aleksander Dzbyński (University of Warsaw and Zurich)


Numbers, weights, and measurements, and the systems underpinning them, have always been a fundamental part of human society. Developed at different ways and at different times, such systems have provided a foundation for science, technology, economy, and new ways of engaging with and understanding the world. This volume aims to explore the background to numbers and measurements in more detail by drawing together specialists from a growing field of research. The contributions gathered here offer new and interdisciplinary insights into how the development of mathematical ideas and systems evolved, early metrological systems, the exchange of goods and their impact, the standardization of measuring tools, and the impact of such concepts. This unique volume is deliberately set broad, both geographically and chronologically, in order to compare and contrast changes over time and between peoples, and in doing so it sheds new light on the social and scientific developments among both prehistoric and early historic societies.


List of Illustrations

Aleksander Dzbynìski (University of Warsaw) and Philippe Della Casa (University of Zurich)

1. How to Open the Gift Box? Archaeology and the Transfer of Goods
Christophe Darmangeat (University of Paris)

2. Between East and West. The Measurement of Linearity as the Forerunner of Weighing
Aleksander Dzbynìski (University of Warsaw)

3. Feasting and Burial Rites in Pre-Hispanic Honduras. Comparing Archaeological and Ethnographic Evidence
Franziska Fecher (University of Zurich)

4. Development and Functioning of Numeral Systems
Jadranka Gvozdanovicì (University of Heidelberg)

5. Some Further Thoughts on Commodity and Gift Exchange in Tribal Societies
Jürg Helbling (University of Lucerne) 

6. The Early Bronze Age Rib Ingot Hoard from Oberding (Upper Bavaria)
Sabrina Kutscher (University of München)

7. Numbers and Measures in the Iberian Peninsula during the Iron Age. Evidence from the Archaeological and Textual Records
Thibaud Poigt and Coline Riuz Darasse (University of Bordeaux)

8. Highly Composite Numbers and the Early Use of Weights
Lorenz Rahmstorf (University of Göttingen)

9. The Functions of Number in Early Greek Text
Richard Seaford (University of Exeter)