Studies of the wide range of chalcolithic burials in the Kodžadermen-Gumelniţa-Karanovo VI-complexes have always enjoyed a lot of scholarly attention. The curiosity about the amazing finds from the nearby Durankulak and Varna cemeteries, have further sparked interest. Although the PhD study includes a larger scope of interest, eventually including all cemeteries between the Tisza river and the Black Sea coast in the period approx. 4800/4750 calBC to 3800/3750 calBC , this lecture will present only a small part of the thesis, focusing on a comparison of cemeteries in north-eastern Bulgaria and southern Romania. The similarity of burial types encountered in both, the Bulgarian Kodžadermen-group and the Romanian Gumelniţa-group, with the majority of the burials found in contracted position to the east, have led to attempts to interpret burial practices of these groups treated as a homogeneous block, and may therefore have marginalized the extant of regional differences present among these groups.

In order to allow a distinct approach to the question, whether or not Kodžadermen and Gumelniţa burial sites can be viewed as a homogeneous group sharing similar conventions in regard to the inequality of burials, this investigation is set within a stringent theoretical and methodological framework, based on sociological concepts, employing analyzing techniques deduced from economical sciences.

Recent sociological works emphasize that the individual´s range of possible actions are instrumental for the social structure and thus this “agency “poses a problem for quantification. However, they also stress that the individual too, is characterized by its socialization within certain areas of the society in such a way that only limited ranges of action and thought can be reasonably considered by them. Therefore, the product of repeated individual´s actions, may generate a recurring pattern, and thus allows interpretations to be attempted on distinctive social subareas, among these are the social institutions governing the burial practices of the society. Consequently, it may be possible to subject the material expressions present in the burials to a distribution analysis with the perspective to explore the depositional patterns, including the distributional inequality and preference in deposition context.

This approach touches the question of how data are treated in general, and in particular, how normalization of data is to be attempted. Because the symbolic value of specific objects represents an unknown quality to us, this study does not intend to assess objects with artificial or predetermined values derived from subjective considerations. Instead, the variances present in plurality, diversity and exclusivity are utilized; aspects of the archaeological record which can be readily quantified. Further, a new normalization is suggested to address specific problems present in the data structure of burial analysis. The results will finally be subject to a subsequent inequality analysis to expose regional differences and to discuss the patterns between different sites using concentration measures such as Lorenz curves and Gini Indices.