Archaeological recognition of slavery


  • Václav Hrnčíř Katedra archeologie, Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Hradec Králové, Rokitanského 62, CZ-500 03 Hradec Králové
  • Petr Květina Archeologický ústav AV ČR, Praha, v. v. i., Letenská 4, CZ-118 01 Praha 1



slavery, cross-cultural research, metallurgy, mining


This article aims to contribute towards the discussion of the existence of slavery in the past and present possibilities of its archaeological recognition. The principal method applied is the cross-cultural research – comparative analysis of ethnographic data, for which a sample of 186 world cultures was selected (the so-called Standard Cross-Cultural Sample). Essentially, this method involves search for correlations between slavery and a specific group of cultural indicators. Results showed connection between slavery and anticipated and known domains (such as warfare, polygyny, social and political integration), but also its relationship with metallurgy, which may be considered an innovative discovery. The text attempts to validate this relationship. The final interpretation is based on the proven fact of slaves’ exploitation during different phases of metal production operational chain, above all raw material extraction.


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How to Cite

Hrnčíř, V., & Květina, P. (2016). Archaeological recognition of slavery. Archeologické Rozhledy, 68(4), 431–476.



Research Article

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