Most material culture of later prehistoric Europe comprises common forms of pottery, personal ornaments, and tools of different kinds. But some objects stand out by virtue of their unique decoration. These special objects were often ornamented with motifs and patterns that were intended to capture and hold the viewer's attention. Many such objects were purposefully deposited, sometimes in graves, sometimes in 'structured deposits'. In the Early and Middle Bronze Age, ornate cups played special roles, both in expressing the status of elites and in serving as common elements in long-distance connections between elites in different regions of Europe. An unusual pit at Kelheim in Bavaria, Germany, serves as a case study to explore the connections between uniquely decorated cups, the emergence of elites during the Early and Middle Bronze Age, and the formation and maintenance of long-distance connections between communities throughout Europe.
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