Mediterranean elites through their gold deposits:restrainedly furnished graves and treasures of the 4 th – 9 th century AD

In the Mediterranean research traditions, archaeologists have tended to approach the phenomenon of the self-representation of Late Antique and Early Medieval elite groups exclusively from an architectonic and artistic point of view. Thus, important aspects such as the visual appearance and the “small”, portable status symbols have been researched very seldom in a comprehensive and systematic way. Once handled accurately, the Mediterranean finds may enable to refine our understanding on a number of European-wide significant topics, such as the evolution of wealthy costume and fashion flows, social stratification and purchasing power issues and to reconstruct the multi-layered self-representation mechanisms and the elites’ communication networks of that time.