Romanian History and Culture

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The Danubian Culture or the Old European Culture

 Danube, The Iron Gates _Gate_Danube.jpg

Danube Delta

 Danube Delta, Daniel Petrescu photo at:

 Before Sumer, Crete or the Maltese civilization, there was “Old Europe”, or the Turdash-Vinca culture… a forgotten, rather than lost civilization that lies at the true origin of most of our ancient civilizations. Philip Coppens

Harald Haarmann Danube civilization SUBTITRAT IN ROMANA at: mCzHl1IGJjc

 Old European cultures - Definition

Even before the Indo-European migration, that began around 4000 BC, several cultures had already appeared in Europe, particularly in the Carpathian and Balkan surrounding area. These are known collectively as Old European cultures: Linear Ceramic culture; Starcevo-Cris culture; Precucuteni culture;
Cucuteni Trypillia culture; Vadastra culture; Vinca Turdash culture; Gumelnita Culture; Dudesti culture; Salcuta culture 

Table of Contents-Cuprins:   

A Lost European Culture, Pulled from Obscurity (Exhibit New York and all)

Neolithic Settlement Excavation and Survey

Compare it with Sumer-Mesopotamia

Turdash Vinca Culture

Vadastra Culture

Gumelnitza Culture, (The Lovers, Indragostitii)

Hamangia Culture

Oldest Gold Treasure in the World Varna Necropolis

Cucuteni-Trypillia Culture

 Asemanari dintre cultura Cucuteni si cultura chineza Yangshao

The World Oldest Wooden Wheel Found in Slovenia and Cucuteni Cow-on Wheels Toy

Religion and Ritual of the Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture 

Trypillian Culture

Cucuteni and Gumelnita Culture site at Cotatcu, Valea Morilor, Buzau, 6,000 BC

Linear Pottery Culture

Cernavoda Culture

Starcevo-Koros-Cris Culture

Mezolithic at Schela Cladovei, Mehedinti, and Lepenski Vir,8,000 BC


The Hungarian Point of View

 Venus de la Sint Petru German


A Lost European Culture, Pulled from Obscurity


 New Exhibit at the New York University Museum

A Lost European Culture, Pulled From Obscurity


Published: November 30, 2009

Before the glory that was Greece and Rome, even before the first cities of Mesopotamia or temples along the Nile, there lived in the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan and Carpathian foothills people who were ahead of their time in art, technology and long-distance trade. Rumyana Kostadinova Ivanova and Marius Amarie

LIVING SPACE Artifacts from the Lower Danube Valley and the Balkan foothills are presented in an exhibition, “The Lost World of Old Europe,” at New York University’s Institute for the Study of the Ancient World. More Photos »

This Image

Hamangia, Vinca, Cucuteni, Gumelniţa (5500-3500BC).
WOMEN IN SOCIETY A fired clay Cucuteni figurine, from 4050-3900 B.C. More Photos >



 Maternity, Vinca culture, 5,000 BC

MINA C. n° 39487 ;  L= 8,5 cm

 Harsova, (Gumelnita Culture) The Chalcolitic Village- 6,000 yers old whistle in working condition at:



Spondylus artifacts in the Carpathian land at: 

The Institute for the Study of the Ancient World will present a series of public programs, accompanying The Lost World of Old Europe exhibition with the goal of furthering the understanding and appreciation of Romanian, Bulgarian and Moldovan culture. Public programs will include a Romanian Film Series, music nights, a scholarly lecture series, which will further elucidate topics explored in the exhibition and public tours.

For 1,500 years, starting earlier than 5000 B.C., they farmed and built sizable towns, a few with as many as 2,000 dwellings. They mastered large-scale copper smelting, the new technology of the age. Their graves held an impressive array of exquisite headdresses and necklaces and, in one cemetery, the earliest major assemblage of gold artifacts to be found anywhere in the world.

The striking designs of their pottery speak of the refinement of the culture’s visual language. Until recent discoveries, the most intriguing artifacts were the ubiquitous terracotta “goddess” figurines, originally interpreted as evidence of the spiritual and political power of women in society. New research, archaeologists and historians say, has broadened understanding of this long overlooked culture, which seemed to have approached the threshold of “civilization” status. Writing had yet to be invented, and so no one knows what the people called themselves. To some scholars, the people and the region are simply Old Europe. The little-known culture is being rescued from obscurity in an exhibition, “The Lost World of Old Europe: the Danube Valley, 5000-3500 B.C.,” which opened last month at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World at New York University. More than 250 artifacts from museums in Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania are on display for the first time in the United States. The show will run through April 25.

At its peak, around 4500 B.C., said David W. Anthony, the exhibition’s guest curator, “Old Europe was among the most sophisticated and technologically advanced places in the world” and was developing “many of the political, technological and ideological signs of civilization.” Dr. Anthony is a professor of anthropology at Hartwick College in Oneonta, N.Y., and author of “The Horse, the Wheel, and Language: How Bronze-Age Riders from the Eurasian Steppes Shaped the Modern World.” Historians suggest that the arrival in southeastern Europe of people from the steppes may have contributed to the collapse of the Old Europe culture by 3500 B.C. At the exhibition preview, Roger S. Bagnall, director of the institute, confessed that until now “a great many archaeologists had not heard of these Old Europe cultures.” Admiring the colorful ceramics, Dr. Bagnall, a specialist in Egyptian archaeology, remarked that at the time “Egyptians were certainly not making pottery like this.”

A show catalog, published by Princeton University Press, is the first compendium in English of research on Old Europe discoveries. The book, edited by Dr. Anthony, with Jennifer Y. Chi, the institute’s associate director for exhibitions, includes essays by experts from Britain, France, Germany, the United States and the countries where the culture existed. Dr. Chi said the exhibition reflected the institute’s interest in studying the relationships of well-known cultures and the “underappreciated ones.”

Although excavations over the last century uncovered traces of ancient settlements and the goddess figurines, it was not until local archaeologists in 1972 discovered a large fifth-millennium B.C. cemetery at Varna, Bulgaria, that they began to suspect these were not poor people living in unstructured egalitarian societies. Even then, confined in cold war isolation behind the Iron Curtain, Bulgarians and Romanians were unable to spread their knowledge to the West. The story now emerging is of pioneer farmers after about 6200 B.C. moving north into Old Europe from Greece and Macedonia, bringing wheat and barley seeds and domesticated cattle and sheep. They established colonies along the Black Sea and in the river plains and hills, and these evolved into related but somewhat distinct cultures, archaeologists have learned. The settlements maintained close contact through networks of trade in copper and gold and also shared patterns of ceramics.

The Spondylus shell from the Aegean Sea was a special item of trade. Perhaps the shells, used in pendants and bracelets, were symbols of their Aegean ancestors. Other scholars view such long-distance acquisitions as being motivated in part by ideology in which goods are not commodities in the modern sense but rather “valuables,” symbols of status and recognition. Noting the diffusion of these shells at this time, Michel Louis Seferiades, an anthropologist at the National Center for Scientific Research in France, suspects “the objects were part of a halo of mysteries, an ensemble of beliefs and myths.”

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In any event, Dr. Seferiades wrote in the exhibition catalog that the prevalence of the shells suggested the culture had links to “a network of access routes and a social framework of elaborate exchange systems — including bartering, gift exchange and reciprocity.”

Artifacts From Old Europe

Over a wide area of what is now Bulgaria and Romania, the people settled into villages of single- and multiroom houses crowded inside palisades. The houses, some with two stories, were framed in wood with clay-plaster walls and beaten-earth floors. For some reason, the people liked making fired clay models of multilevel dwellings, examples of which are exhibited.
A few towns of the Cucuteni people, a later and apparently robust culture in the north of Old Europe, grew to more than 800 acres, which archaeologists consider larger than any other known human settlements at the time. But excavations have yet to turn up definitive evidence of palaces, temples or large civic buildings. Archaeologists concluded that rituals of belief seemed to be practiced in the homes, where cultic artifacts have been found. The household pottery decorated in diverse, complex styles suggested the practice of elaborate at-home dining rituals. Huge serving bowls on stands were typical of the culture’s “socializing of food presentation,” Dr. Chi said.

At first, the absence of elite architecture led scholars to assume that Old Europe had little or no hierarchical power structure. This was dispelled by the graves in the Varna cemetery. For two decades after 1972, archaeologists found 310 graves dated to about 4500 B.C. Dr. Anthony said this was “the best evidence for the existence of a clearly distinct upper social and political rank.”

Vladimir Slavchev, a curator at the Varna Regional Museum of History, said the “richness and variety of the Varna grave gifts was a surprise,” even to the Bulgarian archaeologist Ivan Ivanov, who directed the discoveries. “Varna is the oldest cemetery yet found where humans were buried with golden ornaments,” Dr. Slavchev said. More than 3,000 pieces of gold were found in 62 of the graves, along with copper weapons and tools, and ornaments, necklaces and bracelets of the prized Aegean shells. “The concentration of imported prestige objects in a distinct minority of graves suggest that institutionalized higher ranks did exist,” exhibition curators noted in a text panel accompanying the Varna gold.

Yet it is puzzling that the elite seemed not to indulge in private lives of excess. “The people who donned gold costumes for public events while they were alive,” Dr. Anthony wrote, “went home to fairly ordinary houses.”

Copper, not gold, may have been the main source of Old Europe’s economic success, Dr. Anthony said. As copper smelting developed about 5400 B.C., the Old Europe cultures tapped abundant ores in Bulgaria and what is now Serbia and learned the high-heat technique of extracting pure metallic copper.Smelted copper, cast as axes, hammered into knife blades and coiled in bracelets, became valuable exports. Old Europe copper pieces have been found in graves along the Volga River, 1,200 miles east of Bulgaria. Archaeologists have recovered more than five tons of pieces from Old Europe sites.

An entire gallery is devoted to the figurines, the more familiar and provocative of the culture’s treasures. They have been found in virtually every Old Europe culture and in several contexts: in graves, house shrines and other possibly “religious spaces.”

One of the best known is the fired clay figure of a seated man, his shoulders bent and hands to his face in apparent contemplation. Called the “Thinker,” the piece and a comparable female figurine were found in a cemetery of the Hamangia culture, in Romania. Were they thinking, or mourning? Many of the figurines represent women in stylized abstraction, with truncated or elongated bodies and heaping breasts and expansive hips. The explicit sexuality of these figurines invites interpretations relating to earthly and human fertility. An arresting set of 21 small female figurines, seated in a circle, was found at a pre-Cucuteni village site in northeastern Romania. “It is not difficult to imagine,” said Douglass W. Bailey of San Francisco State University, the Old Europe people “arranging sets of seated figurines into one or several groups of miniature activities, perhaps with the smaller figurines at the feet or even on the laps of the larger, seated ones.”

Others imagined the figurines as the “Council of Goddesses.” In her influential books three decades ago, Marija Gimbutas, an anthropologist at the University of California, Los Angeles, offered these and other so-called Venus figurines as representatives of divinities in cults to a Mother Goddess that reigned in prehistoric Europe. Although the late Dr. Gimbutas still has an ardent following, many scholars hew to more conservative, nondivine explanations. The power of the objects, Dr. Bailey said, was not in any specific reference to the divine, but in “a shared understanding of group identity.”

As Dr. Bailey wrote in the exhibition catalog, the figurines should perhaps be defined only in terms of their actual appearance: miniature, representational depictions of the human form. He thus “assumed (as is justified by our knowledge of human evolution) that the ability to make, use and understand symbolic objects such as figurines is an ability that is shared by all modern humans and thus is a capability that connects you, me, Neolithic men, women and children, and the Paleolithic painters in caves.” Or else the “Thinker,” for instance, is the image of you, me, the archaeologists and historians confronted and perplexed by a “lost” culture in southeastern Europe that had quite a go with life back before a single word was written or a wheel turned.

 The Museum of Cycladic Art

Before the establishment of the first cities in Mesopotamia ca. 4500 BC, highly sophisticated societies with advanced technology and complex systems of symbolic representation had emerged in the southeastern part of Europe.

The Neolithic people of the Balkans were the first in Europe to adopt of a new type of economy, based on agriculture and animal breeding. This happened in the 7th millennium BC and marked a radical shift in the way humans interacted with their environment. After a million of years of nomadic life – during which little had changed – people settled in permanent habitations and started developing new skills and modes of social interaction.

Houses became foci of settled life and people started exploring previously unaddressed material and spiritual needs. They replaced their flimsy basket containers with sturdy vases made of clay. They understood the properties of metals creating new, more effective types of tools. They expressed their beliefs through the manufacture of figurines and the elaboration of funerary rituals. And they developed a complex system of exchanges between different communities.

By the 5th millennium BC, the thriving cultures of the Balkans were among the most advanced in the Old World – featuring densely populated settlements, a sophisticated system of social hierarchy, highly symbolic cult rituals, complex long-distance exchange networks, and an amazing copper- and gold-working industry.

By the mid-4th millennium, however, this brilliant world came to an abrupt end. The reasons are not clear: Invasions? Climatic changes? Overexploitation of natural resources? 

  International Tour of the exhibit:

The Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology
Oxford University, England
May 20 - August 15, 2010

Museum of Cycladic Art
Goulandris Foundation
Athens, Greece
September 30, 2010 - January 11, 2011
(dates to be confirmed)

Please note, the dates are subject to change without notice. For more information on the venues please click on the link and you will be navigated to the exhibiting museum's website.

In the media:


"Dr. Jennifer Chi," television broadcast: Sunday Arts, WNET, January 27, 2010.

"The Lost World of Old Europe," radio broadcast: The Leonard Lopate Show, WNYC, January 14, 2010. mp3 and slideshow of objects from the exhibition.

"Ancient Artifacts," television broadcast: Eye on New York, WCBS, 6 December, 2009.

Andrew Moseman, “Advanced, Overlooked Ancient European Culture Arrives in America,” 80beats | Discover Magazine, December 1, 2009.

John Noble Wilford, “A Lost European Culture, Pulled from ObscurityThe New York Times, November 30, 2009.

Michael Balter, “The Lost World of Old Europe: See It in New YorkOrigins: A History of Beginnings (, November 25, 2009.

Christine Lin, “Lost Artifacts of Old Europe Arrive in New York.” Epoch Times, November 13, 2009.


Neolithic Settlement Excavation and Survey

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The roots of Western civilization can be traced to the Neolithic, when people began to domesticate plants and animals and to live in sedentary villages. The first large Neolithic cultural complexes can be found in the Balkans. There, people created a number of innovations, including new architectural styles, expressive figurines and pottery, extensive trade, a diversified subsistence system, and eventually, copper metallurgy. All of these traditions began within the Danube basin, and spread west, into Central Europe, and east, onto the Pontic steppe. The Balkan Neolithic cultural complexes were bounded in the northeast by the Eastern Carpathian Mountains. The only Neolithic complex to bridge these mountains and connect the Balkans to the Pontic steppes was the Cucuteni-Ariusd-Tripolye complex, which stretched from Transylvania in the west to Kiev and the Dnepr River in the east. The Cucuteni-Ariusd-Tripolye sites are famous for their elaborately decorated painted pottery and figurines, recently featured in exhibits in Toronto and New York City.  The people living at these villages made some of the most beautiful pottery seen in prehistoric Europe, and they were also some of the first people in the area to make and exchange metal (copper) artifacts.. 

The Balkans are divided into four major groups:

The east Balkans were dominated by the Gumeliţa culture whose influence spread south into Thrace, and eventually across the Rodopes. This was characterised by graphite painted pottery.

The Cucuteni- Tripolye-Ariuşd cultural group covered Moldavia, southern Ukraine, and east Transylvania. The pottery was decorated in bold multi-coloured geometric designs.

The Lengel culture of Hungary and central Europe was derived from the linear pottery groups and had predominantly mono-chrome painted pottery.

The Sălcuţa-Krivodol-Bubanj group with impressed pottery decoration in the central Balkans.

 Stone Age  Mesolithic Era by Roger Crowley

Carcea Culture
The Carcea Culture is identified by its unique ceramic cups with a white spiral on a red background.

In a paper presented at the 11th Neolithic Seminar (4-7 November 2004) in Ljubljana, Slovenia, titled "Zoo Symbolism and Early Neolithic Portable Art in Romania," Dr. Corneliu Beldiman gave a detailed analysis of a fragment found in 1971 by Dr. Marin Nica. The fragment was uncovered during the excavation of the well-known "Early Neolithic" (which is placed in the Mesolithic here) site from Carcea (southwestern Romania, Dolj County). The site dates to some time around the mid-sixth millennium BC.

The artifact, about 30 mm long, is worked from a red deer antler and is interpreted to be part of a bracelet. It is the earliest zoomorphic representation (stylized herbivore) of chiseled bone found in Romania.

Pre-Cucuteni Culture
The Pre-Cucuteni Culture existed between 7,500 and 3,500 years ago. It is considered by many archaeologists as one of the oldest European cultures. They're descendants of earlier Paleolithic tribes.

Traces of these wanderers can be found in Valea Dirjovului, and in Bugiuleşti, and in the area of the Olt River.

Pronunciation Help
To help American readers, the following pronunciation guide to Romanian words used above is provided. The sounds shown are only approximations, however.

•Bugiuleşti. (Bugiulesti) Boo-jyoo-lesht.
•Carcea. Cahr-cheh-yah.
•Cucuteni. Koo-koo-tayn.
•Dirjovului. Dir-zhoh-voo-lwee.
•Dolj. Dolzh.
•Olt. Ohlt.
•Valea. Vahl-yah.


Compare it with Sumer-Mesopotamia

 Compare it  with Summer-Mesopotamia

Sumer (Sumerian: ������ ki-en-ĝir15 "Land of the Lords of Brightness",[1][2] Akkadian: Šumeru; possibly Biblical Shinar) was a civilization and historical region in southern Mesopotamia, modern Iraq. It is the earliest known civilization in the world and is known as the Cradle of Civilization. The Sumerian civilization spanned over 3000 years[3] and began with the first settlement of Eridu in the Ubaid period (mid 6th millennium BC) through the Uruk period (4th millennium BC) and the Dynastic periods (3rd millennium BC) until the rise of Babylonia in the early 2nd millennium BC. Sumer was the birthplace of writing, the wheel, agriculture, the arch and irrigation.

The cities of Sumer were the first civilization to practice intensive, year-round agriculture, (from ca. 5300 BC). By perhaps 5000 BC, the Sumerians had developed core agricultural techniques including large-scale intensive cultivation of land, mono-cropping, organized irrigation, and the use of a specialized labor force. The surplus of storable food created by this economy allowed the population to settle in one place instead of migrating after crops and grazing land. It also allowed for a much greater population density, and in turn required an extensive labor force and division of labor. This organization led to the development of writing (ca. 3500 BC). 





Vinca exhibition - part one


Prof. Robert E. Whallon_Vinca AID



Turdas-Lunca-Clay Amulet discovered in 1992  (5/1)

 Picture at:

 Picture at: x



In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the archeologist Sofia Torma (1840 – 1899) at Turdash, near Orăştie in Transylvania (Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols.Her research made the site become famous and  the barones von Torma was awarded the title of Doctor Honoris Causa at the University of Cluj. In 1910, Márton Roska made systematic excavations at Turdaş. In 1940, the site was studied by Octavian Floca and Vladimir Dumitrescu and for several years and in the 1960's by Iuliu Paul. In the 1970's and 1980's Florin Draşoveanu, Tiberiu Mariş, Gheorghe Lazarovici, Zoia Kalmar-Maxim (from Romania) and John Nandris (from England) continued the research. Three radiocarbon samples analyzed in the Debrecen laboratory,  give the year 5800 B.P., or 4700–4660 C of B.C. 

Petreşti culture is situated in the Turdaş culture in it’s A–B phase, and the Coţofeni culture is situated in phase C. At the end of the above volume, which represents the first part of the monography dedicated to the new archaeological research from Turdaş, the author tries to realize a comparison between the stratigraphy of the archaeological site of Tărtăria and of some other sites in the valley of the middle stream of the Mures (Turdaş–Luncă, Deva–Tăualaş, Orăştie–Dealul Pemilor, point X2 and Mintia–Gerhat).

  A similar cache was found during excavations conducted in 1908 in Vinča, a suburb of the Serbian city of Belgrade, some 120km from Turdash. Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Thus the culture represented is called the Vinca-Turdash culture, and the script often called the Vinca-Turdash script. The Vinča culture was an early culture of Europe,between the 6th and the 3rd millennium. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, southern Ukraine and other locations in the former Yugoslavia.

 Text at: 

   During the period of the Vinča Culture, houses were erected above ground with complex architectural layouts and several rooms, built of wood that was covered in mud. The houses in the settlement are facing northeast - southwest, with streets between them. Vinča houses had stoves and special holes specifically for rubbish, and the dead were buried in cemeteries. People slept on woolen mats and fur and made clothes of wool, flax and leather. The figurines found not only represent deities but many show the daily life of the inhabitants while crude pottery finds appear to have been made by children. Women are depicted in short tops and miniskirts wearing jewelery. A thermal well found near the settlement might be evidence of Europe's oldest spa.The preliminary dating of a Pločnik metal workshop with a furnace and copper tools to 5,500 BC, if correct, indicates the Copper Age could have started in Europe 500 years or more earlier than previously thought. The sophisticated furnace and smelter featured earthen pipe-like air vents with hundreds of tiny holes in them and a chimney to ensure air goes into the furnace to feed the fire and smoke comes out away from the workers. Copper workshops from later periods thought to indicate the beginning of the Copper Age were less advanced, didn't have chimneys and workers blew air on the fire with bellows. The Neolithic settlers of Vinča ascribed great importance to spiritual life as is reflected by the enormous number of cult objects (figurines, sacrificial dishes, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic dishes). Their artistic and stylistic development was conditioned by the teachings of old settlers, as well as by contacts with neighboring peoples and their beliefs. Anthropomorphic figurines have a characteristic dignified stance and their number (over 1000 examples at Vinča alone) exceeds the total number of figurines discovered in the Greek Aegean. Shrines were discovered in Parṭa Transylvania with complex architectural designs. Some figurines and ceramic dishes discovered in the broad region spanning from Gornja Tuzla to Tǎrtǎria bear signs which some scholars suppose to be primitive forms of writing (see Old European Script). Indeed, if the inscriptions on the Tǎrtǎria tablets are pictograms, as Vlassa argued, they would be the earliest known writing in the world. This claim however remains controversial; most experts consider the Tǎrtǎria finds to be an example of proto-writing rather than a full writing system.

Text and pictures at:

During the middle of the fourth millennium, the entire region of the Vinča Culture underwent stagnation, followed by deep crises and a decline in cultural and economic development. 

   Text and photos at:  




  Ceramic Pottery,Turdash culture Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a Transilvaniei - CLUJ-NAPOCA; The Kiss of Rast ,jud. Dolj, cca 5000 BCE, Romanian  Historical National Museum;   Altar from Parta, Vinca Culture, Muzeul Banatului

 Vlassa N. Sur 1'existence des equides domestiques dans la culture de Vinca – Turdas // Dacia, n. s. XXII.


 Catalhoyuk Conjoint Twins


Ain Ghazal Conjoint twins

Paula Mazăre, University of Alba Iulia, Romania
Limba is one of the largest prehistoric settlements in the Middle Mureș Valley,
intensively inhabited during the Neolithic times by Starčevo-Criș and particularly by Vinča communities (ca. 6200-4700 bc). From the excavations which took place a number of textile impression preserved on pottery fragments were brought to light, the majority found in different Vinča levels.
The study consisted of two complementary stages.

The first one aimed to define the design and construction attributes, to identify the main method of manufacture and the types of patterns from the textile impressions using standard procedures of analysis (positive casts, detailed measurements, visual examination by stereo microscope, photography).

The second one consisted of several experimental tests and aimed to confirm the data recorded at the first stage and to bring to light new evidence regarding manufacturing technology.
Two major construction techniques were identified: weaving and plaiting. We tried
to reproduce the most representative specimens by employing different methods,
tools and raw materials (inspired by previous experimental studies and by
ethnographic data). All experimental textiles were imprinted on slabs of wet clay,
which were afterwards dried and fired so as to compare them with the original
impressions. All data sets were systematically recorded and interpreted.

Mihai Gligor, “1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia, Romania, Viorel Panaitescu, “Mina Minovici” National Institute of Legal Medicine, Bucuresti,Romania, Mariana Rosu, “Mina Minovici” National Institute of Legal Medicine, Bucuresti, Romania
Simona Varvara, “1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia, Romania
A special discovery at the settlement of Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua (Romania) is considered to be the “funeral complex” that is known because of the excavations carried out in 2003 and 2005.
The stratigraphic position allowed the identification in successive sediments of some skull remains out of joint and old bone remains that were not in anatomic connection. Human bone remains (skulls in preponderance) from approximately 100 individuals – among which adult men, women and children may be found – have been discovered in the entire area. A rich ceramic material typical for the Foeni group and a metallic ring made of copper was drawn out associated to the human skeleton-like remains.
The preliminary anthropological research set off the existence of more skulls with a circular bottomed fracture and abrasion zone, most probably resulted from a post-mortem skull manipulation during specific rituals that mark completely new funeral practices from the beginning of the Eneolithic on the present-day territory of Romania.
The relatively low extent of amino acid racemization found in some teeth samples is consistent with moderate to good protein preservation in the fossils from the Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua site.
The AMS-C14 data from Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua is placed in the interval 4690-4450 cal BC, corresponding to a fully accomplished phase from the Foeni group evolution.
The authors gratefully acknowledge the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research for the financial support under the project CEEX no. 36/2006 (subcontract CEX 06-11-25/2006).

Simona Varvara, “1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia, Romania
Mihai Gligor, “1 Decembrie 1918” University, Alba Iulia, Romania
Vasile Benea“Babes-Bolyai” University, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Alida Timar, “Babes-Bolyai” University, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
Sabrina Gulatieri, CNR, Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, Faenza, Italy Constantin Cosma,“Babes-Bolyai” University, 1 Mihail Kogalniceanu, 400084 Cluj-Napoca, Romania Bruno Fabbri, CNR, Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics, Faenza, Italy
The paper presents the results of an integrated archaeological and scientific
investigation on the Neolithic pottery discovered at Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua
settlement on the right bank of the Mures River in Transylvania (Romania), aiming at establishing the production technology of the artefacts and their absolute age by thermoluminescence method (TL).
The pottery fragments were mostly found in close complexes of the pit-houses,
pits and dwelling surface type. Most vessels belong to the black and black-topped
ware. The main shapes are biconical bowls and amphorae; the pedestals have cherryred slip. Painted decoration, applied on the vessels before firing, is made with red, on a reddish or orange background.
The chemical, microstructural and petrographic features of the ceramic bodies
were determined by X-ray fluorescence, X-ray diffraction and optical microscopy,
respectively. The preliminary obtained data were used to make inferences
concerning the pottery’s technology in terms of type of raw clays and firing
The results of TL dating on several pottery fragments lead to an average age of
6000 ± 400 yr, which is in agreement with the archaeological expectations and with the AMS-C14 dating on teeth and charcoal samples from the same close complexes.
The absolute dating results allow improving the chronological framework for
Alba Iulia-Lumea Noua settlement.
The Romanian authors gratefully acknowledge the Romanian Ministry of Education and Research for the financial support under the projects CEEX no. 36/2006 (subcontract CEX 06-11-25/2006) and CEEX no. 749/2006.


Tezaurul de la Moigrad, judetul Sălaj

Descoperit înainte de 1912, se compune din 4 piese, din care una este cel mai mare obiect neolitic din aur descoperit la noi în ţară. Această piesă este realizată prin ciocănire şi decupare din aur nativ. Prima jumătate a Mileniului al IV-lea î. Chr. Muzeul Naţional de Istorie Bucureşti.


DESCOPERIRE FABULOASĂ, la Hundeoara! Ce s-a găsit sub pământ te va pune pe gânduri! DESCOPERIRE FABULOASĂ, la Hundeoara! Ce s-a găsit sub pământ te va pune pe gânduri! Oraș din România mai vechi decât piramidele Egiptene

Arheologii români au făcut o descoperire de senzație în județul

Hunedoara! Aici a fost descoperit un oraș imens, cel mai vechi din Transilvania, și

chiar mai vechi decât piramidele egiptene!

De cele mai multe ori, arheologii români au ocazia de a descoperi istoria României, ascunsă sub straturi de pământ, doar când autoritățile vor să mai construiască una-alta.

Cel mai vechi oraș din Transilvania, ridicat pe la anul 4.200 î.Hr

…înainte să apară piramidele din Egipt (2.630 – 2.611 î.Hr.)Este și cazul celui mai

vechi oraș din Transilvania, ridicat pe la anul 4.200 î.Hr, înainte să apară piramidel

din Egipt (2.630 – 2.611 î.Hr.). Așezarea a fost descoperită în timp ce muncitorii săpau pentru amenajarea autostrăzii Sibiu- Nădlac.

Se întinde pe 100 de hectare

Situl aflat în Turdaș, Hunedoara, se întinde pe 100 de hectare, are fortificații, cartiere,

iar printre ruine au fost găsite multe vase și statuete valoroase. „Un sistem de apărare

din acea vreme, pe o așa mare suprafață, nu s-a putut cerceta în Europa: costă foarte mult. Noi am avut această șansă datorită autostrăzii”, a declarat Sabin Adrian Luca, coordonatorul

cercetărilor.Sistemul de fortificații descoperit de arheologii sibieni e oglinda celui pe care Nicolae Vlassa îl descoperise incizat pe o tăbliță. Ideea lui Vlassa că pe această tăbliță, locuitorii vechiului oraș au desenat sistemul de fortificații al așezării a fost astfel confirmată. Specialiștii cred că acest sistem de fortificații ocrotea un nucleu care avea, probabil, 100 de hectare. Delimitări existau și în interiorul așezării, mai ales că aceasta s-a extins tot extins din interior spre exterior.De interes este și arhitectura caselor din acest oraș:  „case imenseși ca înălțime și anvergură,  cu podina suspendată”. Altfel spus, din cauza deselor inundații care afectau perimetrul, oamenii și-au construit case suspendate, pe stâlpi imenși de 6-8 metri. Inundațiile afectau însă pivnițele și vetrele care se găseau la nivelul solului, așa că așezarea era refăcută după calamități ale naturii. S-au descoperit astfel șase orizonturi de arhitectură suprapuse, dar și un număr foarte mare de complexe arheologice: peste 3.000, în condițiile în care, în alte locuri, câteva situri abia totalizează împreună 2.000 de complexe arheologice.Scrieri de 7.000 de ani în aceeași zonă*

Civilizației Turdaș îi aparține și cea mai veche scriere din lume (aproximativ 7.000 de ani).

Este vorba despre celebrele tăblițe de lut (foto) descoperite, în anul 1961, la Tărtăria, localitate situată între Alba Iulia și Orăștie. Acestea sunt inscripționate cu semne asemănătoare cu cele ale scrierii sumeriene, dar cu cel puțin o mie de ani mai vechi decât orice alfabet. Scrierea a rămas, deocamdată, nedescifrată.


Mircea Chelaru – Pietrele au început să vorbească

„Orașul dacilor de la Turdas” Da! Am fost acolo!Vă trimit, în premieră absolută, ceea ce am văzut la Turdas, pe traseul excavațiilor autostrăzii. Am fost cu prof. Victor Craciun și senatorul Avram Crăciun, alăturat fotografului Virgil Jireghie de la Arad. Priviți înscrisurile și comparați-le cu cele de la Tărtăria și Oțelești de Iași! Sau chiar cele de pe inelul de aur de la Ezerovo. Este numitorul comun al existenței noastre inteligente de peste 20 de mii de ani. Constatările sunt numeroase. Dar vom dezvolta public subiectul. Am facut acest demers pentru ca există deja emisă ipoteza descărcarii arheologice, ceea ce ar fi încă un gest criminal asupra identității noastre ancestrale!Scriu toate acestea pentru a se ști și spre a se acționa! Iată cum, așa cum spunea fondatorul constiinței naționale, unicul Eminescu, pietrele au început să vorbească. Și nu numai de azi sau de ieri. Bucurați-vă! „Gen.(r) Dr. Mircea Chelaru,Vicepresedinte al Ligii Culturale Romane




De ce e primul oraș din Transilvania?

Ne răspunde Sabin Adrian Luca, directorul muzeului Brukenthal„De ce spun că e primul oraș din Transilvania, ca să nu spun cel puțin din sud – estul Europei: pentru că am descoperit un sistem de fortificație, de împrejmuire, compus din 11 palisadeși șanturi succesive, pe o profuzime de 200 de metri. Am descoperit două porți de intrare în sistemul de fortificație, cu turnuri, totul din lemn. Acest sistem, de o așa de mare dimensiune, nu s-a putut cerceta în Europa fiindcă costă foarte mult. Am surprins aceste palisade, șanturi, turnuri, care ocroteau un nucleu care, din punctul meu de vedere, în stadiul inițial avea cam 100 de hectare împrejmuit. Faptul că este consacrat după toate regulile vedem din faptul că, la distanțe de aproximativ 200 de metri, în interiorul primei sau celei de-a doua fortificații este pus câte un sacrificat. Am găsit vreo cinci (schelete – n.r.). Ceea ce este curios este că nici unul nu e în aceeași poziție, deci e clar că e sacrificiu, nu este o înmormântare. I-au sacrificat în diverse ritualuri. Sunt puși fie pe burtă cu mâinile și picioarele legate, fie pe spate cu mâinile și picioarele legate, fie cu capul tăiat și pus pe piept”, a declarat directorul muzeului Brukenthal.Potrivit acestuia, așezarea de la Turdaș a fost un centru regional de producție și distribuție a ceramicii, fapt dovedit de descoperirea unui număr foarte mare de cuptoare și obiecte din ceramică, de la vase, în stilul Turdașului, „unic în Europa”, până la statuete antropomorfe, zoomorfe, și „statuete pe tron”, care exemplifică regalitatea și care au mai fost găsite doar în „două – trei situri din Europa”.„Trebuie să ne gândim la un mare centru regional al acelui moment. Am găsit explicația asupra numărului mare de vaseși statuete de lut descoperite aici. Am găsit 60 de cuptoare pentru arderea obiectelor de mici dimensiuni și singura concluzie care se poate trage este că aici se făceau statuetele, idolii pentru o țară. Și această mare așezare sacră cu caracter urban livra aceste piese, consacrate deja, spre comunități. E singura așezare din toate cele cercetate până acum din Europa neolitică care are un număr așa mare de cuptoare. (…) Putem argumenta ideea că suntem în fața unei așezări protourbane aidoma marilor așezări din Orient, o așezare care avea sigur regi, datorită statuilor pe tron”, a mai explicat Sabin Adrian Luca.„Săpăturile din ultimul an și jumătate au creat un nou muzeu, avem deja mii de piese întregi restaurate, extrem de reprezentative, unicat, de la ceramică la metal, de la piatră la os. La cercetarea aceasta se va mai lucra patru-cinci ani până când vom tipări volumele. (…) Până acum s-a cercetat un eșantion ceramic de doi-trei la sută și s-a cercetat cam trei-patru la sută din oase. La cea mai mare cercetare din Europa nu poți să estimezi nimic, decât că la final vom raporta cel mai mare eșantion ceramic cercetat în Europa, cel mai mare eșantion osteologic cercetat în Europa, cel mai mare, pentru că asta a fost norocul nostru”, a adăugat Sabin Adrian Luca.

Scrieri de 7.000 de ani în aceeași zonă

Civilizației Turdaș îi aparține și cea mai veche scriere din lume (aproximativ 7.000 de ani). Este vorba despre celebrele tăblițe de lut descoperite, în anul 1961, la Tărtăria, localitate situată între Alba Iulia și Orăștie. Acestea sunt inscripționate cu semne asemănătoare cu cele ale scrierii sumeriene, dar cu cel puțin o mie de ani mai vechi decât orice alfabet. Scrierea a rămas, deocamdată, nedescifrată.  Publicat de




 VADASTRA archaeological site of Neolithic Culture.
Vadastra is a little village near Danube river, in Dolj, South-West of Romania. Eponymus site of the Vinca culture, represented by the beautiful writings on the figurines. Chronology: 5.500 - 4.800 BC.One of the first painted temples of the World.
(Gimbutas, M., The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe, University of California Press, Los Angeles, 1996
Gimbutas, M., The Language of the Goddesses, Harper, SanFrancisco, 1991
Gimbutas, M., The Living Goddesses, University of California Press, Berkley, Los Angeles, London 1999).


 Vadastra figurine (left)  4000 BC and Bactrian figurine from Bactria (right)

Stone seated female figure, late 3rd–early 2nd millennium b.c.
Central Asia (Bactria-Margiana) Chlorite or steatite, and limestone
The Metropolitan Museum of Art,b (October 2006

 In the Encyclopedia of Indo_european Culture,  J. P. Mallory and Douglas Q. Adams mention the use of plows in the Neolitic "A final source of evidence is to be seen in the splayed phalanges of cattle, which suggests their use in traction.  Such evidence has been recovered from the  Balkans from the period of the Vadastra culture, c. 4,500 BC."


    The Chalcolithic megaron house, 5th millennium B.C. (author: Dr.Dragos Gheorghiu) built in August 2003 (for the construction details see Gheorghiu, D., 2003b, Building a ceramic macro-object: The 2003 Vadastra Project experiments,Dispersion of the culture and principle sites PAVol. 11, No.3, pp. 1-5.) was the first of the buildings intended to form the replica of a prehistoric settlement at Vadastra village, south of Romania. Here in the last five years a series of experiments with prehistoric pyrotechnologies were carried (see Gibson, A., 2002, Prehistoric pottery in Britain and Ireland, Tempus, Charleston; Gheorghiu,D., 2002a, The Vadastra Project: Experiments with traditional technologies, OPA Vol.10, No.1, pp.9-10; Gheorghiu, D., 2002b, Fire and air draught:: Experimenting the Chalcolithic pyroinstruments, in Gheorghiu, D. (ed.), Fire in archaeology, BAR International Series 1089, pp. 83-95; Gheorghiu,D., 2003a, Archaeology and community: News from the Vadastra project, OPA Vol.11, No.2, pp. 1-4.)  

 Text and pictures:  




Gumelnitza Culture


  Southern Romania Archaeological Project (SRAP)

  Participation in the SRAP. The SRAP, under the direction of Douglass Bailey (Cardiff University) and Radian Andreescu (National Historical Museum, Bucharest), is investigating prehistoric land-use and settlement patterns in the Teleorman River Valley in the Lower Danube Plain. Pottery studies form an essential part of the SRAP. So far, the Criş-Starčevo, Dudeşti, Vădastra and Boian-Gumelniţa pottery has technologically been analysed (in cooperation with Thissen Archaeological Ceramics Bureau). 


 The Lovers Gumelnita Culture,


Settlements in Western Muntenia

by Radian Romus Andreescu, Pavel Mirea, Ştefan Apopei

The Gumelniţa culture settlements in West Muntenia, in the area of the Vedea and Teleorman river basins were little known until a decade ago. A few materials from the settlements of Balaci and Licuriciu were mentioned as early as the inter-war period, while relatively scarce archaeological researches were conducted at Zâmbreasca, Ciolanestii din Deal and Blejesti.
          Recent researches proved that the west area of the Gumelniţa civilization was intensely inhabited, as evidenced by the high number of tell type settlements existing here. In his paper on the county of Teleorman, priest I. Spiru mentions almost 80 such settlements. During the last years an identification and mapping program for these tells was initiated, and until now almost 40 were checked in the field. Those entailed a few preliminary observations on the tell type settlements uncovered in this area.

 Without a doubt, links between cultures were more complex than described above ; nonetheless the current, already formidable, database concerning the lives of these populations, indicate the consistent communication between cultures. Direct contact and commercial trade functioned at various levels and over more or less large distances, and necessarily included the circulation of ideas and techniques. This contributed, by more or less strong mutual influences, to the perpetual mobility of human cultures. The site is found 5 kilometers form Oltenita on the Danube plateau. The Gumelnita culture actually belongs to an important cultural group called "Gumelnita-Karanovo VI-Kodjadermen" which resulted from the first great cultural synthesis, which occurred between the southern Balkans (Dikili Tash, Sitagori...) and the Carpathians. Within this conglomeration of cultures appeared some local particularities. They are often difficult to distinguish and difficult to explain, but are undoubtedly related to the heritage of the preexistent cultures, the Necropolis of Varna (Bulgaria) is the most eloquent example.  (Model of a temple (?) terra cotta
(origin : Cascioarele, district : Calarasi). , Romanian National Historical Museum)

The cultural aggregate "Gumelnita-Karanovo VI-Kodjadermen" was born of the evolution of the Boian, Marita and Karanovo V cultures. This phenomenon occurred so rapidly that from its origin it can be referred to as a unique culture with regional attributes. In the A2 period of the Gumelnita culture, the cultural unification becomes even more evident, as the styles and shapes in ceramics and statuary become practically identical.

The principle settlements are tells (Karanovo, Hârsova, Bordusani...) and it is the stratigraphy, which gives us the greatest amount of information on the chronological evolution of both this culture and its relation to the neighboring cultures (Vinca, Cucuteni, Dimini, Salcuta).

The evolution of the "Gumelnita-Karanovo VI-Kodjadermen" gradually comes to completion with the arrival of the Cernavoda I tribes on the Danube, who are considered by a number of researchers as the first proto-Europeans. Even as the evolution of the Gumelnita culture finishes abruptly with the A2 period, it continues in other zones (Munteny, Thrace, Balkans) for at least a century with Gumelnita phase B.

 Gumelnita site Sultana-Malul Rosu-Exhibit (Romanian only)

Pe data de 14 octombrie 2003, la sediul Muzeului Dunării de Jos Călăraşi, a fost vernisata expoziţia Aşezarea gumelniţeană de la Sultana-Malu Roşu. Expoziţia prezintă marelui public si specialiştilor descoperirile excepţionale făcute în anul 2003 pe şantierul arheologic de la Sultana-Malu Roşu. Este vorba despre o locuinţa incendiata cu un inventar spectaculos (peste 100 de vase de vase întregi sau reîntregibile, 150 unelte litice, 50 greutăţi de plasă, 20 unelte os/corn, unelte de aramă, piese de podoabă şi un pandantiv de aur). De asemenea, expoziţia conţine o parte documentară dedicată istoricului cercetărilor din acest sit arheologic. Expoziţia Aşezarea gumelniţeană de la Sultana-Malu Roşu face parte din expoziţiile permanente ale Muzeului Dunării de Jos Călăraşi.

Ulterior, după 1970 şi până la mijlocul anilor ’80, aşezarea a fost cercetată aproape în întregime de către Constantin Isăcescu (iniţial la Muzeul Judeţean Giurgiu, iar mai apoi la Muzeului Naţional de Istorie a României) şi Cornel Hălcescu (Muzeul de Arheologie Olteniţa). Din păcate rezultatele acestor cercetări au rămas necunoscute. A rămas în schimb materialul arheologic care, prin originalitatea şi spectaculozitatea sa face din Sultana-Malu Roşu un sit deosebit în cadrul epocii eneolitice. Amintim în primul rând tezaurul din obiecte de aur, cel mai mare descoperit la nord de Dunăre, format din trei figurine antropomorfe, saltaleoni şi un lănţişor format din şapte verigi în greutate totală de 36,170 gr. Dintre piesele ceramice se detaşează „Vasul cu Îndrăgostiţi” de la Sultana, fără îndoială una dintre capodoperele artei preistorice, cu nimic mai prejos de celebrul “Gânditor” de la Cernavodă. Pe fundul unei străchini decorată cu romburi albe şi roşii în reţea, este modelat un cuplu şezând pe un fel de băncuţă. Bărbatul ţine pe după umeri femeia care are braţele aşezate pe pântec.



Simbolistica acestei piese ne trimite spre o adevărată temă mitică a societăţii gumelniţene care dă numele vasului respectiv: „Vasul cu Îndrăgostiţi”. Se remarcă şi alte piese deosebite: două vase antropomorfe modelate în forma corpului uman, splendid decorate cu motive geometrice pictate cu alb şi roşu. Mai amintim două capace cu protome de cornute pe margini, ce aveau modelate pe ele figurine umane şi reprezentau teme cultice complexe legate probabil de anumite evenimente agrare. Un vas zoomorf, pictat cu alb şi roşu are modelat un realist cap de pasăre.




Au fost cercetate cel puţin unsprezece locuinţe de suprafaţă, de dimensiuni relativ mici, rar depăşind 4 m lungime şi 3 m lăţime (una singură avea 7 x 4 m), orientate nord-sud. Unele aveau podele din lut amenajate pe un pat din bârne, iar vetrele, nelipsite din case, erau plasate de obicei în colţul de nord-vest. Pereţii aveau stâlpi de lemn cu împletitură de crengi pomostite cu lut, iar acoperişul era probabil din stuf. Aşezarea a avut şi un şanţ de apărare, adânc de circa 6 m, care era dublat spre interior de un val de pământ cu o înălţime de aproximativ un metru şi o lăţime de 3–4 m lăţime.

Acestea sunt doar câteva dintre numeroasele descoperiri remarcabile identificate la Sultana-Malu Roşu.

Sultana-Malu Rosu este zona in care se gasesc: vestigii de 6.000 de ani, cel mai vechi cimitir preistoric din sud-estul Europei

The Eneolithic Cemetery from Sultana-Malu Roşu (Călăraşi county, Romania) at:


Prehistoric Art Exhibition -Stara Zagora, Bulgaria -Cat 


Hamangia Culture


 The two clay statuettes were found in 1956 in Cernavoda, Romania, in a tomb near the Danube. They come from the Hamangia culture, an early farming society emerging in the sixth millenium B.C. They were found among other similar, but headless figurines. There seems to be no agreement on the age of the artifacts, sources dating them anywhere from 2500 B.C.  to 6000 B.C.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

File:2006 0814 Histria Museum Neolithic Menhirs 20060301.jpg

Hamangia-Baia Menhir exhibited at Histria Museum

Hamangia was a Middle Neolithic culture in Dobruja (Romania and Bulgaria) to the right bank of the Danube in Muntenia and in the south. It is named after the site of Baia-Hamangia.


The Hamangia culture is connected to the Neolithisation of the Danube-Delta and the Dobruja. It includes Vinca, Dudeşti and Karanovo III elements, but may be based on autochthonous hunter-gatherers. The Hamangia culture developed into the succeeding Gumelnitsa, Boian and Varna cultures of the late Eneolithic without noticeable break.


P. Hasotti has divided the Hamangia-culture into three phases. The culture begins in the middle of the 6th Millennium. (6000 B.C.)


Painted vessels with complex geometrical patterns based on spiral-motifs are typical. The shapes include pots and wide bowls.


Pottery figurines are normally extremely stylized and show standing naked faceless women with emphasized breasts and buttocks. Two figurines known as “The Thinker” and “The Sitting woman” (see photos) are considered masterpieces of Neolithic art.


Settlements consist of rectangular houses with one or two rooms, built of wattle and daub, sometimes with stone foundations (Durankulak). They are normally arranged on a rectangular grid and may form small tells. Settlements are located along the coast, at the coast of lakes, on the lower and middle river-terraces, sometimes in caves.


Crouched or extended inhumation in cemeteries. Grave-gifts tend to be without pottery in Hamangia I. Grave-gifts include flint, worked shells, bone tools and shell-ornaments.

Important sites

  • Cernavodă, the necropolis where the famous statues “The Thinker” and “The Sitting Woman” were discovered
  • the eponymous site of Baia-Hamangia, discovered in 1953 along Lake Goloviţa, close to the Black Sea coast, in the Romanian province of Dobrogea.
  • Dumitru Berciu, Cultura Hamangia. Bucureşti: Editura Academiei Republicii Socialiste România, 1966.

See also

 At Hârsova, the Boian and Hamangia cultures shared the common border of their respective territories. From fragments of the Cucuteni culture found at the tell, we see that the Gumelnita had contacts with the Cucuteni who lived a hundred kilometers to the north. Lastly, the Cernavoda I people, coming from the east, in contact with the Gumelnita culture (which they replaced in Dobrogea), were also subject to south-anatolian influences, while still sustaining relations with the Cucuteni world.



Oldest Gold Treasure in the World-Varna Necropolis

According to M. Gimbutas (1991), "The discontinuity of the Varna, Karanovo, Turdash- Vinča, Lengyel cultures in their main territories and the large scale population shifts to the north and northwest are indirect evidence of a catastrophe of such proportions that cannot be explained by possible climatic change, land exhaustion, or epidemics (for which there is no evidence in the second half of the 5th millennium B.C.). Direct evidence of the incursion of horse-riding warriors is found, not only in single burials of males under barrows, but in the emergence of a whole complex of Kurgan cultural traits." and

According to J. Chapman (2005), "Once upon a time, not so very long ago, it was widely accepted that steppe nomads from the North Pontic zone invaded the Balkans, putting an end to the Climax Copper Age society that produced the apogee of tell living, autonomous copper metallurgy and, as the grandest climax, the Varna cemetery with its stunning early goldwork. Now the boot is very much on the other foot and it is the Varna complex and its associated communities that are held responsible for stimulating the onset of prestige goods-dominated steppe mortuary practice following the expansion of farming."

 5,000-year-old skeleton was once an important ruler in the ancient Pelasgian Balkans

 In 1972 after a tractor accidentally unearthed a stunning Chalcolithic cemetery near Bulgaria’s port city Varna, archaeologists discovered the oldest gold treasure in the world c. 4,500-4,000 BC. If the size of his burial trove and the scepter in his right hand are anything to judge by, this 6,000-year-old skeleton was once an important ruler in the ancient Pelasgian Balkans. His grave site was excavated along with about 300 other burials, stocked with over 3,000 gold artifacts: bracelets, beads, pectorals and appliques - the oldest hoard of gold ever found in the world. The Necropolis at Varna is an important site in understanding this culture. The impressive richness of the tombs discovered there made it possible to recognize a powerful hierarchal social organization.

Varna Necropolis


Discovery and excavation

The site was accidentally discovered in October 1972 by excavator operator Raycho Marinov. Research excavation was under the direction of Mihail Lazarov (1972–1976) and Ivan Ivanov (1972–1991). About 30% of estimated necropolis area is still not excavated.

294 graves have been found in the necropolis, many containing sophisticated examples of metallurgy (gold and copper), pottery (about 600 pieces, including gold-painted ones), high-quality flint and obsidian blades, beads, and shells.


The graves have been dated to 4600-4200 BC (radiocarbon dating, 2004) and belong to the Eneolithic Varna culture, which is the local variant of the KGKVI.

 Burial rites

A burial at Varna, with some of the world's oldest gold jewelry.

There are crouched and extended inhumations. Some graves do not contain a skeleton, but grave gifts (cenotaphs). Interestingly, the symbolic (empty) graves are the richest in gold artifacts. 3000 gold artifacts were found, with a weight of approximately 6 kilograms. Grave 43 contained more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch. Three symbolic graves contained masks of unfired clay (photo).

The findings showed that the Varna culture had trade relations with distant lands (possibly including the lower Volga and the Cyclades), perhaps exporting metal goods and salt from the Provadiya rock salt mine [1]. The copper ore used in the artifacts originated from a Sredna Gora mine near Stara Zagora, and Mediterranean Spondylus shells found in the graves may have served as primitive currency.

The culture had sophisticated religious beliefs about afterlife and developed hierarchal status differences: it offers the oldest known burial evidence of an elite male (the end of the fifth millennium BC is the time that Marija Gimbutas claims the transition to male dominance began in Europe). The high status male buried with the most remarkable amount of gold held a war adze or mace and wore a gold penis sheath. The bull-shaped gold platelets (photo) perhaps also venerated virility, instinctional force, and warfare. Gimbutas holds that the artifacts were made largely by local craftspeople.

Historical impact

According to M. Gimbutas (1991), "The discontinuity of the Varna, Karanovo, VinčaLengyel cultures in their main territories and the large scale population shifts to the north and northwest are indirect evidence of a catastrophe of such proportions that cannot be explained by possible climatic change, land exhaustion, or epidemics (for which there is no evidence in the second half of the 5th millennium B.C.). Direct evidence of the incursion of horse-riding warriors is found, not only in single burials of males under barrows, but in the emergence of a whole complex of Kurgan cultural traits." and

According to J. Chapman (2005), "Once upon a time, not so very long ago, it was widely accepted that steppe nomads from the North Pontic zone invaded the Balkans, putting an end to the Climax Copper Age society that produced the apogee of tell living, autonomous copper metallurgy and, as the grandest climax, the Varna cemetery with its stunning early goldwork. Now the boot is very much on the other foot and it is the Varna complex and its associated communities that are held responsible for stimulating the onset of prestige goods-dominated steppe mortuary practice following the expansion of farming."

Among the metallic (gold and copper) and non-metallic (minerals, rocks, pottery, pigments, bioobjects) artefacts in the graves from the Varna Chalcolithic site are numerous beads of a chalcedony (carnelian) and agate composition. Three main morphological types of beads are described: type 1 – elongated barrel-shaped; type 2 – elongated with trapezohedral facets; type 3 – short cylindrical (Kostov, 2007; Kostov, Pelevina, 2008). The carnelian and related beads of type 2 have a “constant” number of 32 facets – 16+16 on both sides on the elongation of the bead, which is considered probably the earliest in Chalcolithic times complex type of faceting on such a hard mineral (hardness of chalcedony is 6.5-7 on the Mohs scale). In the hole of a single carnelian bead was found a gold mini-cylinder (~2x2 mm). The gold artefacts from the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis are assumed to be the “oldest gold of mankind” according to their total volume and quantity. Analysis of the measured weight of the different types of gold artеfacts (beads, appliqués, rings, bracelets, pectorals and diadems) revealed a weight system with at least two minimal weight units of ~0.14 and ~0.40 g among both mineral and gold beads (Kostov, 2004; 2007). The second one (=2 carats) was suggested as a basic “Chalcolithic unit” with the name van (from the first letters of Varna necropolis).

Museum exhibitions

File:Or de Varna - Bijoux.jpg
Golden objects found in the necropolis.

The artifacts can be seen at the Varna Archaeological Museum and at the National Historical Museum in Sofia. In 2006, some gold objects were included in a major and broadly advertised national exhibition of antique gold treasures in both Sofia and Varna.

The gold of Varna started touring the world in 1973; it was included in "The Gold of the Thracian Horseman" national exhibition, shown at many of the world's leading museums and exhibition venues in the 1970s. In 1982, it was exhibited for 7 months in Japan as "The Oldest Gold in the World - The First European Civilization" with massive publicity, including two full length TV documentaries. In the 1980s and 1990s it was also shown in Canada, Germany, France, Italy, and Israel, among others, and featured in a cover story by the National Geographic Magazine.

Varna necropolis artifacts were shown for the first time in the United States in 1998 and 1999 as part of a major Bulgarian archaeological exhibition, Thracians' Riches: Treasures from Bulgaria. From November 11, 2009, through April 25, 2010, several artifacts will be shown at the New York University Institute for the Study of the Ancient World in a joint Romanian-Bulgarian-Moldovan exhibition entitled The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC.[1][2] [3]

External links


  • Anthony, D. W., J. Y. Chi (Eds.) 2010. The Lost World of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000-3500 BC. Princeton, U.P.
  • Avramova, M. 2000. Myth, ritual and gold of a “civilization that did not take place”. – In: Varna Necropolis. Varna, Agató, 15-24.
  • Bahn, P. G. (ed.). 1995. 100 Great Archaeological Discoveries. New York, Barnes & Noble, No. 34.
  • Bailey, D. W. 2004. Varna. – In: Bogucki, P., P. J. Crabtree (Eds.). Ancient Europe 8000 B.C. – A.D. 1000. Vol. 1. The Mesolithic to Copper Age (c. 8000-2000 B.C.). New York, Scribner’s, 341-344.
  • Chapman, J. 1990. Social inequality on Bulgarian tells and the Varna problem. - In: R. Samson (ed.). The Social Archaeology of Houses, Edinburgh, Edinburgh University Press, 49-98.
  • Chapman, J. 1991. The creation of social arenas in Varna. - In: P. Garwood (Ed.). Sacred and Profane. Oxford University Committee for Archaeology, Monograph 32, 152-171.
  • Chapman, J., T. Higham, B. Gaydarska, V. Slavchev, N. Honch. 2006. The social context of the emergence, development and abandonment of the Varna Cemetery, Bulgaria. - European Journal of Archaeology, Vol. 9, No. 2-3, 159-183.
  • Chapman, J., B. Gaydarska, V. Slavchev. 2008. The life histories of Spondylus shell rings from the Varna I Eneolithic cemetery (Northeast Bulgaria): transformation, revelation, fragmentation and deposition. – Acta Musei Varnaensis, 6, 139-162.
  • Éluére, Ch., D. Raub. 1991. Investigations on the gold coating technology of the great dish from Varna. – In: J.-P. Mohen (Ed.). Découverte du métal. Picard, Paris, 13-30.
  • Fol, A., J. Lichardus (eds.). 1988. Macht, Herrschaft und Gold: das Graberfeld von Varna (Bulgarien) und die Anfänge einer neuen europäischen Zivilisation. Saarbrücken, Moderne Galerie des Saarland-Museums.
  • Gimbutas, M. 1977. Varna: a sensationally rich cemetery at the Karanovo civilization: about 4500 B.C. – Expedition, Summer, 39-47.
  • Hayden, B. 1998. An archaeological evaluation of the Gimbutas paradigm. - In: The Virtual Pomegranate, 6.
  • Higham, T., J. Chapman, V. Slavchev, B. Gaydarska, N. Honch, Y. Yordanov, B. Dimitrova. 2007. New perspectives on the Varna cemetery (Bulgaria) – AMS dates and social implications. – Antiquity, 81, 313, 640-651.
  • Ivanov, I. 1977. La nécropole chalcolithique de Varna. – Obzor, 38, 87–96.
  • Ivanov, I. 1978. Les fouilles archéologiques de la nécropole chalcolithique а Varna (1972-1976). – Studia Praehistorica, 1-2, 13-26.
  • Ivanov, I. 1982. The Varna Chalcolithic necropolis. – In: The First Civilization in Europe and the Oldest Gold in the World – Varna, Bulgaria. Nippon Television Network Cultural Society, 21-24.
  • Ivanov, I. 1986. Der kupferzeitlishe Friedhof in Varna. – In: G. Biegel (Hrsg.). Das erste Gold der Menschheit. Die älteste Zivilisation in Europa. Freiburg, 30-42.
  • Ivanov, I. 1988. Die Ausgrabungen des Gräberfeldes von Varna. – In: Fol, A., J. Lichardus (Hrsg.). Macht, Herrschaft und Gold. Moderne-Galerie des Saarlands-Museum, Saarbrüken, Krüger, 49-66, 67-78.
  • Ivanov, I. 1991. Les objets metalliques de la necropole chalcolithique de Varna. – In: Découverte du metal. Paris, 9-12.
  • Ivanov, I. S., M. Avramova. 1997. Varna i razhdaneto na evropeiskata tsivilizatsiia. Sofia (in Bulgarian).
  • Ivanov, I., M. Avramova. 2000. Varna Necropolis. The Dawn of European Civilization. Sofia, Agató, 55 p.
  • Kănchev, K. 1978. Microwear studies of the weapons and tools from the chalcolithic necropolis at the city of Varna. – Studia Praehistorica, 1-2, 46-49.
  • Kostov, R. I. 2004. Prehistoric weight system among the gold objects of the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis. – Geology and Mineral Resources, 11, 3, 25-28 (in Bulgarian with an English abstract).
  • Kostov, R. I. 2007. Archaeomineralogy of Neolithic and Chalcolithic Artefacts from Bulgaria and their Significance to Gemmology. Sofia, Publishing House “St. Ivan Rilski”, 126 p., I-VIII (in Bulgarian with an English summary).
  • Kostov, R. I., O. Pelevina. 2008. Complex faceted and other carnelian beads from the Varna Chalcolithic necropolis: gemmological analysis. – In: Proceedings of the International Conference “Geology and Archaeomineralogy”. Sofia, 29-30 October 2008. Sofia, Publishing House “St. Ivan Rilski”, 67-72.
  • Kostov, R. I., T. Dimov, O. Pelevina. 2004. Gemmological characteristics of carnelian and agate beads from the Chalcolithic necropolis at Durankulak and Varna. – Geology and Mineral Resources, 11, 10, 15-24 (in Bulgarian with an English abstract).
  • Kuleff, I. 2009. Archeometric investigation of gold in the Chalcolithic necropolis of Varna (5th millennium BC) – Advances in Bulgarian Science, 2, 16-22.
  • Manolakakis, L. 2008. Le mobilier en silex taille des tombes de Varna I. – Acta Musei Varnaensis, 6, 115-138.
  • Marazov, I. 1997. The blacksmith as 'King' in the necropolis of Varna. - In: J. Marler (Ed.). From the Realm.
  • Marler, J. 1999. A response to Brian Hayden's article "An archaeological evaluation of the Gimbutas paradigm". - In: The Virtual Pomegranate, 10.
  • Nikolov, V. 1994. Der soziale und religios-mythologische Kontext des Goldes in der Nekropole bei Varna. – Ann. Department of Archaeology, New Bulgarian University, I, 4-7.
  • Renfrew, C. 1978. Varna and the social context of early metallurgy. - Antiquity, 52, 206, 197-203.
  • Renfrew, C. 1986. Varna and the emergence of wealth in prehistoric Europe. – In: The Social Life of Things: Comodities in Cultural Perspective (A. Appadurai, Ed.). Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, 141-168.
  • Renfrew, C., P. Bahn. 1996. Archaeology: theories, methods, and practice. New York, Thames and Hudson.
  • Slavchev, V. 2004. Fragmentation research and the Varna Eneolithic cemetery Spondylus rings. - Proceedings of the Varna Round Table.
  • Todorova, H. 1982. Kupferzeitliche Siedlungen in Nordostbulgarien. München, Beck, Materialien zur Allgemeinen und Vergleichenden Archäologie, Band 13.
  • Todorova, H. 1978. The Eneolithic Period in Bulgaria in the Fifth Millennium B.C. Oxford, British Archaeological Reports, BAR supplementary series 49.

See also


Coordinates: 43°12′47″N 27°51′52″E / 43.21306°N 27.86444°E / 43.21306; 27.86444

 Varna - Spondylus, Dentalium, Studia Praehistorica, Treasures of the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis - Gold, Graves, Bulgaria, Copper, Grave, and Cemetery

by John Chapman


The Varna cemetery is located on the outskirts of the Black Sea resort of Varna, Bulgaria. In 1972, drainage operations cut through a grave in the richest area of the cemetery. Since then, excavations by Dr. Ivan Ivanov have uncovered 281 graves. The significance of Varna is that it constitutes the earliest floruit of gold metallurgy in the world, dating to the middle phase of the Balkan Copper Age (early fourth millennium b.c.).

The cemetery comprises flat graves with individuals buried in shallow pits. There are two classes of burial rite: graves with and without skeletons. The former are the commonest, mostly extended inhumations on the back, with goldwork rare: included here are ten poorly furnished contracted inhumations. The second category, graves without skeletons, are of two types: cenotaph graves, where grave goods are laid out as if the body were present, and mask graves, where a life-size clay mask represents the body. Most cenotaph graves are poor, though some have gold- and copper-work, whereas three cenotaphs and three mask graves are extremely rich. Adult females and males are buried with rich or poor artifacts, while children younger than twelve years are not represented

The grave goods represent the accumulation of more prestige goods than on any other coeval site in eastern Europe. Tombs 4 and 43 each contained over 3.3 pounds (1.5 kg) of gold, Tomb 1 had over 2.2 pounds (1 kg), and Tomb 36 almost 1.7 pounds (0.8 kg) and 853 objects. These sumptuous artifacts indicate a mastery of the techniques of beaten sheet-metal-working, wire production, and gold vessel painting. The majority of gold finds has no parallels anywhere else in Eurasia: the diadem from Tomb 3, appliqués often in the form of a bull, gold-plated axe-shafts, the solid gold astragalus, and the penis sheath from Tomb 43. The copper finds include shaft-hole axes, awls, chisels, and beads. Beads are also made of Spondylus and Dentalium shells, as well as bone, marble, carnelian, and limestone. Marble rhyta, dishes, axes, and stylized figurines are found, the latter with metal earrings. Obsidian and flint blades up to 16 inches (40 cm) in length were made using pressure-flaking techniques. The ceramics are typically decorated with geometric designs outlined in graphite.

Whereas part of the high status of these grave goods derives from their workmanship and aesthetic qualities, the distance over which they were exchanged provided additional value. Much of the gold derived from southeastern Bulgaria, like the marble and carnelian. Some gold came from Transylvania. The obsidian was from northeastern Hungary. Most of the copper and graphite came from central Bulgarian mines. Spondylus and Dentalium were from the Aegean, the honey-colored flint from northeastern Bulgaria. The richest graves contained symbols characteristic of different regional communities: the gold astragalus characteristic of northwestern Bulgaria, the gold-painted vase of central Bulgaria and a marble figurine of southern Bulgaria. Products and symbols came from up to 1,543 miles (700 km) away, underlining Varna's integration into wide-ranging exchange and ritual networks covering much of eastern Europe.

The central question raised by Varna is why such an accumulation of finery was concentrated in one cemetery. When Varna was first discovered, there was an overwhelming contrast between the wealth of its finds and the apparently egalitarian nature of contemporary tell settlements. More recently, the excavation of Bulgarian sites such as Ovvcarovo and Poljanica indicates architectural and social differentiation on tells, with the accumulation of household or lineage wealth. Varna takes this process one stage further, for it symbolizes burial not only of local elites but of the leaders of an interregional alliance. The deposition of such wealth in relatively few graves at Varna indicates competitive grave-good deposition by regional lineages to secure the role of alliance leader—a sign of widespread and successful social integration at a time when accumulation of wealth first became possible.[See also Europe: The European Copper Age; Metallurgy: Metallurgy In the Old World.]

Bibliography and More Information about Varna
•Studia Praehistorica (Sofia) vols. 1–2 (collection of articles about Varna) (1975).
•Ivan Ivanov, Treasures of the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis (1977).
•Alexander Fol & Jan Lichardus, eds., Power, Society and Gold: The Varna Cemetery (Bulgaria) and the Start of a New European Civilisation (1988).
•National Museums Group Paris, The First Gold in the World in Bulgaria, 5th Millennium BC (1989).
•John Chapman, The Creation of Social Arenas in the Neolithic and Copper Age of S.E. Europe: The Case of Varna, in Sacred and Profane, eds. Paul Garwood, David Jennings, Robin Skeates, and Judith Toms (1991), pp. 152–170.
John Chapman

 More info and photos of ceramics and gold at Varna Museum of Archeology:


Thracians population settled around Odessos since Late Bronze Age (13-12 c. BC). Their origin is similar to the Trojan and it is not accidental that they are listed among Trojan allies in Homer’s Illiad. Thracians settle on the Balkan Peninsula on several human waves, the latest and the most important in population being during the Early Iron Age, dated in Thrace from the end of 12th c. to beginning of 7th c BC, i.e. immediately before the beginning of Greek colonization of the Black sea coast. During 9th - 7th c. BC local Thracians had active commercial and cultural contacts with Anatolian population (Asia Minor), Thessaly, Caucasus and the Mediterranean, which is reflected to some local productions. This is especially true for bronze fibula of the age, where imported forms co-exist with local production. There is no doubt that interactions occurred mstly by sea and the aquatory of Odessos is one of the places where the exchanges took place. Some schlars consider that during the Ist millennium BC, the region, together with the Thracians, was settled by the half-mythical Cymerians. As example of their, probably accidental, presence, is advanced the tumulus tomb with stone stele dated 8th - 7th and found near Belogradets, region of Varna.

May ancient authors mention that long before the coming of Greeks on the west seashore of Black Sea, the region around present day Varna was densely populated with Thracians. One such author, known as Pseudo-Skimnos explicitly states: “...Around the city (Odessos) lives the Thracian tribe named Crobises.” These facts are proven by many and various ceramic utensils, made by hand or on pottery wheel, many bronze ornaments for horse ammunitions and iron weaponry, all found in Thracian necropolises dated 6th – 4th c. BC in the region of Varna – near the villages of Dobrina, Kipra, Brestak and other. The Thracians in the region were ruled by kings, who entered in different periods in unions with the greater Thracian states existing between 5th and 1st c. BC – Odresses, Ghetes or Sapeyas. Between 336-280 BC these Thracian states were conquered by Alexander the Great, ruler of this part of the Balkan Peninsula. Archeological findings during the past years indicate that the population of North-East Thrace during the period was very diverse, including the vicinity of Odessos. It is found that during 6th – 4th c. BC the region was populated with Scetes, who normally inhabit the steppe region in South Russia and Ukraine and partly the area south of river Istros (Danube). Characteristic for their culture weaponry and bronze objects are found all over the region. Scytian horse ornaments are produced in stylish manner, so-called “animal style,” which is very close to the Thracian, probably a reason of frequent mixture of both populaces in North-eastern Thrace. Many bronze findings give testimony for such process – applications and front plates for horse heads, as well as moulds for such products in nearby and more distanced settlements. Since 4th c. BC the region is populated by more Ghetes – Thracian tribe populating both shores around the Danubian delta.

During their invasion of the Balkan Peninsula, after 280 BC, the region was populated by Celts. All over North-East Bulgaria and even near Odessos are found significant in numbers bronze objects with characteristic Celt ornaments and typical weapons, all quickly adopted by Thracians. One of the Celtic – Arkovna, located about 80 km from Odessos was probably the permanent, or at least temporarily, the capital of their last king Kavar (270/260-216/210 BC). Probably after the downfall of his kingdom, Celts mingled with the enormous mass of Thracians in the country. In a later period between 2nd and 1st c. BC, between Dyonissopolis (Balchik) and Odessos, in present day Dobrudja were created many small Scytian states. Their “kings” mint their coins in mint-houses located in the cities on the West Black Sea coast, including Odessos. The Thracian population in North-East Thrace seems to be backward as compared to their counterparts in South Thrace, including invaders in the territory. Thracians in the region lived in two types of settlements: non-fortified, located in fertile lands near water sources and stone built fortresses in hard to reach mountain environment, where most frequently were located the kings’ residences. Thracians were busy with agriculture, husbandry, forestry and hunting and fishing. Among their art crafts one should mention metallurgy – especially weaponry, excelling processing of bronze, making of bracelets, rings, Thracian type of fibulas, horse ornaments, top of arrows. Local goldsmiths produced from silver and gold characteristic for Thracian clothing chest plates, ceremonial ornaments for horses of kings and aristocracy, as well as used for special feasts fialas and ritons for drinking.

Despite ethnic diversity, numerous internal and external conflicts, and cultural differences, it may be noted that the populations of North-Eastern Bulgaria and the cities along the seashore have demonstrated stable tolerance for each group. However the progress of Thracians outside the seashore area was very slow. Conservatism is easily seen in ceramics production and mainly in religion. The most frequent deity of all is the so-called Thracian god-rider, who has different names in various places and different, or additional functions. Well venerated were different water-related deities – so called Three nymphs and Zalmoxis with the Getaes. After all the citizen of coastal cities completed their civilizing mission. One should note that there is always two-way communication and Thracians influenced citizen as well, especially in religious approach. During the centuries, especially by the end of Hellenistic age (2nd – 1st c. BC), Thracians adopted more and more the elaborated Hellenistic traditions, thus acting as intermediate for the continental Thracians.

Research fellow Alexander Minchev

Exponats per page  1   2   3   4   <5>   6   7   
Page    <1>    2    3    4    5    6        
Stone anchorThraciansCult ItemStone anchor
Bronze fibulaThraciansJewelryBronze fibula
Clay-made riton.ThraciansCeramicsClay-made riton.
Bronze ornamentThraciansCult ItemBronze ornament
Bronze applicationThraciansCult ItemBronze application


Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture


 Photo of Neolithic bone mask at: ttp://

Neolithic settlement excavation and survey
Location: Soimeni, Miercurea Ciuc (Transylvania) Romania

Period: Ariusd-Cucuteni - Neolithic Site:Village  Dates: July 11 - August 8, 2010 Archaeological Techniques and Research Center - Centre de recherches et techniques archaeologiques ArchaeoTek - CanadaContact us:


La Brad s-a descoperit în 1982 un important tezaur de obiecte din os, cupru, dar şi 2 mici discuri din aur. Discurile sînt cele mai vechi obiecte din aur, au fost făurite cu 7.000 de ani în urmă şi apartin Culturii Cucuteni A. Muzeul din Roman. 

Cucuteni- Trypolie (Trypillian) Culture,

The Last Great Chalcolithic Urban Civilisation of Europe 
 Cucuteni-Tripolye Museum, Piatra Neamt, Romania-Moldova


Hora of Frumusica


 Cornelia-Magda Mantu, Senica Turcanu, Archaeological Institute, Iassi, Romania,  SCÂNTEIA, THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE at:


    Binocular shaped vase. Ghelaiesti. Settlement, Cucuteni Culture. Pottery         






The Thinker 


The thinker of Tirpesti. Precucuteni culture.


The Last Great Chalcolithic Civilization of Europe

Exhibition Project
 The Cucuteni culture is, chronologically speaking, the last great chalcolithic civilisation in southeastern Europe and, at the same time, parts of the great Neolithic spiritual edifice in this region. The area of the first European Neolithic, which included the Balkan Peninsula, today's territory of Romania, Bessarabia, Western Ukraine and Southern Hungary, was called by Marija Gimbutas, in an inspiring phrase, "Old Europe". Starting with the beginning of the chalcolithic, a series of profoundly original cultures appeared in this area, which involved the whole region in a spectacular process of development that brought it to the verge of civilisation. Fortified settlements, considerable architectural achievements, sanctuaries and temples, fabulous necropolis containing thousands of golden objects, a diversified agriculture with plenty of crops, a trade network, all this are the great achievements of the "Chalcolithization" of south-east Europe.
However, beyond any material achievement, the most important accomplishment is the great Chalcolithic spiritual structure of Old Europe, based on the life - death - afterlife cycle. This structure was hard to be explained because of the opacity of mysteries with the latest archaeological discoveries. They supplied immemorial religious and mythological structures. Our region is not only a source of future archaeological discoveries but also an ethnographic reserve, which can contribute through its agrarian tradition to the deciphering of the Chalcolithic spirit. The Cucuteni culture is, chronologically speaking, the last great chalcolithic civilisation in southeastern Europe and, at the same time, parts of the great Neolithic spiritual edifice in this region. Revealing its "mysteries" can contribute to the investigation of an essential moment in our history, a moment which generated our present way of living.

Gheorghe Dumitroaia and Cornelia Magda Mantu



 Vestiges of Neolithic cultures (Boian-Gumelnita in the Romanian Plain and the Dobrudja, Cucuteni-Ariusd in Moldavia and Eastern Transylvania, and Turdas-Petresti in Transylvania, Banat and Oltenia) have one element in common, namely, a polychrome pottery of exquisite beauty and remarkable technical achievement.

Amphora, Eneolithic Cucuteni, 7,000-3,500 BCE, Cucuteni, Romania National History Museum (below left)


       The Cucuteani-Trypillian culture, also known as Cucuteni culture (Romania), Trypillian culture (Ukraine)  is a late Neolithic archaeological culture that flourished between ca. 5500 BC and 2750 BC in the region of modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.

The Cucuteni culture, better known in the countries of the former Soviet Union as Trypillian culture or Tripolie culture, is a late Neolithic archaeological culture that flourished between ca. 4500 BC and 3000 BC in the Dniester-Dnieper region of modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.

The culture was named after Cucuteni, Iaşi county, Romania, where first objects associated with this culture were discovered in 1884 and excavations started in 1909. In 1897, similar objects were excavated in Trypillia (Трипiлля; Russian: Trepolye), Kiev Governorate, Ukraine. As a result, the culture has been known in Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian publications as Tripolie culture or Tripolian culture. A compromise name is Cucuteni-Trypillia

 Cucuteni is a village near Iasi, in Moldova, NE Romania. Eponymus site of the Cucuteni-Tripoly civilization, represented by the beauteful figurines and vases in Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. Preceded by the Precucuteni, Gumelnita and Hamangia cultures.Over 3000 settlements were discovered in the region where Cucuteni pottery was used, and there are still plenty of areas which have not been closely examined. The Hamangia culture is connected to the Neolithisation of the Danube-Delta and the Dobruja.The culture begins in the middle of the 6th Millennium. (6000 B.C.)

Marija Gimbutas  excavations and interpretations show, at the dawn of civilization, a society stretching across Europe from the Danube to the North Sea in which women had high status and power along with men. Egalitarian and peaceful, "Old Europe" existed for thousands of years without war. Hundreds of female figurines were found. Paintings, sculptures of birth-giving goddesses, pottery figures of bird headed deities and sacred serpents all honored the regenerative powers of nature. "The Goddess in all her manifestations was a symbol of the unity of all life in Nature. Her power was in water and stone, in tomb and cave, in animals and birds, snakes and fish, hill, trees, and flowers." -- Marija Gimbutas

Old Europe is a term coined by archaeologist Marija Gimbutas to describe what she perceives as a relatively homogeneous and widespread pre-Indo-European Neolithic culture in Europe, particularly in Malta and the Balkans. In her major work, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500–3500 B.C. (1982), she refers to these Neolithic cultures as Old Europe. Archaeologists and ethnographers working within her framework believe that the evidence points to migrations of the peoples who spoke Indo-European languages at the beginning of the Bronze age (the Kurgan hypothesis). For this reason, Gimbutas and her associates regard the terms Neolithic Europe, Old Europe, and Pre-Indo-European as synonymous.

 Suggesting the Cucuteni-Tripolye as the source of PIE. Something I did wonder once after seeing a pretty old wheeled toy from that area. They were the most advanced civilisation (not too strong a word, they had small cities) of Neolithic Europe, and were one of the first cultures to use metal.

Cucuteni-Trypillian cow-on-wheels, 3950-3650 B.C


The World Oldest Wooden Wheel Found in Slovenia and Cucuteni Cow-on Weels Toy


 Tripolye as the source of PIE. Something I did wonder once after seeing a pretty old wheeled toy from that area. They were the most advanced civilisation (not too strong a word, they had small cities) of Neolithic Europe, and were one of the first cultures to use metal.

Cucuteni-Trypillian cow-on-wheels, 3950-3650 B.C

One of the more interesting points from it was that word for wheel you find in other languages seems to have a root in the PIE word to turn/rotate. As far as I know, the worlds oldest wheel is 5,300 BP, dragged up from a Slovenian Marsh.

Jim Mallory (1989: 163), on the other hand, goes a long way towards the here proposed solutionwith the following observations:

“Tomas Gamkrelidze and Vyach[e]slav Ivanov… have noted that … Proto-Indo-European *kwekwlo- bears striking similarity to the words for vehicles in Sumerian gigir, Semitic *galgal-, and Kartvelian *grgar. With the putative origin of wheeled vehicles set variously to Pontic-Caspian, Transcasucasia or to Sumer, we may be witnessing the original word for a wheeled vehicle in four different language families. Furthermore, as the Proto-Indo-European form is built on an Indo-European verbal root *kwel- ‘to turn, to twist’, it is unlikely that the Indo-Europeans borrowed their word from one of the other languages. This need not, of course, indicate that the Indo-Europeans invented wheeled vehicles, but it might suggest that they were in some form of contact relation with these Near Eastern languages in the fourth millennium BC.”

Since the Trypillians weren’t that far at all from the steppes area, I can see this might have some validity. The Dniester site is just in my ‘had wheels’ at the right time zone, and the timing isn’t massively far off. This might allow a compromise between the 9,000 BP ’first farmers’ and 5,500 BP ‘Kurgan’ theory, as they probably did speak the languge of the expanding farmers.

 The worlds oldest wooden wheel found in Slovenia, about 5,200 years old. Seen on the right. The wheel was found in April 2002, together with a squared oak axle, in the remains of a pile-dwelling settlement  

 The Andronovo culture ,strongly associated with the Indo-Iranians is often credited with the invention of the spoke-wheeled chariot around 2000 BCE.[3]

Sintashta is a site on the upper Ural River. It is famed for its grave-offerings, particularly chariot burials. These inhumations were in kurgans and included all or parts of animals (horse and dog) deposited into the barrow. Sintashta is often pointed to as the premier proto-Indo-Iranian site, and that the language spoken was still in the Proto-Indo-Iranian stage.[4] There are similar sites "in the Volga-Ural steppe".[5]



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Asemanari dintre cultura Cucuteni si cultura chineza Yangshao

Asemănări dintre cultura CUCUTENI și cultura chineză YANGSHAO
 Cine pe cine a influențat acum 6-7.000 de ani?

Cucuteni-yangshao 2
O altă mare enigmă a istoriei este născută de bulversanta asemănare dintre cultura Cucuteni, cea mai importantă cultură europeană a acelor vremuri, și cultura chineză Yangshao. Cele două culturi au fost contemporane (Cucuteni a evoluat între anii 5.000-3.500 î. Chr., în aceeași perioadă în care a ființat și Yangshao: 5.000-3.000 î. Chr.), iar dovezile istorice ne fac să credem că reprezentanții lor nu erau străini unii de alții, ba, mai mult, că aveau chiar relații comerciale și culturale.
Un lucru remarcabil de la prima vedere îl reprezintă faptul că ceramica celor două culturi se aseamănă uimitor de mult – simboluri, forme, culori atât de apropiate încât un nespecialist le-ar putea confunda cu ușurință. Să fie doar o misterioasă coincidență sau vorbim despre influențe concrete în ambele sensuri, ori măcar dintr-o direcție spre cealaltă?
Cucuteni-yangshao 1
Desigur, uriașa distanță dintre teritoriile ocupate de cele două civilizații ar putea să ne facă să credem că acest lucru nu era posibil acum 5-6-7.000 de ani. Să nu uităm însă că în urmă cu 2.000 de ani avem dovezi ale existenței Drumului Mătăsii, un drum comercial care lega China de Europa. Acest drum este considerat de unii cercetători, printre care și specialistul în preistorie André Leroi-Gourhan, un spațiu de schimburi între oameni încă din paleolitic, adică chiar dintr-o perioadă mai veche.
Drumul matasii
Ca o confirmare a acestei posibilități, în anul 2014, o descoperire de excepție făcută în România – scoaterea la lumină a unei locuințe pre-cucuteni, cu o vechime de aproximativ 7.200 de ani – a adus dovezi ale schimburilor comerciale dintre locuitorii de pe teritoriul României și cei din China…
Datorită excepționalei descoperiri de la Baia, în județul Suceava, o echipă de cercetători de la Universitatea din Cambridge a venit încă de anul trecut pentru a sprijini munca arheologilor români. Alături de arheologul Emil Ursu, directorul Muzeului Bucovinei, echipa de la Cambridge urmărește să stabilească modul în care acum 6-7.000 de ani se făceau schimburi de cereale între Europa și Asia, dar în special între Europa și China. Martin Kenneth Jones, specialist în arheologia biomoleculară a cerealelor și-a început cercetările în China, unde a găsit cereale aduse în acele vremuri din Europa, în timp ce în Europa a identificat cereale aduse din China.
Jones, vorbind despre descoperirea de la Baia: „Credem care are legatură cu culturile agricole din China. Am fost interesați de zece ani de această dezvoltare și am început munca în China pentru a înțelege mai bine ce este cu aceste produse agricole, cereale. În acea perioadă, pe vremea migrațiilor, transportul nu era atât de simplu, iar cum s-a făcut acesta este interesant”. (Mediafax)
Cucuteni-yangshao 3
Iată că, din perspectiva specialiștilor, o relație între cele două culturi este posibă. Dincolo de dovezile arheologice care pun în evidență schimburi de cereale între cele două continente, asemănarea ceramicii celor două culturi este frapantă și ne vorbește despre legături deosebit de interesante.
Cucuteni-yangshao 5
În munca de comparare a ceramicii celor două culturi, am găsit o serie de evidente asemănări, o parte dintre acestea fiind expuse în acest articol. Ceea ce este deosebit de interesant este și faptul că anumite obiecte de cult cucuteniene seamănă izbitor cu Pagodele Chinezești care, la rândul lor, sunt construcții destinate vieții religioase…
Nu în ultimul rând, trebuie să remarcăm că două dintre cele mai importante simboluri ale spațiului Asiatic (și implicit ale Chinei) – Yin Yang și Svastica – au fost descoperite pe ceramică cucuteniană mai veche de 6.000 de ani. Chiar mai mult, pe teritoriul României, simbolul svasticii apare și în cultura Turdaș Vinca, cu o vechime de 7.500 de ani.
În acest context, ne putem întreba dacă nu cumva culturile neolitice dezvoltate într-un spațiu care înglobează și România de azi, au creat influențe până departe în Asia, acest spațiu carpato-danubiano-pontic fiind nu numai Vatra Vechii Europe, după cum spun unii cercetători străini, ci și un loc de unde au pornit spre Asia populații care stau și la baza unor culturi de pe acest continent…
Pentru că, să nu uităm câteva lucruri remarcabile despre cultura Cucuteni:
– A fost vârful cultural, economic și social al Europei timp de 1.500 de ani, între 5.000-3.500 î. Chr.;
– Cucutenienii aveau case cu etaj și case pe piloni;
– Locuințele lor, unele de până la 200 de mp, erau compartimentate, fiecare cameră având o utilitate specifică;
– S-au descoperit așezări de aproape 20.000 de case, aranjate planimetric, ceea ce arată o organizare socială foarte bine pusă la punct, sugerând existența unor proto-orașe;
– Pasta ceramică cucuteniană ca și pigmenții folosiți sunt de o calitate excepțională, foarte greu de atins și cu tehnologia de astăzi. Practic, pasta ceramică și culorile sunt foarte bine păstrate, chiar și după ce au stat în pământ 7.000 de ani;
– Cucutenienii foloseau cuptoare de ardere cu reverberație, o minune tehnică pentru acea perioadă;
– Cultivau aproape toate cerealele și diverși pomi fructiferi…
Cucuteni-yangshao 4
În concluzie, avem aproape de noi o comoară culturală pe care statul român ar trebui să o valorifice la adevărata ei valoare. Peste toate, dovezile ne vorbesc despre legături și influențe uimitoare, la distanțe uriașe pentru acele vremuri. Cu timpul, poate că toți românii vor cunoaște istoria acestor locuri și o vor aprecia la adevărata valoare. Pentru că merită! Pentru că este și a noastră!

Religion and Ritual of the Cucuteni-Trypillian Culture

Religion and ritual of the Cucuteni–Trypillian culture


Cucuteni Shrine

The study of religion and ritual of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture has provided important insights into the early history of Europe. The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which existed in the present-day southeastern European nations of Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine during the Neolithic Age and Copper Age, from approximately 5500 BC to 2750 B.C., left behind thousands of settlement ruins containing a wealth of archaeological artifacts attesting to their cultural and technological characteristics.[1] Refer to the main article for a general description of this culture; this article deals with its religious and ritualistic aspects.

Some Cucuteni-Trypillian communities have been found that contain a special building located in the center of the settlement, which archaeologists have identified as sacred sanctuaries. Artifacts have been found inside these sanctuaries, some of them having been intentionally buried in the ground within the structure, that are clearly of a religious nature, and have provided insights into some of the beliefs, and perhaps some of the rituals and structure, of the members of this society. Additionally, artifacts of an apparent religious nature have also been found within many domestic Cucuteni-Trypillian homes.

Many of these artifacts are clay figurines or statues. Archaeologists have identified many of these as fetishes or totems, which are believed to be imbued with powers that can help and protect the people who look after them. These Cucuteni-Trypillian figurines have become known popularly as Goddesses, however, this is actually a misnomer from a scientific point of view. There have been so many of these so-called clay Goddesses discovered in Cucuteni-Trypillian sites that many museums in eastern Europe have a sizeable collection of them, and as a result, they have come to represent one of the more readily-identifiable visual markers of this culture to many people.

Archaeological artifacts

As mentioned above, beginning in the Precucuteni III period (circa 4800-4600 BC), special communal sanctuary buildings began to appear in Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements. They continued to exist during the Cucuteni A and Cucuteni A/B (corresponding to Trypillian B) periods (circa 4600-3800 BC), but then for some reason these sanctuaries began to disappear, until in the Cucuteni B (Trypillian C) period (circa 3800-3500 BC) only a few examples have been discovered from archaeological exploration. These sanctuaries were constructed in a monumental style architecture, and included stelae, statues, shrines, and numerous other ceremonial and religious artifacts, sometimes packed in straw inside pottery.[2]


Some of these artifacts originally seemed to represent themes that are Chthonic (of the Underworld), and Celestial/Heavenly, or of the sky. During an excavation in 1973 at the Cucuteni-Trypillian site at Ghelăiești, near the city of Neamț, Romania, archaeologist Ștefan Cucoș discovered a house in the center of the settlement that was the community sanctuary. The following account written by Croatian archeologist Marina Hoti describes the findings within this sanctuary:

In the southeast corner of the house a vase surrounded by six vases was found under the floor. The central vase was turned upside down, covering another vessel with a lid, in which four anthropomorphic figurines were found, arranged in a cross and looking to the four sides of the world. Two figurines were decorated with lines and had completely black heads and legs; the other two were not colored but they had traces of ocher red.[3]

Ritual vessel discovered at Ghelăești‎ containing four clay figurines
Cutaway diagram of the vessel

Refer to the two accompanying images for a visual depiction of the four figurines within the upturned pot buried in the sanctuary at the Ghelăiești site. Subsequent analysis of this discovery has led to a number of interpretations by various scholars over the years. Ștefan Cucoș, who discovered the artifact, included other symbols discovered at Ghelăiești, including snake-like depictions, the cross-shape of altars, and swastika designs, concluded that it was associated with a ritual of fertility dedicated to the Goddess, associating the black-painted figurines with chthonic themes, and the red ocher-painted figurines with celestial, or heavenly themes.[4] Hungarian archaeologist János Makkay also supported a fertility ritual interpretation. Marija Gimbutas, Lithuanian archaeologist and author of "The Civilization of the Goddess", interpeted this discovery as a dualistic interpretation of summer and winter, representing the cycle of life and death in nature.

However, later analysis of this discovery incorporated the entire setting in which these painted figurines were found: specifically, that they were buried under an upturned ceramic vessel. Comparing this find with other similar discoveries from contemporary cultures in Isaiia and Poduri[5], scholars developed a theory that the tableau taken in its setting, being buried beneath the floor of the sanctuary, and with the four figurines facing outward to the four cardinal directions, represented a means to protect the sanctuary and settlement from evil. The black heads of the figurines were associated with death, and the red ocher was painted on the figurines on the precise body parts that the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture painted on the body parts of their dead before burial. These figurines, therefore, most likely represented departed souls, or beings from the underworld (land of the dead). By enclosing them in an overturned vessel, and burying this entire arrangement under the floor of the sanctuary, they were protecting the settlement from the evil influences these figurines represented by creating a magical sigil of protection.[3]

Mother Goddess figurines

As evidence from archaeology, thousands of artifacts from Neolithic Europe have been discovered, mostly in the form of female figurines. As a result a goddess theory has occurred. The leading historian was Marija Gimbutas, still this interpretation is a subject of great controversy in archaeology due to her many inferences about the symbols on artifacts.[6]

Goddess design on ceramic pot
Goddess design earrings
Rhombus design used as a symbol for fertility[7]

Some researchers consider that the symbols used for representing the feminity are the rhombus for fertility and the triangle as a symbol for fecundity.[7] The cross, symbolizing nature's power of fertility and renewal, was sometimes used to represent masculinity, as well as the phases of the moon.[8]

"Circle of Goddesses" figurines

This ritual assemblies lay in a vase that had a very anomalous shape to the Precucuteni style and were full of soil and straw. The cultic objects were put on display and worshiped during magic-religious ceremonies. The repeated use of them is proven by the presence of some chipping from wear. When not in motion, they were probably stored in this special container. The presence of soil under some statuettes kept in the vase, and the evidence of cariossids on the surface of two figurines and four stools, led some researchers to hypothesize that the pieces had been deposited in soil and straw for magical purposes: they had been left to bud. all the statues were distinct. Some of them bear geometrical decorations. There were observed mature statuettes (that have already given birth), young statuettes (that have not yet given birth), and a babies . Only the mature figurines may sit by right on clay stools.

Goddess with the double triangle (hourglass) design and "bird hands".[9]
Bird Goddesses

Bird goddess figurines

According to some researchers as Gimbutas, Lazarocici, for the Precucuteni communities, mythic birds possibly embodied a solar principle and the revival of the life, serving as a symbol of prosperity and protection.

Funerary rites

One of the unanswered questions regarding the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture is the small number of artifacts associated with funerary rites. Although very large settlements have been explored by archaeologists, the evidence for mortuary activity is almost invisible. Making a distinction between the eastern Tripolye and the western Cucuteni regions of the Cucuteni-Trypillian geographical area, American archaeologist Douglass W. Bailey writes:

There are no Cucuteni cemeteries and the Tripolye ones that have been discovered are very late.

[10](p115) The discovery of skulls is more frequent then other parts of the body, however because there has not yet been a comprehensive statistical survey done of all of the skeletal remains discovered at Cucuteni-Trypillian sites, precise post excavation analysis of these discoveries cannot be accurately determined at this time.

Some historians have contrasted the funerary practices of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture with the neighboring Linear Pottery culture, which existed from 5500-4500 BC in the region of present-day Hungary and extending westward into central Europe, making it coincide with the Precucuteni to Cucuteni A Phases. Archaeological evidence from the Linear Pottery sites have shown that they practiced cremation, as well as inhumation (or burial). However, there appears to have been a distinction made in the Linear-Pottery culture on where the bodies were interred, based on gender and social dominance. Women and children were found to be buried beneath the floor of the house, while men were missing, indicating some other practice was associated with how they dealt with the dead bodies of males. One of the conclusions drawn from this evidence was espoused by Marija Gimbutas, author of The Civilization of the Goddess: The world of Old Europe, in which she theorizes that women and children were associated with hearth and home, and so they would be buried beneath it as an act of connecting their bodies to the home.[11]

Collectively taking these characteristics of the neighboring Linear Pottery culture into consideration, scholars have theorized that additional Cucuteni-Tryilian sites may be found, including locations that may be detached from the main settlements, where there may be evidence of the practice of cremation. Archaeologists have discussed broadening the search areas around known Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements to cover a much wider area, and to employ modern techniques to help try to find evidence of outlying sites where evidence of funerary activities could be found.[12]

In addition to cremation and burial, other possible methods of disposing of the bodies of the dead have been suggested. Romanian archaeologists Silvia Marinescu-Bîlcu and Alexandra Bolomey suggest a common practice of abandoning the body to the mercy of Mother Nature,[13](p157) a practice that may be somewhat similar to the Zoroastrian tradition of placing the bodies of the dead on top of a Tower of Silence (or Dakhma), which are then fed upon by carrion birds.

Russian archaeologist Tamara Grigorevna Movsha proposed a theory in 1960 to explain the absence of some bones were considered to have magic powers and were scattered on purpose across the settlement.[14]

Others have suggested the practices of cannibalism (known also as anthrophagy), or excarnation, which is the practice of removing the flesh and organs of the dead, leaving only the bones. Romanian archaeologist Sergiu Haimovici writes about such a discovery:

...Alexandra Bolomey...made a review[15]) of a series of...human remains, (and) least partly, (that) they have a cultic character and maybe antropophagy [sic] of (a) cultic type.[16]

This would indicate that perhaps some ritualistic cannibalism was practiced among the Cucuteni-Trypillian tribes.

The only conclusion which can be draw from archeological evidence is that in the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture that in the vast majority of cases the bodies were not formally deposited within the settlement area.[10](p116)


Various researchers have some hypotheses about Cucuteni rituals:

  1. Incineration Ritual of Cucuteni-Trypillya houses, most probable associated with interment and immolation.
  2. a ritual, who consider sacrifice buried under houses or on settlement, animals, their heads or parts, possibly associated with immolation ceremony.[17]
  3. a ritual, who consist in burying (by interment) under dwellings or on settlement of human skulls, bone, sometimes burnt, the deceased with stock, possibly is also associated with immolation.
  4. Rituals, associated with use of fire, when into pit, exclusive of ashes get the various things, possibly immolation oddments. Also some researchers argue, that in some rituals Cucuteni culture has use anthropomorphous, zoomorphous clay figurines, binocular vessels.[18]

 See also


  1. ^ Mallory, James P (1989). In search of the Indo-Europeans: language, archaeology and myth. London: Thames and Hudson. ISBN 050005052X. OCLC 246601873. 
  2. ^ Lazarovici, Cornelia-Magda (2005). "Anthropomorphic statuettes from Cucuteni-Trypillian site: some signs and symbols" (in English with introductory matter and summaries also in Slovenian). Documenta Praehistorica. Neolitske študije (Ljubljana: Univerza v Ljubljani, Filozofska fakulteta, Oddelek za arheologijo) 32: 145–154. ISSN 1408-967X. OCLC 41553667. 
  3. ^ a b Hoti, Marina (December 1993). "[Vučedol-Streim vineyard: the magical ritual and the twin grave of the Vučedol-Culture]" (in Croatian (Hrvatski), with English translation appended). Vučedol-Streimov vinograd: magijski ritual i dvojni grob vučedolske kulture. Opvscvla Archaeologica Radovi Arheološkog zavoda (Opvscvla Archaeologica Papers of the Department of Archaeology). 17. Zagreb: Arheoloski institut Sveucilista. pp. 183 to 205. ISSN 0473-0992. OCLC 166882629. Retrieved 5 December 2009. 
  4. ^ Cucoș, Ștefan (1973). "Un complexe ritual cucutenien découvert a Ghelăiești, dép. Neamț [A complex Cucutenian ritual discovered at Ghelăiești, Neamț County)]" (in Romanian). Studii și cercetări de istorie veche (SCIV) (Bucharest: Academia Republici Socialiste Romania. Institutul de arheologie) 24 (2): 207–215. ISSN 0039-4009. OCLC 320530095. 
  5. ^ Marinescu-Bîlcu, Silvia (1974). ""Dansul ritual" în reprezentările plastice neo eneolitice din Moldova [Neo-plastic representations of Neolithic "Dance ritual" of Moldova]" (in Romanian). Studii și cercetări de istorie veche și arheologie (SCIVA) (Bucharest: Academia Română, Institutul de Arheologie Vasile Pârvan) 25 (2): 167. ISSN 0039-4009. OCLC 183328819. 
  6. ^ Collins, Gloria "Will the "Great Goddess" resurface?: Reflections in Neolithic Europe" Austen, Texas: University of Texas at Austen Retrieved 1 December 2009This site was a student brief done for a class assignment. 
  7. ^ a b Chirica, Vasile (2004). "Teme ale reprezentării "Marii Zeițe" în arta paleolitică și neolitică [The "Marii Zeițe" theme represented in paleolithic and neolithic art]" (in Romanian). Memoria antiquitatis (Piatra Neamț: Muzeului de Istorie Piatra Neamț) 23: 103–127. ISSN 1222-7528. OCLC 183318963. 
  8. ^ Gimbutas, Marija Alseikaitė (1974), The gods and goddesses of old Europe, 7000 to 3500 BC: myths, legends and cult images, London: Thames & Hudson, pp. 303, ISBN 0500050147, OCLC 979750, 
  9. ^ Gimbutas, Marija Alseikaite; Dexter, Miriam Robbins (1999), The Living Goddesses, Berkeley: University of Calififornia Press, pp. 286, ISBN 0520213939, OCLC 237345793, 
  10. ^ a b Bailey, Douglass W. (2005). Prehistoric figurines: representation and corporeality in the Neolithic. London; New York: Routledge. OCLC 56686499. 
  11. ^ Gimbutas, Marija Alseikaitė (1991), The civilization of the Goddess: the world of Old Europe, San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, ISBN 0-06-250368-5, OCLC 123210574, 
  12. ^ Boghian, Dumitru D. (2004) (in Romanian, with translations in English (translated by Sergiu Ruptaș and Alexandru Dan Boghian) and French (translated by Otilia Ignătescu)), Comunitățile cucuteniene din bazinul Bahluiului (rezumat), Suceava, Romania: Editura Bucovina Istorică şi Editura Universităţii, Universitatea "Ştefan cel Mare" Suceava (Bukovina Publishing House and University Publishing House, The "Ştefan cel Mare" University of Suceava),, retrieved 11 December 2009 (07 April 2008)This is a summary written by the author of a monograph with the same title, and posted to his online blog Eneoliticul est-carpatic (Eneolithic Eastern Carpathian) 
  13. ^ Marinescu-Bîlcu, Silvia; Bolomey, Alexandra; Cârciumaru, Marin (2000), Drăgușeni: a Cucutenian community, Archaeologia Romanica, 2, Bucharest: Editura Enciclopedică, pp. 198, ISBN 9734503294, OCLC 48400843 
  14. ^ Movsha, Tamara Grigorevna (1960), К вопросу о трипольских погребениях с обрядом трупоположения, Chişinău: USSR Academy of Sciences, pp. 59–76 
  15. ^ Bolomey, Alexandra (1983). "Noi descoperiri de oase umane într-o așezare Cucuteniană [New discovery of human bones in a Cucuteni site]" (in Romanian). Cercetǎri arheologice. Colecția Istorie și civilizație (History and Civilization Collection) (Bucharest: Bucuresti Glasul Bucovinei) 6: 159–173. OCLC 224531079. 
  16. ^ Haimovici, Sergiu (2003). "The human bone with possible marks of human teeth found at Liveni site (Cucuteni culture)" (in English, translated from the Romanian by Monica Popa). Studia Antiqua et Archaeologica (Iaşi, Romania: Iaşi University) 9: 97–100. OCLC 224741260. Retrieved 9 December 2009. 
  17. ^ Piatra Neamt permanent exposition
  18. ^ The Sacral World and the Magic Space of Trypillya Civilization (5400 - 2750 BC) © Natalija Burdo 2001

External links



Trypillian Culture


The ancient Sumerians used to answer the question "When was the World created ?" in the following way - "When people began to eat bread and melt metall in the houses of our country...". Of course, they meant their own Country.  But what was happening  in Europe and  Ukraine  when "everything was just beginning in Sumer?" Was it really true that people there were living in caves and kurens, as they did  in the Stone Age?

In reality, archaeologists have discovered  in Europe many bright civilizations  dating back to the period  between 6000-3000 BC. for the last hundred years. Among them you can find the following: Vinca, Gumelnica, Cucuteni - Trypillia. Scientists have explored many old settlements, some of them have got fortifications. Scientists have found  some traces of very old metallurgy, which flourished between 5000-4500 BC on the Balkans, graves with golden treasures, and clay tables with inscriptions. These investigations have given an opportunity to make the reconstruction of  "Civilization of Old Europe". The borders of this civilization  ranged from Eastern Italy to the Dnipro river, from the Carpathians to the Aegean and Black Seas.

In the autumn of 1996, Vikenty Khvoika, an archaeologist from Kiev, discovered some traces of this forgotten civilization: hundreds of burnt houses with strange pottery and clay figurines on the hills near the small town of Trypillia and nearby villages: Veremia, Scherbanivka, Khalepia  Staiky and others.

After one hundred years of intensive investigations we know about thousands of Trypillia culture villages, from the Chernivtsi  domain (region) in the  West to the Kiev domain (region) in the East. More than 80 books and thousands of articles have been written and published about "Trypillia archaeological culture"/ Five generations of archaeologists  (about 250 scientists from 12 countries!) have explored Trypillia antiquities for more than 130 years.  Many opinions and theories have been changed for this period of time.For example, according to V.Khvoika Trypillians lived in  earth-houses and kurens .

Now archaeologists have proved, that ancient people built comfortable houses (among them - two-storied), monumental temples and fortifications.  Among Trypillia culture settlements scientists have discovered ... cities! .

Historical memory, impressed in Indo-European languages, gives  trustworthy evidences of the fact that the ancestors of Europeans had a notion about cities between 4000-3000 BC  It had been  long before  the palaces on Crete and Golden Mycenaes were built. But where are they,  the ruins of the first European cities? If they have not been discovered for  hundred years of archaeological investigations, may be it is only an old myth of Europe?

a military topographer Konstantyn Shyshkinon discovered some traces of large ancient settlements on the pictures made with the help of aerial photography. They have an area from one to four square km. The first reaction of archaeologists was somewhat sceptical, sometimes negative: "it can not be so, because it is simply impossible".

But the first field investigations confirmed this discovery. Carbon dates of these settlements were between 4200 - 2750 DC. So, more than one millennium of European  urban civilization history was opened.

Archaeological and archaeometry investigations step by step half-opened this page of Prehistory. It was a large problem  to make the  plans of  such  large settlements, buried under the ground. It was impossible to dig them on such large territory. Doing it demanded more than one hundred years of excavations of only  one settlement!

This problem was solved by Valerii Dudkin. In 1971-1974 he carried out magnetic  survey at Maydanetske, on the area about 180 hectares. It took him four seasons to make the plan on which there were 1575 anomalies from burnt houses. All buildings were detected to within 1 m. He continued this work in other places More than 40 plans of Trypillian villages in Ukraine and Moldova, dated before 5000-2750 BC. have been made for 20 years of investigations. Among them there were seven proto-cities, by the way,  Talianki, which had an area of about 450 ha, was the largest in Europe (dated near 3700 - 3500BC). To receive such information by digging, archaeologists would require about a  millennium... Using these plans, Ukrainian archaeologists explored more than 200 different objects  and collected much information about the Trypillia civilization and Trypillians.

The houses of Trypillia proto-cities were built closely one to another, like terraced houses, making up at least two lines of fortification. The first line occupied the center, and the second one was at the distance equivalent to the flight of an arrow from the first line. The scale is extremely impressive : the elliptical form of the citadel of Maydanetz was 1 km long and that of Tallyanki- 3,5 km long! (We will see the same architectural layout at Arkaim but on a much smaller scale WMB)

People, who created this ancient civilization, mastered the leading technologies of the  Copper Age : farming, cattle-breeding, metallurgy. They had a great amount of good soils, which gave them the possibility to change places of settling every 50-80 years. They had good knowledge of agriculture and adapted it to the local conditions. It is interesting, that  some of this husbandry models outlasted Trypillians, were used in the Bronze and Early Iron Ages , and survived till the  Middle Ages in Ukraine.

Trypillian achievements at crafts really impress and surprise,  especially in metallurgy and  pottery producing. The level of  skills in copper casting and  forging in most parameters are equal to the contemporary knowledge. Trypillians used potters wheel and two-tiered  furnaces. Their painted pottery have fresh colours after 6000 years staying underground.

The beauty of Trypillia culture lies in its pottery and clay sculpture perfection of  which cannot but impress you. The pottery used to be fired in two-tiered furnaces, then the things were painted, carved and encrusted. The whole world outlook of the prehistoric farmers was expressed in the ornament : the Land and Underground World, the Sky, the Sun, the Moon, the Stars, the Plants, Animals and People. The ancient paintings speak to us from the depth of the centuries in the  forgotten language many  of their creators once adressed  gods, now forgotten. Only they, old gods of Europeans  understood this language of symbols and signs. Observant people can see complete "texts" composed in ornaments: it is raining, the grain is falling on the ground, it is sprouting...

  The Trypillian people built their houses mostly from the wood. They had to cut thousands trees with stone or copper axes for this purpose. Their first settlements were not large - from 7 to 14 houses, but later a real cities with thousands of buildings emerged. The houses they built had a frame-columnar constriction. The walls were made from the wood or the reeds and coated with a clay and painted over with a charcoal mixed with water. This kind of buildings, which appeared in the Trypillian time, still exists in the forest-steppes of Ukraine.

Archeologists found models of the Trypillian houses and temples made from clay. Most of them had a two-story construction, which shows that Trypillians had a multistory buildings. The floors were made from the wood and coated with a clay similar to the wall's construction. The second story usually was utilized as a living floor, and the first was used for the household needs, like a storage and for keeping domesticated animals. The floors and the walls were painted in red and white colors and decorated with a geometrical ornamental pattern, which probably had a spiritual meaning and protected the inhabitants from  bad luck.

The living rooms were heated with an open fire or a primitive stove. Usually, there was a long clay bench along one of the inside walls to store products, tools and personal belongings. Often there was clay or stone mortar near the bench for grinding harvested grains into flour.  The sole rounded window was located in a wall opposite to the entrance. Under the the window there was rounded or cruciform clay altar. The altar was painted in red color and decorated with a dug-like spiral ornamental pattern (see our "ornaments and symbols" section of the museum). The total useful area of a Trypillia house was from 60 up to 300 sq. meters. It is known that Trypillians had also a special structures, which were used as public buildings and temples.   At the earlier stages of the Trypillia culture, settlements were comparatively small, made up of no more than a dozen houses, but gradually some of the settlements reached the size of a town with hundreds or even thousands of houses in it. In the 1960s, in the Land of Umanshchyna, Cherkasy Oblast, thanks to aerial photography huge Trypillia settlements, spread over areas of many hectares, were discovered — Sushkivka, 27 hectares; Chycherkozivka, 50 hectares; Pyanizhkove, 60 hectares; Kosenivka, 70 hectares; Vilkhovets, 110 hectares; Dobrovody, 250 hectares; Maydanetske, 270 hectares; Nebelivka, 300 hectares; Talyanka, 450 hectares (there are two and a half acres in a hectare).

The new methods and sophisticated technology used in determining historical dates enable us to get a more clear picture of the position of the Trypillia culture among other contemporaneous European cultures and cultures in other parts of the world.

The discovery of Trypillia settlements of enormous sizes which may, in fact, be called towns and which date to the fourth millennium BCE, make them unique for their time. No settlements of such sizes have been discovered so far neither in Mesopotamia nor in Egypt, the seats of the world’s most ancient civilizations. The major cities of the Indus Valley, Mohenjo-Daro and Harappa arose about a thousand years later, in the mid-third millennium.    After 3,500–3,300 BCE a decline of the Trypillia culture began. The reasons for the decline are not clear, but it coincided with the considerable changes in climate which brought the average temperatures down. The Trypillia people must have begun moving to other areas, losing most of their cultural and technological achievements in the process. But some of them were nevertheless preserved for posterity.





Archaeological excavations of dr.Mykola Shmaglij and dr.Mykhailo Videiko,1971-1991, Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine. Maydanets, Ukraine is a 4th millennium BC site of the Trypillian culture with up to 10,000 citizens total , the total areas is approximately 250 ha, settlement was in an oval plan 1,5 km long and 1,1 km wide there were 1575 houses.



Trypilian culture (Trypil'ska kultura) is the Ukrainian name given to a Neolithic population whose culture once flourished on the ethnically Ukrainian territories of present-day Ukraine, Moldova, and the northeast area of Romania. The parallel Romanian name is "Cucuteni" culture. Both these names derive from the villages where artifacts of this culture were first discovered in Ukraine and in Romania, respectively. The Trypilia site is near Kyiv (Kiev), the capitol of Ukraine, and the Cucuteni site is near Iasi in Romania, near the Moldovian border.

In her book (ref *1), Marija Gimbutas stated: "Tripolya (sic) is one of the best explored and richest cultures of Old Europe, a true civilization in the best meaning of the word."
The Trypilian population's primordial deity was female, and their culture developed rich and complex artistic symbols rooted in their religious beliefs based on the Great Goddess and her various aspects as Giver-of-Life, Wielder of Death, and Regeneratrix. This symbolic system reflects the natural, yet "represents cyclical, non-linear, mythical time."

 Location in Europe

The earliest evidences of Trypilian culture (view refs. *2a & *3) are found on both sides of the middle Dniester and Boh rivers as well as the upper and middle Prut and Siret rivers in western Ukraine, and in Moldova (formerly Romania). Ultimately, the Trypilia culture extended from the lands east of the Dnipro river (Dnieper) near present-day Kyiv thru the southwest steppe areas of Ukraine, and to an area just southwest the Siret river (in present-day Romania).

The Trypilia site, 35 km south of Kyiv, was excavated ca.1898 by V. Khvoika (ref *2b). The Cucuteni site on the Prut River near Iasi was discovered in 1884 and excavated in 1901-10 by Hubert Schmidt, then again in 1961-65 by M. Petrescu-Dimbovita. There are many other sites in and near Ukraine that have been found and excavated.

 Social Structure

Trypilian culture had a matriarchal clan order. Women did agricultural work, headed households, manufactured pottery, textiles and clothing and had a leading role in society. Men hunted, kept domestic animals, and prepared tools of flint, stone and bone.


Artifacts of this culture consist most notably of terra cotta pottery, bichrome & trichrome painted using predominately black, red, and white mineral-based paints. "The quality of the Trypilian ceramic production surpassed all contemporary creations of Old Europe."(ref *1)


 Trypilian artifacts shown: various pottery, bone and flint knives.
The large, standing pot is appox. 26cm high)
(Photo by Tania Diakiw O'Neill) (ref *4)

Trypilian artifacts shown: various pottery, bone and flint knives.
The large, standing pot is appox. 26cm high)
(Photo by Tania Diakiw O'Neill) (ref *4)

A terra cotta scale-model of a two-storied building was found at the Trypilia site in Ukraine. Excavation at Cucuteni showed this unique Trypilian model was a representation of actual two-story structures of this culture.(ref*1)

Female forms and figurines (many painted or incised, some with fertile-field symbols), as well as various animals and zoomorphous vessels, sleighs, all scale-modeled in terra cotta or clay, have also been found.
The finer, more elaboate forms (figurines, pots, jars, bowls, amphorae, and two-bowled joined vessels) were ornamented with painted or incised lines, spirals and egg-shaped motifs, and other shapes and/or line elements such as parallel or cross-hatched lines in enclosed fields, and zig-zags with or without hooks. There were also articles of everyday use such as spindle whorls and loom weights, and everyday gray pottery made of undecorated clay mixed with sand and small broken shells.

Interestingly, impressions of plain evenweave cloth (ref*3) and pattern-woven textiles (ref*5) have been found on the bottoms of some Trypilian pottery, showing they had been set to air-dry on that woven cloth before being fired. These lands are known to grow flax (linen) and hemp since time immemorial. This workaday use of evenweave fabric, the clay spindle whorls and loom weights all indicate that this population was agrarian, with well-developed textile crafts of spinning, weaving, and very likely needlework, which was used to join cloth and make clothing. No actual cloth has survived from that culture to our time. However, the symbols that are found on the artifacts of Trypilia and those associated with the Great Goddess have persisted into the present in most Ukrainian folk arts, especially those of pysanky (Ukrainian Easter eggs) and textile arts, including Ukrainian folk embroidery. (Future links being constructed; stay tuned.)  

Kyiv Mohyla Academy

Trypillian Civilization Program

By Dr. M. Videiko

Among the agricultural proto-civilizations of ancient Europe, the Trypillian proto-civilization existed from the 6th until the end of 4th millennium BC. This was  contemporary to proto-civilizations in Egypt, Mesopotamia, Hindus valley, and China. During this period these proto-civilizations were at approximately the same level of development. During the 5th millennium BC, when agricultural proto-civilizations in the Balkans and Central Europe were gradually disappearing, the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture (in Ukraine, on the boundaries of the European "civilized world" of that time) continued to flourish for another millennium. Proto-cities, monumental architecture, first foundations, handicrafts (metallurgies, weaving, ceramics), denotation systems as written language, all continued to develop and are reasons to consider Trypillia as one of the most interesting and developed proto-civilizations.

Remains of  burnt dwellings. Maydanets’ke, Cherkassy domain. Excavated by M.Shmaglij and M.Videiko, 1988.

Trypilian culture (Trypil'ska kultura) is the Ukrainian name given to a Neolithic population whose culture once flourished on the ethnically Ukrainian territories of present-day Ukraine, Moldova, and the northeast area of Romania. The parallel Romanian name is "Cucuteni" culture. Both these names derive from the villages where artifacts of this culture were first discovered in Ukraine and in Romania, respectively. The Trypilia site is near Kyiv (Kiev), the capitol of Ukraine, and the Cucuteni site is near Iasi in Romania, near the Moldovian border.



Reconstruction of Trypillya-culture proto-city near Maydanets'ke
 Picture at:
  Talianki (Tallianki, Tal'anky), Umanskyi Raion, Ukraine is a 4th millennium BC site of the Trypillian culture. The two most prominent features of the Trypillian civilization are the colorful ornamental pottery and the sizable proto-cities. The latter were discovered only 30 years ago with the help of aerial photography. Carbon dating places some of these cities at 4,200 - 2,750 BCE.

Talianki is the largest known Tripyllian settlement. It covered an area of about 450 ha and stretched over 3.5 km in diameter 3.5km x 1.1km and had 15.000 citizens in 2700 houses. The largest buildings were truly immense, 300-600 meters long with many rooms, with the walls and ceilings decorated with black and red patterns.

Situated between the villages of Legedzine and Tallianki, along the road Uman, the site was excavated from 1981 under V. Kruts. By the 3rd millennium BC, the site kurgans of the Yamna culture appear at the site (see Kurganization).

Collections from excavations in Talianki are exhibited in Cherkasy regional museum, Museum of Agriculture in Talne and Institute of Archaeology NAS of Ukraine in Kiev. 

 Vase with polychrome paint decoration from the Cucuteni culture (phase A3). Can fragments of similar vases have been imported ? Having been found on the tell of Hârsova, one supposes (commercial ?) contacts between the Gumelnita and Cucuteni people (origin : Frumusica, district : Neamt).

Decline and end of the Cucuteni–Trypillian culture

The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture existed in southeastern Europe, in the present nations of Moldova, Romania, and Ukraine, during the Neolithic Age, from approximately 5500 BC to 2750 B.C. The members of this culture left behind thousands of settlement ruins containing a wealth of archaeological finds attesting to their cultural and technological characteristics. Refer to the main article for a general description of this culture; this article deals with the aspects regarding this culture's decline and end. Due partly to the fact that this took place before the written record of this region began, there have been a number of theories presented over the years to fill the gap of knowledge about how and why the end of this culture happened. These theories include invasions from various groups of people, a gradual cultural shift as more advanced societies settled in their region, and environmental collapse.

End of the Copper Age

In the larger perspective, the end of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture marked the boundary between the Copper Age and the Bronze Age. The Copper Age, also known as the Eneolithic and Chalcolithic periods, lasted in Europe from roughly 3500 to 1700 B.C., however, it ended for this culture between 3000-2750 B.C. There is no firm point in time when this happened, since it was done over a period of many years, as first one area and then another would become integrated into the new Bronze Age civilization. Because the Cucuteni-Trypillian society was almost entirely egalitarian (with no ruling elite), there was no dramatic change of government for the whole region, as is the case when modern nations go to war and are defeated. The Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements existed independently from each other, so each experienced its own separate fate as the end of their culture swept over them, making the transition to the Bronze Age a complex and gradual process, rather than as a result of a single event.

Although there were many other Neolithic and Eneolithic cultures in eastern Europe during this time, the Cucuteni-Trypillian was probably the most advanced and influential, due to its robust settlements, highly-refined ceramic art, and location.[1] This culture was situated astride the natural "highway" between Central Asia and Europe, which may have directly contributed to its demise as other cultures from the east moved into this region following the route across the grassy plains that lie to the north and northwest of the Black Sea. Because the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture was so robust, it continued to spread into new regions as new settlements were built to accommodate the increasing population. This was especially the case in the latter period of its existence, when Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements began to pop up across the unsettled region of what is today western Ukraine.

The Old European culture and the Kurgan hypothesis

In the 1950s, as a result of the cultural renaissance that was part of the Khrushchev Thaw that took place after Joseph Stalin's death in 1953, a massive program of archaeological excavations was sponsored by the Soviet Union, which included Cucuteni-Trypillian sites that are located in the now-independent nations of Ukraine and Moldova. As Soviet scholars began publishing their findings and analyses from these excavations, a new model began to emerge among some members of the international academic community that revised the way that scholars had perceived how the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture ended, among other things.[1] This new model inspired the creation of two theories that came to be known as the Old European culture and the Kurgan hypothesis.[2] Some of the more notable people who helped to formulate and support these theories included:

To illustrate these two theories, the table below juxtaposes the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which Gimbutas included as one of the Old European culture societies, against the Yamna culture (also known as the Pit grave culture), which was the society that Gimbutas suggested was the most likely candidate for being the Proto-Indo-European group that was active in the first wave of the Kurgan conquests of Old European cultures.[3] Here, then, are the basic details about these two cultures, according to Gimbutas:


Linear Pottery Culture

The Linear Pottery culture or (German) Linearbandkeramik (abbr. LBK), Bandkeramik, Linear Band Pottery culture, Linear (Band) Ware culture, Linear Ceramics culture, Danubian I culture of V. Gordon Childe, Early Danubian culture or Incised Ware Group is a major archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic (stone age), flourishing ca. 5500—4500 BC. The heaviest concentrations are on the middle Danube, the upper and middle Elbe, and the upper and middle Rhine. The LBK represents the advent of agriculture into this part of the world. The LBK at maximum extent ranged from about the line of the Seine—Oise (Paris Basin) eastward to the line of the Vistula and upper Dniester, and southward to the line of the upper Danube down to the big bend. An extension ran through the Western Bug river valley, leaped to the valley of the Dniester, and swerved southward from the middle Dniester to the lower Danube in eastern Romania, east of the Carpathians.
Coming from the north and northeast, the tribes of the linear ceramic cultures established themselves in the east occupying a part of the earlier territory of the Starcevo-Cris culture, then expanded their territory to the southeast of Transylvania and to the northeast of Valachia.Vases from Glavanesti Noi represent this culture.



Cernavoda Culture


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  Cernavodă culture, ca. 40003200 BC, a late copper age archaeological culture of the lower Eastern Bug River and Danube located along the coast of the Black Sea and somewhat inland. It is named after the Romanian town of Cernavodă.

It is a successor to and occupies much the same area of the earlier neolithic Gumelniţa culture, for which a destruction horizon seems to be evident.

It is characterized by defensive hilltop settlements. The pottery shares characteristics with that found further east on the South-Russian Steppes. Burials similarly bear a resemblance to those further east.

It is considered part of the "Balkan-Danubian complex" that stretches up the entire length of the river, and into northern Germany via the Elbe and the Baden culture. Its northeastern portion is said to be ancestral the Usatovo culture.

In later times, the region is linguistically Dacian and Thracian.



The Cernavoda I Culture


MNIR n° 11651, long. 17 cm
Part of a limestone "scepter" with representation of horse head with harness Cernavoda I culture. This object, probably a symbol of power, brings direct proof of the use of horses by the people of the Pontic steppes (origin : Casimcea, district : Constanta).

Site eponym : Cernavoda "Dealul Sofia" on the right bank of the Danube in Dobrogea.
Dates : End of the ancient Chacolithic, middle of the fourth millennium, BC.
Geographical Setting : Probably a progressive migratory movement coming from the Pontic steppes. A territory essentially covering
Dobrogea, the east of Muntenia and the northeast of Bulgaria.
Habitation : situated on the mountainsides or in the highlands, re-occupying the Gumelnita culture settlements sometimes and often surrounded by ditches

Material Means : Almost a complete rupture from the previous culture's development. Use of shell chips and clay with rope or cord-style are very characteristic of the pottery and ceramics. Stone scepters. Limited use of copper.
Funeral Rites : Burial and graves under funeral mounds or flattened pits, both isolated and grouped in to a Necropolis.

Through its Eneolithic elements, the Cernavoda I culture completes a major stage of cultural evolution and marks the transition between the Neolithic era and the Bronze Age with its new social and cultural structure. Through an uninterrupted cultural evolution, from new historical transformations, beginning with Cernavoda I and continuing with Cernavoda II and Cernavoda III, we arrive at the foundation of Indo-European culture.
The Cernavoda I culture is diffused throughout an area covering Dobrogea, east of Munténie and North-East of Bulgaria. Its relationships to the other cultures are, however, much more intense notably its contacts with Cucuteni A4 and AB, Usatovo, Foltesti, Maiaki, Salcuta, Bodrogkesrestur, Suplevce, Troia I, Ezero...

MNIR n° 291556, 291557, 291558
Group of ceramics
from the Cernavoda culture (origin : Hârsova).

The Cernavoda culture belongs to a great, relatively homogeneous, group of cultures characterized by ceramics with twisted decoration, the use of ochre, scepters in zoomorphic forms, and burial under grave mounds.
From a chronological point of view 3450 BC - 3000 BC, The Cernavoda I culture is one consistent Neolithic culture yet the tools and technology are indicative of the Eneolithic, if only for what it inherited from the Gumelnita culture.The infiltration of the Cernavoda I culture seems to have been quite rapid, even violent.
The lower Danube region (where Cernavoda and Hârsova are
located) is in the center of a vast zone of cultural mixtures and ethnic migrations. The more one moves away from the lower Danube, the more diffused the Cernavoda I elements become, and the more quickly the Cernavoda I tribes were assimilated. The Cernavoda culture follows a evolution parallel to a series of other Eneolithic cultures. It brought "cultural advances" between Troy and the Carpathians and loaned elements of the Gumelnita culture to the territory on which it settled in the lower Danube.

 Text and pictures at:


Starcevo-Koros-Cris Culture


 Starčevo culture


Map showing Old Balcanic cultures (derived from Sesklo) in Neolithic Europe, cca. 4500 BC

The Starčevo culture, also called Starčevo-Kőrös-Criş culture was a widespread early Neolithic archaeological culture from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. It dates to between the seventh and fifth millennia BC (7-9 kya).

Starčevo is a site located on the north bank of the Danube in Vojvodina; opposite Belgrade in Serbia. It represents the earliest settled farming society in the area, although hunting and gathering still provided a significant portion of the inhabitants' diet. Vinkovci (Slavonia) was the centre and largest city of the Starčevo culture, where first houses above the ground were built (in Europe).[1]

The pottery is usually coarse but finer fluted and painted vessels later emerged. A type of bone spatula, perhaps for scooping flour, is a distinctive artifact. The Kőrös is a similar culture in Hungary named after the River Kőrös with a closely related culture which also used footed vessels but fewer painted ones. Both have given their names to the wider culture of the region in that period.

Parallel and closely related cultures also include the Karanovo culture in Bulgaria, Criş in Romania and the pre-Sesklo in Greece.

The westernmost locality of this culture can be found in Croatia, in the vicinity of Ždralovi, a part of the town of Bjelovar. This was the final stage of the culture.[2][3][4] Findings from Ždralovi belong to a regional subtype of the final variant in the long process of development of that Neolithic culture. It is designated as Ždralovi facies of the Starčevo culture or the Starčevo - Final stages.

In 1990, Starčevo was added to the Archaeological Sites of Exceptional Importance list, protected by Republic of Serbia.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Kusin, Vesna; Šulc, Branka (Eds.) Slavonija, Baranja i Srijem : vrela europske civilizacije, 2 vols, Ministarstvo kulture Republike Hrvatske & Galerija Klovićevi dvori, Zagreb, 2009., ISBN 978-953-271-027-4
  2. ^ Jakovljević, G. Arheološka topografija Bilogore, Bjelovarski zbornik ‘89, Bjelovar, 1989, pp 108-119
  3. ^ Dimitrijević, S. Das Neolithikum in Syrmien, Slawonien und Nordwestkroatien - Einführung in den Stander Forschung, Archeologica Iugoslavica X, Belgrade, 1969, p 39-76 (45, 47)
  4. ^ Dimitrijević, S. Sjeverna zona - Neolitik u centralnom i zapadnom dijelu sjeverne Jugoslavije, Praistorija jugoslavenskih zemalja II, Sarajevo, 1979, pp 229-360 (252-253)





Mega-structura templu Cucuteni descoperita pe malul Prutului ln apropiere de Ripiceni.


Descoperire istorică! Malul Prutului ascunde o mega-structură de o mare însemnătate arheologică


Arheologii botosaneni au realizat recent o descoperire arheologică unică pentru istoria şi cultura românească. Pe malul Prutului, în apropiere de localitatea Ripiceni, au fost găsite rămăşiţele unui templu uriaş, vechi de 7.000 de ani, măsurând peste 1.000 de metri pătraţi, descoperire ce este menită să întregească cultura Cucuteni.