Coțofeni culture

The Coţofeni culture (Serbian: Kocofeni) was an Early Bronze Age archaeological culture that existed between 3500 and 2500 BC in the mid-Danube area of south-eastern Central Europe.

The first report of a Coţofeni find was made by Fr. Schuster[1] in 1865 from the Râpa Roşie site in Sebeş (present-day Alba County, Romania). Since then this culture has been studied by a number of people to varying degrees. Some of the more prominent contributors to the study of this culture include C. Gooss, K. Benkő, B. Orbán, G. Téglas, K. Herepey, S. Fenichel, Julius Teutsch, Cezar Bolliac, V. Christescu, Teohari Antonescu, and Cristian Popa.

Coţofeni/Kocofeni culture
Geographical rangeRomania, Bulgaria, Serbia
PeriodChalcolithic to Early Bronze Age
Datesbetween c. 3500 and 2500 BC
Preceded byCernavoda culture
Followed byWietenberg culture

Geographic area

The Coţofeni culture area can be seen from two perspectives, as a fluctuation zone, or in its maximum area of extent. This covers present day Maramureş, some areas in Sătmar, the mountainous and hilly areas of Crişana, Transylvania,[2][3] Banat,[4] Oltenia,[5] Muntenia (not including the North-East), and across the Danube in present-day eastern Serbia and northwestern Bulgaria.[6]


Absolute chronology

Alba Iulia National Museum of the Union 2011 - Cotofeni Culture Vessels, Stone and Bone Tools
Coţofeni culture vessels, stone and bone tools, in display at the National Museum of the Union, Alba Iulia
Aiud History Museum 2011 - Cotofeni Culture Pottery
Coţofeni culture pottery at Aiud History Museum, Aiud, Romania.

Bronze Age in Romania Unfortunately, most of the Coţofeni culture chronology is based on just three samples collected at three different Coţofeni sites. Based on these radiocarbon dates, this culture can be placed between roughly 3500 and 2500 BC.[7]

Relative chronology

Cultural synchronisms have been established based on mutual trade relations (visible as imported items) as well as stratigraphic observations. There is an evident synchronicity between:

Coţofeni I - Cernavoda III - Baden A - Spherical Amphorae;

Coţofeni II - Baden B-C Kostolac;[8][9]

Coţofeni III - Kostolac-Vučedol A-B.

Relations with contemporary neighbouring cultures

During the evolution of the Coţofeni culture, there were clearly relationships with other neighbouring cultures. The influence between the Coţofeni and their neighbours the Baden, Kostolac,[10] Vučedol, Globular Amphora culture as well as the Ochre Burial populations was reciprocal. The areas bordering these cultures show cultural traits that have mixed aspects, for example Coţofeni-Baden[11][12] and Coţofeni-Kostolac finds. These finds of mixed aspects suggest a cohabitation between related populations.[13] It also supports the idea of well established trade between cultures.

See also


  1. ^ Fr. W. Schuster, 1867, Ueber alte Begräbnißstätten bei Mühlbach, în Programm des evangelischen Untergymnasiums zu Mühlbach und die damit verbundenen Lehranstalten Mühlbachs, 1866-1867, p. 3-16.
  2. ^ H. Ciugudean, 1996, Perioada timpurie a epocii bronzului în centrul şi sud-vestul Transilvaniei, Bibliotheca Thracologica, XIII, Bucharest, 1996.
  3. ^ Z. Kalmar, 1983, Descoperiri Coţofeni în bazinul someşan (Someşuri, Crasna, Almaş), in ActaMP, VII, 1983, p. 61-68.
  4. ^ H. Ciugudean, 2000, Eneoliticul final în Transilvania şi Banat: cultura Coţofeni, Bibliotheca Historica et Archaeologica Banatica, Timişoara, 2000.
  5. ^ D. Berciu, 1939, Arheologia preistorică a Olteniei, Craiova, 1939.
  6. ^ S. Alexandrov, 1990, Cultura Coţofeni în Bulgaria (Doctoral thesis, advisor. D. Berciu), Bucharest, 1990 (mss.).
  7. ^ P. Raczky, 1995, New data on the absolute chronology of the Copper Age in the Carpathian Basin, în Neure Daten zur Siedlungsgeschichte und Chronologie der Kupferzeit des Karpatenbeckens, Inventaria Praehistorica Hungarie, Budapest, 1995, p. 51-60.
  8. ^ P. I. Roman, 1977, Noţiunea de “cultura Kostolac”, in SCIVA, 28, 1977, 3, p. 419-429.
  9. ^ P. I. Roman, 1980, Der “Kostolac-Kultur”-Begriff nach 35 Jahren, in PZ, 55, 1980, 2, p. 220-227.
  10. ^ D. Nikolić, 2000, Kostolačka kultura na teritoriji Srbje, Centre for Archaeological Research, 19, Beograd, 2000.
  11. ^ I. Emödi, 1984, Descoperiri ale culturilor Coţofeni şi Baden în peşterile Igriţa şi Izbândiş, in ActaMN, XXI, 1984, p. 405-431.
  12. ^ S. Morintz, P. Roman, 1973, Über die Übergangsperiode vom Äneolithikum zur Bronzezeit in Rumänien, in Symposium Badener Kultur, Bratislava, 1973, p.259-295.
  13. ^ P. I. Roman, 1982, Constituirea noilor grupe etnoculturale de la începutul epocii bronzului, in Carpica, XIV, 1982, p. 39-49.


7th millennium BC

The 7th millennium BC spanned the years 7000 BC to 6001 BC (c. 9 ka to c. 8 ka). It is impossible to precisely date events that happened around the time of this millennium and all dates mentioned here are estimates mostly based on geological and anthropological analysis.

Baden culture

The Baden culture, c. 3600–2800 BC, is a Chalcolithic culture found in Central and Southeast Europe. It is known from Moravia (Czech Republic), Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, northern Serbia, western Romania and eastern Austria. Imports of Baden pottery have also been found in Germany and Switzerland (Arbon-Bleiche III), where it could be dated by dendrochronology.

Cernavodă culture

The Cernavodă culture, ca. 4000–3200 BC, was a late Copper Age archaeological culture. It was along the lower Eastern Bug River and Danube and along the coast of the Black Sea and somewhat inland, generally in present-day Romania and Bulgaria. It is named after the Romanian town of Cernavodă.

It is a successor to and occupies much the same area as the earlier neolithic Karanovo culture, for which a destruction horizon seems to be evident. It is 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 thought to be ancestral to the Usatovo culture.

It is characterized by defensive hilltop settlements. The pottery shares traits with that found further east, in the Sredny Stog culture on the south-west Eurasian steppe; burials similarly bear a resemblance to those further east.

Together with Sredny Stog culture its spread from east resulted in development of the Anatolian language complex.

Chalcolithic Europe

Chalcolithic Europe, the Chalcolithic (also Aeneolithic, Copper Age) period of Prehistoric Europe, lasted roughly from 3500 to 1700 BC.

It was a period of Megalithic culture, the appearance of the first significant economic stratification, and probably the earliest presence of Indo-European speakers.

The economy of the Chalcolithic, even in the regions where copper was not yet used, was no longer that of peasant communities and tribes: some materials began to be produced in specific locations and distributed to wide regions. Mining of metal and stone was particularly developed in some areas, along with the processing of those materials into valuable goods.

Copper Age state societies

The Chalcolithic or Copper Age is the transitional period between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age.

It is taken to begin around the mid-5th millennium BC, and ends with the beginning of the Bronze Age proper, in the late 4th to 3rd millennium BC, depending on the region.

The Chalcolithic is part of prehistory, but based on archaeological evidence, the emergence of the first state societies can be inferred, notably in the Fertile Crescent (Sumer, predynastic Egypt, Protominoan Crete), with late Neolithic societies of comparable complexity emerging in the Indus Valley (Mehrgarh) and in China.

The development of states—large-scale, populous, politically centralized, and socially stratified polities/societies governed by powerful rulers—marks one of the major milestones in the evolution of human societies. Archaeologists often distinguish between primary (or pristine) states and secondary states. Primary states evolved independently through largely internal developmental processes rather than through the influence of any other pre-existing state.

The earliest known primary states appeared in Mesopotamia c. 3700 BC, in Egypt c. 3300 BC,

in the Indus Valley c. 3300 BC,

and in China c. 1600 BC.


Coțofenii may refer to one of two communes in Dolj County, Romania:

Coțofenii din Dos

Coțofenii din Față

Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period

The Halaf-Ubaid Transitional period (ca. 5500/5400 to 5200/5000 BC) is a prehistoric period of Mesopotamia. It lies chronologically between the Halaf period and the Ubaid period. It is still a complex and rather poorly understood period. At the same time, recent efforts were made to study the gradual change from Halaf style pottery to Ubaid style pottery in various parts of North Mesopotamia.


Jorwe is a village and an archaeological site located on the Pravara, a tributary of the Godavari River in Sangamner taluka of Ahmednagar district of Maharashtra state in India. This site was excavated in 1950-51 under the direction of Hasmukh Dhirajlal Sankalia and Shantaram Bhalchandra Deo.

It has historical background in Indian independence movement. Bhausaheb Thorat, known freedom fighter and milestone of Late Bhausaheb Thorat Sahakari Sakhar Karkhana Ltd, Sangamner.

Karanovo culture

The Karanovo culture is a neolithic culture (Karanovo I-III ca. 62nd to 55th centuries BC) named after the Bulgarian village of Karanovo (Караново, Sliven Province 42°30′41″N 25°54′54″E). The culture, which is part of the Danube civilization, is considered the largest and most important of the Azmak River Valley agrarian settlements.Archaeologists discovered the Karanovo settlement in the 1930s when a tell - a settlement mound - was excavated at Karanovo. The hilltop settlement is constituted of 18 buildings, which housed some 100 inhabitants. The site was inhabited more or less continuously from the early 7th to the early 2nd millennia BC.

The layers at Karanovo are employed as a chronological system for Balkans prehistory.

Levantine corridor

The Levantine corridor is the relatively narrow strip between the Mediterranean Sea to the northwest and deserts to the southeast which connects Africa to Eurasia. This corridor is a land route of migrations of animals between Eurasia and Africa. In particular, it is believed that early hominins spread from Africa to Eurasia via the Levantine corridor and Horn of Africa. The corridor is named after the Levant.

The Levantine Corridor is the western part of the Fertile Crescent, the eastern part being Mesopotamia.

Botanists recognize this area as a dispersal route of plant species.The distribution of Y-chromosome and mtDNA haplogroups suggests that during the Paleolithic and Mesolithic periods, the Levantine corridor was more important for bi-directional human migrations between Africa and Eurasia than was the Horn of Africa.The first sedentary villages were established around fresh water springs and lakes in the Levantine corridor by the Natufian culture. The term is used frequently by archaeologists as an area that includes Cyprus, where important developments occurred during the Neolithic revolution.

List of Neolithic cultures of China

This is a list of Neolithic cultures of China that have been unearthed by archaeologists. They are sorted in chronological order from earliest to latest and are followed by a schematic visualization of these cultures.

It would seem that the definition of Neolithic in China is undergoing changes. The discovery in 2012 of pottery about 20,000 years BC indicates that this measure alone can no longer be used to define the period. It will fall to the more difficult task of determining when cereal domestication started.

National Museum of the Union

The National Museum of the Union (Romanian: Muzeul Național al Unirii) is a history and archaeology museum in Alba-Iulia, Romania.

Neolithic Tibet

Neolithic Tibet refers to a prehistoric period in which Neolithic technology was present in Tibet.

Tibet has been inhabited since the Late Paleolithic. During the mid-Holocene, Neolithic immigrants from northern China largely replaced the original inhabitants, bringing with them elements of Neolithic culture and technology, although a degree of genetic continuity with the Paleolithic settlers still exists.

Peiligang culture

The Peiligang culture was a Neolithic culture in the Yi-Luo river basin (in modern Henan Province, China) that existed from 7000 to 5000 BC. Over 100 sites have been identified with the Peiligang culture, nearly all of them in a fairly compact area of about 100 square kilometers in the area just south of the river and along its banks.

Piatra Tomii

Piatra Tomii is a late Jurassic limestone outcrop forming a small hill near Răcătau village, Alba county, Romania. It is most well known for the Chalcolithic to Bronze Age flint mining settlement located on and near to the hill. The settlement is late Chalcolithic to Early Bronze Age. The people who occupied this site belonged to the Coțofeni culture (phase 3). The chief investigator of this archaeological site is Dr. Cristian Popa of the 1 Decembrie 1918 University, Alba Iulia. The artefact collection from this site are housed at the university in Alba Iulia. This site is significant as it is the first flint mine or quarry found so far in the Transylvanian basin. Petrographic analysis of the flint materials found at this site link it to artifacts found at prehistoric sites from throughout the Mures Valley leading researchers to believe that this site may have served an important role in the commerce of the Chalcolithic and Bronze Age. The large size of the settlement compared to its relative isolation high in the Apuseni Mountains tends to support this theory.

Although the majority of the artefacts so far found at the site are of Chalcolithic age, some researchers believe that the site may have already in use as a source of flint during the middle of the Neolithic by people of the Vinča culture. This is based on initial comparisons of Neolithic chipped stone artifacts to the geological material at Piatra Tomii. This theory has not yet been confirmed by the archaeological record for the middle Neolithic period, but during test pitting in 2009, Petrești type pottery was found at the site, indicating that the site was in use long prior to the arrival of the Coțofeni population (and possibly abandoned until the late Coțofeni people arrived). The potsherds were found in and next to a flint extraction pit along with axes and chisels and an ashy soil, suggesting that they were also extracting the flint. It is possible that the material used during earlier cultures of the Neolithic period may have come from another flint source very near to but not at Piatra Tomii itself. Since only a small percentage of this site has been excavated, it is also possible that remains of Vinča culture simply have not yet been found at Piatra Tomii.

Remedello culture

The Remedello culture (Italian Cultura di Remedello) developed during the Copper Age (3rd millennium BC) in Northern Italy, particularly in the area of the Po valley. The name comes from the town of Remedello (Brescia) where several burials were discovered in the late 19th century.

Romanian archaeology

Romanian archaeology begins in the 19th century.

Trihedral Neolithic

Trihedral Neolithic is a name given by archaeologists to a style (or industry) of striking spheroid and trihedral flint tools from the archaeological site of Joub Jannine II in the Beqaa Valley, Lebanon. The style appears to represent a highly specialized Neolithic industry. Little comment has been made of this industry.

Wietenberg culture

The Wietenberg culture was a Middle Bronze Age archeological culture in Central Transylvania that roughly dates to 2200–1600/1500 BCE. Represented a local variant of Usatovo culture and was replaced by Noua culture. Its name was coined after the eponymic Wietenberg Hill near Sighișoara.

People of this culture traded with the Mycenaeans. Burial sites contain bronze battle axes and maces with stone heads. Pottery consists of amphorae with spiral and meandric ornament.

By 1964 about 200 settlements of this culture were discovered.



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