Cucuteni (Romanian pronunciation: [kukuˈtenʲ]) is a commune in Iași County, Romania, with a population of 1,446 as of 2002. It is located 45 km from the city of Iași and 10 km from the town of Târgu Frumos. Neighbouring villages and communes are Todirești (to the north), Târgu Frumos and Cotnari (to the east) and Ruginoasa (to the west). The name of the village is derived from Romanian word "cucută", meaning hemlock. The commune is composed of four villages: Băiceni, Bărbătești, Cucuteni and Săcărești.
A trove of ancient artifacts was discovered in Cucuteni in 1884. It was determined that these artifacts had been produced by an ancient people whose existence and culture had previously been unknown to modern scholars. Those scholars named the newly discovered ancient culture the Cucuteni culture, after the name of the village in which artifacts of that culture had first been discovered.
In Cucuteni village there is an archeological museum displaying artifacts of the Cucuteni culture, as well as a church built in the 15th century during the rule of Stephen III of Moldavia .
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The History & Archaeology Museum in Piatra Neamţ, Romania, was founded at the beginning of the 20th century by Constantin Matasă, minister and amateur archaeologist.
The museum shelters the most important collection of Cucuteni culture artifacts and it is the home of the Cucuteni Research Centre. The famous piece, Hora de la Frumuşica ("The Frumuşica Dance," the symbol of Cucuteni culture), can be found on the museum website.Architecture of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
The chalcolithic Cucuteni-Trypillia culture, in Eastern Europe, left behind thousands of settlement ruins, circa 6000 to 3500 BC, containing a wealth of archaeological artifacts attesting to their cultural and technological characteristics.Burned house horizon
In the archaeology of Neolithic Europe, the burned house horizon is the geographical extent of the phenomenon of presumably intentionally burned settlements.
This was a widespread and long-lasting tradition in what is now Southeastern and Eastern Europe, lasting from as early as 6500 BCE (the beginning of the Neolithic) to as late as 2000 BCE (the end of the Chalcolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age).
A notable representative of this tradition is the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, which was centered on the burned-house horizon both geographically and temporally.
There is still a discussion in the study of Neolithic and Eneolithic Europe whether the majority of burned houses were intentionally set alight or not.Although the reasons behind why house burning was practiced are still debated, the evidence seems to support that it occurred in such a way as to indicate it was highly unlikely to have been as a result of accidental cause. If these regularly occurring burnings, in which the entire settlement is destroyed, were deliberate, then there has still been a debate about why this happened. However, in recent years, the consensus has begun to gel around the Domicide theory supported by Tringham, Stevanovic and others.Cucuteni-Trypillian settlements were completely burned every 75–80 years, leaving behind successive layers consisting mostly of large amounts of rubble from the collapsed wattle-and-daub walls. This rubble was mostly ceramic material that had been created as the raw clay used in the daub of the walls became vitrified from the intense heat that would have turned it a bright orange color during the conflagration that destroyed the buildings, much the same way that raw clay objects are turned into ceramic products during the firing process in a kiln.
Moreover, the sheer amount of fired-clay rubble found within every house of a settlement indicates that a fire of enormous intensity would have raged through the entire community to have created the volume of material found.Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
The Cucuteni–Trypillia culture (Romanian: Cultura Cucuteni and Ukrainian: Трипільська культура), also known as the Tripolye culture (Russian: Трипольская культура), is a Neolithic–Eneolithic archaeological culture (c. 5200 to 3500 BC) of Eastern Europe.
It extended from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions, centred on modern-day Moldova and covering substantial parts of western Ukraine and northeastern Romania, encompassing an area of 350,000 km2 (140,000 sq mi), with a diameter of 500 km (300 mi; roughly from Kyiv in the northeast to Brașov in the southwest).The majority of Cucuteni–Trypillia settlements consisted of high-density, small settlements (spaced 3 to 4 kilometres apart), concentrated mainly in the Siret, Prut and Dniester river valleys.
During the Middle Trypillia phase (c. 4000 to 3500 BC), populations belonging to the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe, some of which contained as many as 3,000 structures and were possibly inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people.One of the most notable aspects of this culture was the periodic destruction of settlements, with each single-habitation site having a lifetime of roughly 60 to 80 years. The purpose of burning these settlements is a subject of debate among scholars; some of the settlements were reconstructed several times on top of earlier habitational levels, preserving the shape and the orientation of the older buildings. One particular location; the Poduri site in Romania, revealed thirteen habitation levels that were constructed on top of each other over many years.Decline and end of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
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 the Cucuteni–Trypillia 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.Durnești
Durnești is a commune in Botoșani County, Romania. It is composed of six villages: Băbiceni, Bârsănești, Broșteni, Cucuteni, Durnești and Guranda.Economy of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
Throughout most of its existence, the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture was fairly stable. Near the end it began to change from a gift economy to an early form of trade called reciprocity, and introduced the apparent use of barter tokens, an early form of money.Khrystynivka
Khrystynivka (Ukrainian: Христи́нівка, Ukrainian pronunciation: [xrɪsˈtɪnʲiwkɑ]; Russian: Христи́новка, Khristinovka) is a city in Cherkasy Oblast (province) of Ukraine. It serves as the administrative center of Khrystynivka Raion. Population: 10,683 (2017 est.)It is also the site of an ancient mega-settlement dating to 4000 - 3600 BC belonging to the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture. The settlement was for the time very large, covering an area of 100 hectares. This proto-city are just one of 2,440 Cucuteni-Trypillia settlements discovered so far in Moldova and Ukraine. 194 (8%) of these settlements had an area of more than 10 hectares between 5000 - 2700 BC and more than 29 settlements had an area in the range 100 - 300 - 450 Hectares.Lețcani
Lețcani is a commune in Iași County, Romania, part of the Iași metropolitan area. It is composed of four villages: Bogonos, Cogeasca, Cucuteni and Lețcani.
Among historians and archaeologists, Lețcani is famous as the place where one of the very few known Gothic runic inscriptions was found, on a spindle whorl dated to the 4th century.Moțăieni
Moțăieni is a commune in Dâmbovița County, southern Romania with a population of 2,307 people. It is composed of two villages, Cucuteni and Moțăieni.Neolithic long house
The Neolithic long house was a long, narrow timber dwelling built by the first farmers in Europe beginning at least as early as the period 5000 to 6000 BC. They first appeared in central Europe in connection with the early Neolithic cultures such as the Linear Pottery culture or Cucuteni culture. This type of architecture represents the largest free-standing structure in the world in its era. Long houses are present across numerous regions and time periods in the archaeological record.
The long house was a rectangular structure, 5.5 to 7.0 m wide, of variable length, around 20 m up to 45 m. Outer walls were wattle-and-daub, sometimes alternating with split logs, with pitched, thatched roofs, supported by rows of poles, three across. The exterior walls would have been quite short beneath the large roof. They were solid and massive, oak posts being preferred. Clay for the daub was dug from pits near the house, which were then used for storage. Extra posts at one end may indicate a partial second story. Some Linear Pottery culture houses were occupied for as long as 30 years.It is thought that these houses had no windows and only one doorway. The door was located at one end of the house. Internally, the house had one or two partitions creating up to three areas. Interpretations of the use of these areas vary. Working activities might be carried out in the better lit door end, the middle used for sleeping and eating and the end farthest from the door could have been used for grain storage. According to other view, the interior was divided in areas for sleeping, common life and a fenced enclosure at the back end for keeping animals.Twenty or thirty people could have lived in each house, with villages composed typically of five to eight houses. Exceptionally, nearly 30 longhouses in a fortified settlement (dating to 4300 BC, i.e., Late Linear Pottery culture) were revealed by excavations at Oslonki in Poland.Nicolae Beldiceanu
Nicolae Beldiceanu (Romanian pronunciation: [nikoˈla.e beldiˈt͡ʃe̯anu]; 26 October 1844 in Preutești - 2 February 1896 in Iași) was a Romanian poet and novelist. Beldiceanu was the first person to write about the discoveries made at the Cucuteni archaeological site near the town of Cucuteni, Romania. He had helped four other scholars from Iași with the excavation of this site in 1885, and published an article entitled: Antichitățile de la Cucuteni (Antiquities of Cucuteni) the same year. This site was the first discovery of what would later become known as the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture.
His son Nicolae N. Beldiceanu was also a noted poet and writer.Poduri
Poduri is a commune in Bacău County, Romania. It is composed of seven villages: Bucșești, Cernu, Cornet, Negreni, Poduri, Prohozești and Valea Șoșii.
The Poduri archeological site of the late Neolithic Cucuteni-Trypillian culture is significant due to its thirteen habitation levels that were constructed on top of each other over many years.Prehistory of Transylvania
The Prehistory of Transylvania describes what can be learned about the region known as Transylvania through archaeology, anthropology, comparative linguistics and other allied sciences.
Transylvania proper is a plateau or tableland in northwest central Romania. It is bounded and defined by the Carpathian Mountains to the east and south, and the Apuseni Mountains to the west. As a diverse and relatively protected region, the area has always been rich in wildlife, and remains one of the more ecologically diverse areas in Europe. The mountains contain a large number of caves, which attracted both human and animal residents. The Peştera Urşilor, the "Bears Cave", was home to a large number of cave bears (Ursus spelæus) whose remains were discovered when the cave was discovered in 1975. Other caves in the area sheltered early humans.
Prehistory is the longest period in the history of mankind, throughout of which writing was still unknown. In Transylvania specifically this applies to the Paleolithic, Neolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age.Religion and ritual of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
The study of religion and ritual of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture has provided important insights into the early history of Europe. The Cucuteni-Trypillia 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 BC, left behind thousands of settlement ruins containing a wealth of archaeological artifacts attesting to their cultural and technological characteristics. Refer to the main article for a general description of this culture; this article deals with its religious and ritualistic aspects.
Some Cucuteni-Trypillia 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-Trypillia 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-Trypillia 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-Trypillia 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.Sail
A sail is a tensile structure—made from fabric or other membrane materials—that uses wind power to propel sailing craft, including sailing ships, sailboats, windsurfers, ice boats, and even sail-powered land vehicles. Sails may be made from a combination of woven materials—including canvas or polyester cloth, laminated membranes or bonded filaments—usually in a three- or four-sided shape.
A sail provides propulsive force via a combination of lift and drag, depending on its angle of attack—its angle with respect to the apparent wind. Apparent wind is the air velocity experienced on the moving craft and is the combined effect of the true wind velocity with the velocity of the sailing craft. Angle of attack is often constrained by the sailing craft's orientation to the wind or point of sail. On points of sail where it is possible to align the leading edge of the sail with the apparent wind, the sail may act as an airfoil, generating propulsive force as air passes along its surface—just as an airplane wing generates lift—which predominates over aerodynamic drag retarding forward motion. The more that the angle of attack diverges from the apparent wind as a sailing craft turns downwind, the more drag increases and lift decreases as propulsive forces, until a sail going downwind is predominated by drag forces. Sails are unable to generate propulsive force if they are aligned too closely to the wind.
Sails may be attached to a mast, boom or other spar or may be attached to a wire that is suspended by a mast. They are typically raised by a line, called a halyard, and their angle with respect to the wind is usually controlled by a line, called a sheet. In use, they may be designed to be curved in both directions along their surface, often as a result of their curved edges. Battens may be used to extend the trailing edge of a sail beyond the line of its attachment points.
Other non-rotating airfoils that power sailing craft include wingsails, which are rigid wing-like structures, and kites that power kite-rigged vessels, but do not employ a mast to support the airfoil and are beyond the scope of this article.Settlements of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
The study of the settlements of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture provides important insights into the early history of Europe. The Cucuteni-Trypillia 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 to 2750 BC, left behind thousands of settlement ruins containing a wealth of archaeological artifacts attesting to their cultural and technological characteristics. Refer to the main article for a general description of this culture; this article deals with its settlements.Symbols and proto-writing of the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture
A set of symbols depicted on clay artifacts associated with the Vinča culture, which flourished along the Danube River in the Pannonian Plain, between 6000-4000 BC was first noted by Hungarian archaeologist Zsófia Torma ( 1832 – 1899) at the archaeological site in the village of Turdaș, Romania (which was known at the time as Tordos), and consisted of a collection of artifacts that had what appeared to be an unknown system of writing. In 1908, more of these same kind of artifacts were discovered at a site near Vinča, outside of the city of Belgrade, Serbia. Scholars subsequently labeled this the "Vinča Script" or "Vinča-Tordos Script".
The Vinča symbols were also discussed by Marija Gimbutas, who in the 1950s developed her theories that became collectively known as the Old European culture. Gimbutas claimed that these symbols represented an Old European Script that she said was a writing system that predated the Sumerian Cuneiform script. This theory reinforced her claims that the Neolithic civilizations of southeastern Europe were matriarchal, Mother Goddess worshippers, since the symbols were so often found on clay anthropomorphic female fetish figurines that are to be found in archaeological sites throughout the entire region. Her claims have largely been disproven by subsequent research and discoveries,Further clouding the issue, there have been several people who have published theories about the Vinča symbols, including one that claims it is the ancient Etruscan alphabet; all of these theories have been disproven by scholars.The Vinča symbols were found etched or painted on the ubiquitous anthropomorphic female clay statues. These statues have markings on them that appear in roughly the same location (for instance, along the upper arms and shoulders), and are found in various archaeological sites scattered over a wide geographical area.Beginning in 1875 up to the present, archaeologists have found more than a thousand Neolithic era clay artifacts that have examples of symbols similar to the Vinča symbols scattered widely throughout south-eastern Europe. These include:
The Tărtăria Tablets, discovered in 1961 in the village of Tărtăria, Săliştea, Alba County, Romania.
The Gradeshnitsa Tablets, discovered in 1969 in Gradeshnitsa, Vratsa Province, Bulgaria.
The Dispilio Tablet, discovered in 1994 in Dispilio, Kastoria regional unit, Greece.
The Cucuteni-Trypillia pintadera (or barter tokens)There has been some controversy in the dating of some of these discoveries, especially the Tărtăria Tablets.
In 1981 archaeologists unearthed a remarkable discovery dating back to 4200 BC from the Precucuteni site of Poduri-Dealul, near the town of Ghindaru, Bacău County, Romania. Dubbed the "Council of Goddesses", it was a collection of 15 anthropomorphic female clay figurines, all of whom were seated, with 13 of them seated on accompanying clay chairs (or thrones), all of the figurines were placed so that they were facing inward in a circle (see photograph below). The archaeologists noted that some of these figurines had symbolic markings painted in red on their shoulders, almost identical to other clay female figurines found elsewhere.
Looking below, the figure to the left has a symbol made of four lines that are connected to a perpendicular line (or bar) located on the right shoulder. Another female figurine found at a Precucuteni site near Târgu Frumos, in Iaşi County, Romania, has an identical symbol, including the placement of it on the figurine's right shoulder. Târgu Frumos is located a linear 88.5 km. (55 miles) from Ghindaru.
The figurine on the right has a symbol of three lines connected to a bar and placed on the left shoulder, again identical to other Precucuteni female clay figurines found at sites near the villages of Isaiia, Iaşi County, Romania, and Sabatynivka, Ulianovskyi Raion, Kirovohrad Oblast, Ukraine. Isaiia is located 119 km. (74 miles), and Sabatynivka is 333 km (207 mi) from Ghindaru.Both examples illustrated of these symbols, the three and four lines connected to a bar, are found in other archaeological artifacts from across the region, and are emblema
Thus it appears that the Vinča or Vinča-Tordos symbols are not restricted to just the region around Belgrade, which is where the Vinča culture existed, but that they spread across most of southeastern Europe, and was used throughout the geographical region of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture. This "Goddess Council" example is just one of many that supports the widespread use of these symbols among the Neolithic people of this entire area, and presents very compelling evidence to suggest that these symbols were understood by many individuals who lived in different areas, which lends support to the notion that they were indeed examples of proto-writing, if not a rudimentary writing system.Trypillia
Trypillia (Ukrainian: Трипiлля, Russian: Триполье, Tripolye) is a village in the Obukhiv Raion (district) of the Kiev Oblast in central Ukraine, with 2800 inhabitants (as of 1 January 2005). It lies about 40 km (25 mi) south from Kiev on the Dnieper.
Trypillia is the site of an ancient mega-settlement dating to 4300–4000 BCE belonging to the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture. Settlements of this culture were as large as 200 hectares. This proto-city is just one of 2440 Cucuteni-Trypillia settlements discovered so far in Moldova and Ukraine. 194 (8%) of these settlements had an area of more than 10 hectares between 5000–2700 BCE and more than 29 settlements had an area in the range 100–450 Hectares.