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Marco Merlini: Milady Tartaria



Lady Tartaria, the tablets owner, human remains were carbon dated 6,310-5,480 BC

Picture at:

  Could be a representation of Lady Tartaria

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BY MARCO MERLINI  Full text and pictures at:

The person was not a Great Priest or a Shaman but a "revered holy woman"
But who was the adult buried with the inscribed tablets? If one wants to go on with the image of a ritual pit, one should start to talk about the Tartaria

Priestess, shaman-woman or dignitary-woman. Milady Tărtăria limped on her right leg since her youth because of her thicker, anchylosed and shorter right femur and leg. She had a posture forming a > (an arrow.)

The artifacts were part of the funerary inventory of a woman, 50-55 years old (Tãrtãria milady ), along with 26 burnt clay idols, two alabaster Cicladic idols, a Spondhylus seashell bracelet.


Picture of two tablets superimposed at:

  The so-called Danube Script  is a script that appeared some 2,000 years earlier than any other known writing.  It appeared in southeast Europe c.7300 BC. The script first appeared in the central Balkans, but quickly spread to southern Hungary, Transylvania, the Danube valley, Macedonia, and northern Greece.

The Danube script flourished up to about 5,500 BC, when a social upheaval apparently took place. The script is currently undecipherable, but is certainly generating a lot of interest among scholars of ancient languages
The Tărtăria tablets are three tablets, discovered in Tărtăria, Romania. They bear incised symbols that have been the subject of considerable controversy among archaeologists, some of whom claim that the symbols represent the earliest known form of writing in the world.

Tartaria IMG_0553

Tartaria Monument, Transylvania, Romania 

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The tablets were found in 1961 at about 30 km (19 mi) from the well-known site of Alba Iulia. Nicolae Vlassa, an archaeologist at the Cluj Museum, unearthed three inscribed but unbaked clay tablets, together with 26 clay and stone figurines and a shell bracelet, accompanied by the burnt, broken, and disarticulated bones of an adult female.[1]

Two of the tablets are rectangular and the third is round. They are all small, the round one being only 6 cm (2½ in) across, and two—one round and one rectangular—have holes drilled through them. ll three have symbols inscribed only on one face.

Similar motifs have been found on pots excavated at Vinča in Serbia and a number of other locations in the southern Balkans. The in-pierced rectangular tablet depicts a horned animal, another figure, and a branch or tree. The others have a variety of mainly abstract symbols. The purpose of the burial is unclear, but it has been suggested that the body was that of a shaman or spirit-medium.[1]
The tablets are generally believed to have belonged to the Vinča culture, which at the time was believed by Serbian and Romanian archaeologists to have originated around 2700 BC.

Vlassa interpreted the Tărtăria tablets as a hunting scene and the other two with signs as a kind of primitive writing similar to the early pictograms of the Sumerians.

The discovery caused great interest in the archeological world as it predated the first Minoan writing, the oldest known writing in Europe.
However, subsequent radiocarbon dating on the Tărtăria finds pushed the date of the tablets (and therefore of the whole Vinča culture) much further back, to as long ago as 5500 BC, the time of the early Eridu phase of the Sumerian civilization in Mesopotamia.[2] Still, this is disputed in the light of apparently contradictory strati-graphic evidence.[3]

If the symbols are indeed a form of writing, then writing in the Danubian culture would far predate the earliest Sumerian cuneiform script or Egyptian hieroglyphs. They would thus be the world's earliest known form of writing. This claim remains controversial.

 Suggestion is that they may have been merely uncomprehending imitations of more advanced cultures, although this explanation is made rather unlikely by the great antiquity of the tablets—there were no literate cultures at the time from which the symbols could have been adopted.[2]

Colin Renfrew argues that the apparent similarities with Sumerian symbols are deceptive: "To me, the comparison made between the signs on the Tărtăria tablets and those of proto-literate Sumeria carry very little weight.

 The meaning (if any) of the symbols is unknown, and their nature has been the subject of much debate. Scholars who conclude that the inscribed symbols are writing base their assessment on a few conclusions, which are not universally endorsed.

First, the existence of similar signs on other artifacts of the Danube civilization suggest that there was an inventory of standard shapes of which scribes made use.

Second, the symbols make a high degree of standardization and a rectilinear shape comparable to archaic writing systems manifest.

Third, that the information communicated by each character was a specific one with an unequivocal meaning.

Finally, that the inscriptions are sequenced in rows, whether horizontal, vertical or circular. If they do comprise a script, it is not known what kind of writing system they represent.

Some archaeologists who support the idea that they do represent writing, notably Marija Gimbutas, have proposed that they are fragments of a system dubbed the Old European Script.

Others consider the pictograms to be accompanied by random scribbles. Some have suggested that the symbols may have been used as marks of ownership or as the focus of religious rituals. An alternative  are all simple pictographs, and a sign for a goat in one culture is bound to look much like the sign for a goat in another.

To call these Balkan signs 'writing' is perhaps to imply that they had an independent significance of their own communicable to another person without oral contact. This I doubt." [4]

Another problem is that there are no independent indications of literacy existing in the Balkans at this period.

Sarunas Milisauskas comments that "it is extremely difficult to demonstrate archaeologically whether a corpus of symbols constitutes a writing system" and notes that the first known writing systems were all developed by early states to facilitate record-keeping in complex organized societies in the Middle East and Mediterranean.

There is no evidence of organized states in the European Neolithic, so it is likely that they would not have needed the administrative systems facilitated by writing. David Anthony notes that Chinese characters were first used for ritual and commemorative purposes associated with the sacred power of kings; it is possible that a similar usage accounts for the Tărtăria symbols. [5]

See also
Vinča signs
Gradeshnitsa tablets
Vinca-Tordos culture
Prehistoric Romania

^  Alasdair W. R. Whittle, Europe in the Neolithic: The Creation of New Worlds, p. 101. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
^  Carl J. Becker, A Modern Theory Of Language Evolution, p. 346. (iUniverse, 2004)
^ H. W. F. Saggs, Civilization Before Greece and Rome, p. 75. (Yale University Press, 1998)
^ Colin Renfrew, Before civilization: The radiocarbon revolution and prehistoric Europe, p. 186 (Jonathan Cape, 1973)
^ Sarunas Milisauskas, European Prehistory: A Survey, pp. 236-237. (Kluwer Academic / Plenum Publishers, 2002)

Haarmann, H. 1990 Writing from Old Europe. The Journal of Indo-European Studies 17
Makkay, J. 1969 The Late Neolithic Tordos Group of Signs. Alba Regia 10, 9-50
Makkay, J. 1984 Early Stamp Seals in South-East Europe. Budapest
Winn, Sham M. M. 1973 The Sings of the Vinca Culture
Winn, Sham M. M. 1981 Pre-writing in Southeast Europe: The Sign System of the Vinca culture. BAR

External links
"Signs on Tărtăria Tablets found in the Romanian folkloric art", by Ioana Crişan.
"Milady Tărtăria and the discovery of the Tărtăria Tablets", by Marco Merlini
Retrieved from
Text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

The Tartaria Tablets Older than Sumerian Ones

Text at: (Alternative explanation)

Nicolae Vlasa made a colossal discovery in 1961. At Tartaria, in an ancient tomb he found 2 tablets with inscriptions that were dated from 4500-200 BC. Tartaria, is located in Alba county, Saliste. At the same site there were found human skeletons.

The inscriptions on the tablets are 1000 years older than the ones discovered at Djemer-Nasr, Kis and Uruk from Summer, dated by specialists somewhere around 3300 BC.

The culture who created the tablets in taught to be Turdas-Vinca (4500-3700 BC). The tablets have been dated with C14 and it is officially confirmed that the inscriptions on them are the oldest form of writing known to man, outdating the Sumerian ones.
There are 2 ipotetic translation of the text so far:


On the 40 reign for Saue’s lips, the oldest after the ritual was burned.

NUN-KA-SU-GULA-P/atesi/-L/ugal/-IDI-M/e/-KAR-A-I >>

The main city from the acces place under the protection of Cula witch, lady who gives life, goddess of medicine and healer of the black heads (Sumerians), princess of the big man (a king maybe), who knew to give rules by the area located around the river".

It is taught that Sumerians are descendants of the culture that created the tablets and that they migrated from the area where the discoveries were made later to become one of the most advanced civilizations of the Ancient World.




Tartaria Tablets Videos










Inscribed Tablets from Vadu Rau, Farcasa, Neamt

Tablitele de la Vadul Rau

In cursul lunii mai 2009, o viitura a raului Bistrita, produsa in zona localitatii nemtene Farcasa, avea sa scoata la iveala un foarte posibil atelier neolitic de confectionare a unor tablite inscriptionate, foarte asemanatoare cu gardianul_tablite-8x6celebrele tablite de la Tartaria.

Ele s-au adaugat celorlalte artefacte care au fost descoperite de catre inimosul prof. dr. in istorie Dumitru Ionita, in punctul numit Vadu Rau, din localitatea pomenita mai sus, incepand cu anii ’80 ai secolului trecut, despre care s-a mai vorbit.

Descoperirea are o importanta deosebita pentru ca, iata, ea demonstreaza ca celebrele placute de la Tartaria, datate ca fiind mai “tinere” cu peste un mileniu decat cele sumeriene de la Djemdet Nasr, Kis si Uruk, considerate indeobste cele mai vechi forme de scriere din lume, nu reprezinta un caz izolat, accidental, ci o activitate cat se poate de organizata, desfasurata de locuitorii acelor vremuri de pe actualul teritoriu al tarii noastre.

Din pacate, la fel ca si alte asemenea descoperiri de exceptie, nici aceasta nu s-a bucurat de atentia necesara din partea specialistilor romani. Aventura acestor incredibile “pietre” inscriptionate a inceput prin anii ’80 ai secolului trecut, cand profesorul Dumitru Ionita, in timpul unei recunoasteri de teren desfasurate in punctul numit Vadu Rau din localitatea nemteana Farcasa, a descoperit o serie de obiecte neolitice, cum ar fi: fusaiole, greutati pentru plasele de pescuit sau pentru razboiul de tesut, topoare slefuite din piatra etc.

Artefact care aminteste de Tartaria

Printre aceste obiecte, cateva i-au atras atentia in mod deosebit. Este vorba despre tablite din lut ars, unele de forme rectangulare, ovale sau rotunde, care prezentau pe una din fete diverse semne incizate: romburi franjurate, linii intersectate, ce constituiau suport pentru alte linii mai mici asezate in rand, diverse puncte scobite etc.

In decursul anilor, erodarea malului drept al Bistritei a continuat, prilej cu care au tot iesit la iveala alte cateva zeci de asemenea tablite, numarul lor ajungand la 120, toate purtatoare ale unor insemne protoliterate, dupa cum crede profesorul Ionita.


 “Unele dintre ele sunt confectionate din lespezi de piatra de forma rectangulara, peste care s-a asternut un strat fin de argila, care a fost incizat cu semne dintre cele mai variate. Printre ele se afla si un pandantiv amuleta, similar aceluia de Tartaria, care are doua orificii de prindere”, ne-a declarat profesorul Ionita.

 Atelier de tablite inscriptionate

Viitura din aceasta primavara, asa cum aratam mai sus, a scos la iveala, in acelasi punct, alte cateva zeci de asemenea tablite incizate, pe care au aparut, ca element de noutate, “grupuri de semisfere, care au pe bolta lor unul, doua, trei sau patru linii. Greutatea tablitelor difera, ea fiind cuprinsa intre 100 si 500 g.

Din cele observate, s-ar putea spune ca pe «vatra» acestui atelier se afla o cantitate impresionanta de material care urma a fi prelucrat si, probabil, incizat. Acest fapt m-a facut sa cred ca avem de-a face cu un atelier care fusese parasit in graba, din motive obscure: fie din cauza unei calamitati naturale, fie din cauza migratiei unor triburi neolitice”, ne-a mai spus Dumitru Ionita.

O parte din tablitele de pe Bistrita sunt aproape identice cu cele de la Tartaria Domnia-sa este de parere ca “o parte din aceste tablite sunt relativ identice cu cele descoperite de aimagesrheologul Nicolae Vlassa in anul 1961 la Tartaria, judetul Alba, care apartin culturii neolitice Vinca, datate, pe baza de Carbon 14, ca fiind realizate in perioada 6.500- 6.000 i.Hr.

Emit supozitia ca la Vadu Rau a existat in mod cert un atelier de confectionare a acestor artefacte, care apoi se raspandeau intr-o vasta arie geografica, ajungand pana in vestul actual al Romaniei sau chiar pana in Insula Pastelui.

Dimensiunile tablitelor variaza intre 13,5 cm in lungime, respectiv 7-8 cm in latime”, mai spune profesorul Prof. dr. Dumitru Ionita.

Prof. dr. Vasile Boroneant: “Este foarte posibil ca la Vadu Rau sa fi existat un depozit” Fara a fi specialisti, putem sa ne dam seama ca avem de-a face cu o descoperire de o importanta cu totul speciala. De aceea, am cerut si parerea unui cercetator care a avut ocazia sa vada cateva fotografii ale acestor misterioase tablite. Este vorba de prof. dr. Vasile Boroneant, binecunoscut arheolog, care, timp de mai multi ani, a cercetat situl arheologic de la Cladova si pe cel de la Chitila, unde au fost facute descoperiri senzationale, care atesta existenta pe acele locuri a unora dintre cele mai vechi culturi materiale si spirituale din Europa.

In legatura cu aceste tablite, domnia-sa ne-a declarat: ”Modelul era in epoca. Motive asemanatoare au fost descoperite in spatiul nostru si la Vidra, si la Chitila si in alte locuri.

Ele se aseamana cu cele din Mesopotamia. Este foarte posibil ca acolo, la Vadu Rau, sa fi existat un depozit. Trebuie insa facute cercetari serioase pentru a putea emite o ipoteza corecta. Asemenea elemente de decor vin chiar din Paleolitic, unde aceste elemente constituiau modalitati de comunicare folosite de initiatii epocii. Le regasim si astazi, desi sensul lor nu mai poate fi deslusit, pe costumele populare, pe cusaturi, pe produse casnice gospodaresti, pe unelte etc. Ele sunt specifice numai spatiului carpato-dunarean”.

Tartaria demonstreaza ca scrisul a aparut in sud-estul Europei, nu in Sumer Asa cum arata artefactele de la Vadu Rau, se poate observa asemanarea lor izbitoare cu tablitele de la Tartaria. Povestea acestora images1din urma a trezit, in timp, deopotriva, entuziasm, dar si multe reticente, in asa fel incat, desi probe indubitabile atesta vechimea lor, inca mai sunt sceptici care nu vor sa accepte realitatea.

De altfel, astazi, foarte putini specialisti romani se mai incumeta sa discute deschis despre aceasta unica descoperire.

O fac insa cercetatorii straini, carora nu le este nici rusine, nici teama sa afirme deschis ca prima scriere a omenirii a aparut in sud-estul Europei si nu in Mesopotamia, cum se credea pana acum.

Ei au in vedere cand sustin acest lucru, atat artefactele de la Tartaria (pe care nu le cred nicidecum o pierdere de obiecte sau o negustorie a unor sumerieni ajunsi intamplator sau nu in zona bastinasilor de la Tartaria, cum se mai sustine uneori!), cat si alte doua descoperiri: cea de la Karanovo, din sud-estul Bulgariei, unde pe o colina, intr-un nivel neolitic corespunzator mileniului III i.Hr., au fost gasite cateva sigilii de lut, printre care unul rotund, cu pictograme gravate intr-un mod semanator celor de la Tartaria, si cea de la Gracianita, din nord-vestul Bulgariei.

Acolo, s-au descoperit doua platouri mici. Pe fundul unui dintre ele este redata o reprezentare schematica antropomorfa, iar cel de-al doilea prezinta o forma de scriere foarte apropiata de cea de pe sigiliul de la Karanovo si de cea de pe una dintre tablitele de la Tartaria.

Arheologul britanic Colin Renfrew, care a efectuat sapaturi tot in Bulgaria, la Sitagroi, sustine aceasta ipoteza. Apoi, celebrul profesor arheolog italian Marco Merlini, director al Prehistory Knowledge Project, membru al World Rock Art Academy Italia, care, impatimit de “miracolul” de la Tartaria, a cautat si a descoperit oasele gasite de Vlassa impreuna cu cele trei tablite.

Dupa ce acestea au fost analizate si datate la Departamentul de Geologie al Universitatii din Roma, profesorul Merlini a concluzionat: Datarea e foarte veche, in jur de 7.300 de ani! Iar oasele au apartinut unei femei in varsta de 50-55 de ani, careia el ii atribuie un rol religios, fiindca printre oase au mai fost gasite 23 de obiecte sacre, printre care o ancora pentru tesut, niste bratari si niste statuete de idoli.

Aflat in anul 2004 in tara noastra, celebrul arheolog italian avea sa declare unui confrate: “Oasele ca si tablitele sunt foarte vechi. Acum este o certitudine. Acum este randul nostru sa gasim ca scrierea a inceput in Europa cu doua mii de ani inaintea Sumerului.

In Romania, avem o comoara imensa, dar ea nu apartine numai Romaniei, ci intregii Europe.”

Cercetarea artefactelor, o datorie pentru istorici, nu o pierdere de timp
Am prezentat toate aceste date pentru a incerca sa sensibilizam cercetarea romaneasca in domeniu, in asa fel incat sa putem raspunde, fara teama de a ne compromite, unor provocari ca aceasta pe care ne-o propune profesorul Dumitru Ionita. Pentru ca descoperirea sa constituie, fara indoiala, o mare provocare.

Nu suntem in masura sa dam sfaturi, dar credem ca este de datoria specialistilor sa cerceteze nu numai aceste incredibile artefacte, dar si altele care zac prin depozitele muzeelor de zeci si zeci de ani, fara sa fie bagate in seama de cineva.

Credem ca aceasta este o datorie, nicidecum o pierdere de timp, pentru ca, pana la urma, elementele identitare ale existentei noastre ca popor european isi afla sustinerea si in asemenea dovezi. Incheiem prin a spune ca tablitele de la Vadu Rau tebuie sa beneficieze de o atentie sporita. Ca de altfel si alte obiecte adunate cu truda si pasiune de neobositul profesor de istorie de la Farcasa care, periodic, ne surprinde cu cate o descoperire de exceptie.

Documente arheologice din Neamt

Descoperirile uimitoare facute de un profesor in Muntii Nemtului au avut darul sa stârneasca largi controverse in rândul istoricilor si sa aduca zona in centrul atentiei, transformând-o intr-un tinut al misterelor greu de elucidat.

Aici, au fost gasite tablite din lut, imprimate cu pictograme care s-ar putea dovedi a fi forme ale celei mai vechi scrieri din lume.
Mai nou, tot aici a fost descoperita o ciudata structura megalitica, inscriptionata cu un amestec de litere glagolitice, caracetere paleoslavone si simboluri necunoscute.

In cazul in care ar fi descifrat, textul ar putea oferi informatii despre viata si cultura celor care au trait pe aceste locuri cu mai bine de o mie de ani in urma. Dumitru Ionita este doctor in istorie, filosofie si drept international. Locuieste in Farcasa si este profesor de stiinte socio-umane, la liceul din Borca.

In palmaresul descoperirilor sale sunt incluse sceptrul voievodal ceremonial al lui Stefan cel Mare, sigilliul din aur al lui Cuza, icoana lui Daniil Sihastru, paftalele lui Petru Rares, blazonul familial al domnitorului Mihail Sturdza si harta cartografului Ortelius, in care apare pentru prima oara Dacia pe globul pamântesc.

Profesorul Dumitru Ionita, din comuna Farcasa, iese la rampa cu o noua descoperire interesanta. Este vorba de un obiect din piatra care are forma unui craniu. In cursul lunii decembrie, profesorul a gasit un craniu pietrificat ce are o forma bizara, ce il apropie de un ipotetic craniu de extraterestru. Profesorul spune ca obiectul este relativ identic cu cel de la Roxwell (SUA), descoperit in anul 1967.

Cel de la Vadu Rau are o greutate de 6 kilograme si o inaltime de 37 de centimetri. "In situl unde a fost descoperit, au mai fost gasite circa 300 de tablite din lut ars, dintre care 120 poarta insemne protoliterate - celebrele tablite de la Vadu Rau, si care dateaza din neolitic, circa 4500-4300 inainte de Hristos, aici fiind, probabil, un centru de confectionare a acestora.

Ulterior, astfel de tablite au fost raspindite pe o vasta arie geografica, de la Tartaria, unde au fost gasite 3 astfel de tablite, pina in insula Pastelui, fiind cea mai veche scriere protoliterata din lume, cu aproximativ un mileniu inaintea celei din Summer-Irak", a declarat profesorul Ionita. Acesta crede ca descoperirea sa este una foarte importanta. "Sa fi fost aici arealul enigmaticilor atlanti sau Tara Ramaiasilor (Tara oamenii focului)? Ramine totusi o mare enigma, ce viitorul s-ar putea sa-l dezlege", mai spune profesorul.

Pe teritoriul comunei Farcasa, in situl arheologic deschis la poalele Ceahlaului, in punctul denumit Vadu Rau, profesorul a gasit nu mai putin de 120 de tablite din lut ars, inscriptionate cu simboluri protoliterate -imagini reprezentând forme primitive de scriere ale populatiei din perioada neolitica.

Tablitele protoliterate descoperite de profesorul Ionita s-au dovedit a data din perioada anilor 5.500 inainte de Hristos si sunt identice, ca forma si mod de exprimare, cu cele din anticul Sumer. Deosebirea este insa aceea ca tablitele sumeriene, considerate actualmente a constitui prima forma de scriere din istoria omenirii, sunt cu cel putin 1.000 de ani mai noi decât cele descoperite la Farcasa.

"Acest lucru dovedeste, in mod indiscutabil, faptul ca primele scrieri din lume au aparut la noi si nu in alta parte a globului pamântesc", a afirmat istoricul Ionita. El a mai spus ca va face toate demersurile pentru a ni se recunoaste acest lucru pe plan international.


 Cercetarile profesorului Ionita in Muntii Neamtului au dus, recent, la descoperirea unei pietre imense, inscriptionata cu un amestec de simboluri misterioase si de litere apartinând unui alfabet vechi de peste o mie de ani.

Descoperirea a fost facuta pe Valea Bistritei, respectiv in zona unei trecatori de pe masivul Goia. Piatra este incizata cu o scriere care se deruleaza pe registre semicirculare, iar simbolurile, precum si literele care apartin alfabetului glagolitic si, partial, celui slavon vechi, au dimensiuni de 10-15 centimetri", a relatat profesorul Ionita.

Scrierea glagolitica a aparut in secolul al IX-lea (dupa unele opinii chiar cu mult inainte de aceasta data) si este constituita dintr-un amestec de litere grecesti si arabe. Alfabetul glagolitic a fost folosit in anii 800 de fratii Chiril si Metodiu, care l-au adaptat limbii slavone transformându-l in cunoscutul alfabet chirilic pe care l-au utilizat, mai apoi, pentru a traduce Scriptura si Liturghia din limbile greaca si latina.

In anul 1717, tarul Petru cel Mare, aflat in vizita la catedrala din Rheims, a descoperit un fapt uimitor: regii Frantei erau incoronati, de sute de ani, depunând juramântul pe o Evanghelie scrisa partial in limbaj glagolitic, mostenita de la primul rege francez crestinat, Clovis.

Tarul Petru a descifrat cu usurinta textele scrise intr-o limba asemanatoare celei slavone. In cazul pietrei descoperite in Muntii Neamtului, lucrurile sunt insa mai complicate, fiindca literele glagolitice sunt insotite de simboluri misterioase, formând mesaje de sine statatoare. In opinia profesorului Ionita, acest fapt ar putea fi explicat prin aceea ca, in urma cu peste o mie de ani, locuitorii acestor tinuturi au incercat sa imbine alfabetul glagolitic care tocmai se raspândea, cu propria lor forma de exprimare scrisa, datând din vremea geto-dacilor.

O desoperire asemanatoare a mai fost facuta, pe teritoriul tarii noastre, doar la Basarabi, in judetul Constanta, unde a fost scos la lumina un complex rupestru sapat intr-un masiv muntos de creta. In lume, se mai pastreaza de asemenea sapte manuscrise glagolitice, adevarate opere de arta in opinia profesorului Ionita, printre acestea numarându-se cele de la Vatican, Athos si Sinai.
Dat fiind faptul ca scrierea glagolitica a fost folosita in exclusivitate doar pentru textele si mesajele cu caracter religios, piatra descoperita pe Valea Bistritei ar putea reprezenta fie un monument funerar al vreunui conducator, fie un altar de inchinaciune al crestinilor timpurii de pe meleagurile noastre.

"Facem in continuare cercetari in zona si mai ales ne straduim sa descifram textul sapat in piatra, fiindca descifrarea acestor grupuri de litere ce contin un mesaj evident, ar putea elucida aspecte inedite cu privire la istoria veche a României", a spus Dumitru Ionita. Vestigiul cu inscriptii glagolitice, datând dupa primele estimari ale profesorului Ionita cel putin din secolele IX-X, nu a scapat insa manifestarilor barbare ale oamenilor timpurilor noastre.

Dupa ce au aflat de descoperire, câtiva localnici au dinamitat pur si simplu blocul de piatra, in speranta ca sub ea vor gasi ingropate comori. Nu au gasit nimic, insa au reusit sa distruga partial piatra inscriptionata, dislocând-o si spargând-o in trei blocuri distincte.

Din nefericire, autoritatile nu au luat nicio masura vis-a-vis de actul de barbarie comis. Din fericire, insa, inscriptiile misterioase s-au pastrat in marea lor majoritate si asteapta sa fie descifrate.


Socant: un posibil sanctuar megalitic, distrus de buldozere la Farcasa


11 ianuarie 2010In cursul lunii octombrei 2009, lucrarile de amenajare a unui drum satesc in localitatea Farcasa, judetul Neamt, par a fi scos la lumina un sanctuar megalitic, ne informeaza pr. dr. Dumitru Ionita din localitatea amintita care, din nefericire, a fost distrus, fara ca specialistii sa fi putut sa-si spuna parerea.

Din cele relatate de inimosul profesor, sanctuarul ar fi avut  elemente de corespondenta cu acelea ale celebrului sanctuar de la Stonehenge, din Anglia. Prezent la fata locului, profesorul Ionita a identificat 13 bucati mari de piatra, care ar fi fost dispuse semicircular si care ar fi deservit probabil cultului solar al unei civilizatii necunoscute si misterioase din zona.

Pietrele despre care vorbeste profesorul aveau forma paralelipipedica si lungimi care variau intre 3 si 4 metri, fiecare cantarind cateva zeci de tone. Interventia utilajelor folosite de autoritatile locale pentru amenajarea drumului au netezit practic terenul, colosii din piatra fiind sparti, transportati in alta zona din locul lor de bastina.

Tablite gen Tartaria, descoperite in apropierea megalitilor
Din informatiile pe care profesorul le-a cules de la localnici, a aflat ca prin anii ’30 ai secolului trecut, aproximativ 50-60 de pietre de mari dimensiuni au fos stramutate din acelasi loc, cu carele trase de boi, la 2 km distanta, in aceeasi zona Farcasa, fiind folositi pentru protejarea unei zone amenintata de revarsarile raului Bistrita.

Informatiile transmise noua de catre prof. dr. in istorie Dumitru Ionita sunt cu atat mai interesante cu cat in aceeasi zona, la numai cativa metri distanta de locul presupusului sanctuar, au fost descoperite celebrele tablite la Vadu Rau, foarte asemanatoare cu cele de la Tartaria despre care am relatat pe larg intr-unul din numerele din anul trecut al ziarului nostru.

Incercand sa incadreze in epoca, subliniind prin aceasta importanta probabilei existente a unui sanctuar in zona, profesorul Ionita spune ca ar fi foarte posibil ca acesta sa fi fost ridicat in perioada “mileniilor VII-VI i.d Hr., in baza analogiei cu tablitele descoperite aici", fata de care, asa cum se intampla la noi, specialistii nu au manifestat nici un fel de interes.

La noi se distrug cu buldozerul, la ucraineni se conserva megalitii
In lipsa unor pareri avizate, nu ne ramane decat sa semnalam faptul si sa tragem un semnal de alarma cu privire la modul in care se gestioneaza de catre autoritatile indriguite patrimoniul arheologic al tarii.

Facem acest lucru cu atat mai mult cu cat, vecinii nostri ucraineni au inceput sa desfasoare un amplu program de  inventariere a unor  lucrari megalitice, dupa ce au descoperit un grup de stanci langa satul Snidavka, regiunea Kosovsky, monument asemanator cu celebrul Stonehenge din Anglia, pomenit de noi mai sus.

In timp ce la Farcasa noastra buldozerele distrugeau impresionantele structuri din piatra, cercetatorii ucrainieni considerau megalitii din Carpatii lor drept “cele mai mari descoperiri arheologice care au avut vreodata loc pe teritoriul Ucrainei".

La noi, dezinteresul autoritatilor tin si astazi intr-un nemeritat anonimat tablitele inscriptionate descoperite aici de profesorul Ionita. Artefacte pentru care orice academie sau minister al culturii din orice tara civilizata ar depune eforturi pentru a le studia si proteja.

Cu atat mai mult cu cat, nu este exclusa o legatura intre ele si acesti paralelipipezi din piatra despre care ne-a relatat domnul Ionita.  Dupa cum informeaza Pravda, arheologii ucraineni au estimat vechimea sculpturilor megalitice la circa cinci sau sase mii de ani, iar ridicarea lor ramane un mister, in conditiile in care constructii asemanatoare nu au mai fost descoperite decat in Portugalia si Irlanda. 

Printre cele mai importante sculpturi descoperite aici se numara statuia inalta de 14 metri a unei femei insarcinate. Potrivit localnicilor, presedintele ucrainean Viktor Iuscenko a vizitat deja locul si i-a asigurat pe arheologi de tot sprijinul autoritatilor guvernamentale



Tartaria Controversy, Nicolae Vlassa and the Tablets

Palpitaţii după 7.000 de ani 

10 Aug 2009 Ruxandra Hurezean (Romanian only)
Ignoraţi de autorităţi şi istorici, sătenii din Tărtăria, judeţul Alba, îşi fac singuri muzeu cu plăcuţele descoperite în 1961 şi considerate de italieni cele mai vechi scrieri din lume.  
Descoperiri arheologice
Plăcuţele descoperite în 1961 la Tărtăria sunt considerate acum cele mai vechi scrieri din lume.












 descoperite în pământul miriştilor din sat în 1961 de arheologul Nicolae Vlassa de la Cluj, au fost prilej de multă vorbărie, controverse şi hâră între istorici. Şi este un exemplu de superficialitate şi indolenţă a autorităţilor, dar şi de lipsă de respect pentru meserie şi adevăr din partea istoricilor români.

Colegii arheologului Vlassa au ajuns până acolo încât l-au suspectat că a confecţionat singur plăcuţele şi le-a pus în pământ pentru ca apoi să se umple de glorie. Cu alte cuvinte, că ar fi vorba de o mistificare a istoriei, o făcătură românească menită să alimenteze orgoliul unui popor slab, fără o istorie clară şi fără identitate.

Şi astăzi există detractori ai descoperirii. Nici ei şi nici susţinătorii descoperirii nu au mers însă cu râvnă şi determinare până la capăt. Nu au demonstrat nici unii dacă au sau nu dreptate. Nu au făcut efortul de a căuta ceea ce meseria lor le-o cere: adevărul. Aşa a ajuns un italian, Marco Merlini, cercetător la Institutul de Istorie Veche de la Roma, să coboare el în pivniţele muzeului de la Cluj, unde a scotocit şi a găsit osemintele descoperite lângă plăcuţe. Le-a luat şi a plecat cu ele spre laboratoarele de la Roma, le-a datat şi le-a studiat în detaliu, cu instrumente performante, şi a confirmat ipotezele profesorului Vlassa: că sunt de la 5370-5140 î.Hr., adică înainte cu 2000 de ani de scrierea sumeriană, considerată prima din lume. După 42 de ani de bâjbâieli şi suspiciuni, concluzia istoricului italian este categorică: „Analiza noastră asupra tăbliţelor respinge ipoteza conform căreia acestea sunt falsuri moderne sau antice, sau importuri din Orientul Mijlociu. Gheorghe Lazarovici (n.r. - istoric clujean) şi cu mine am verificat şi am constatat că tăbliţele sunt făcute din acelaşi material, material procurat din surse locale, şi conţin o cantitate mică de argilă şi una mare de nisip“.

O femeie a făcut istorie: Milady de Transilvania
Oasele lângă care au fost găsite plăcuţele cu o scriere „preistorică“ au fost, spun arheologii, ale unei preotese-vrăjitoare. Suferea de o boală osoasă, avea coloana strâmbă şi-şi târa un picior. Cocoşată şi şchioapă, „Milady de Transilvania“ a dat peste cap comunitatea istoricilor internaţionali pentru că a intrat în pământ cu 7.000 de ani în urmă, lângă halta din Tărtăria, şi a luat cu ea secretul unor plăcuţe de lut pe care avea scrise incantaţii, texte sacre, doar de ea dezlegate, doar de ea ştiute.

Milady a intrat şi în cataloagele internaţionale de arheologie şi în compendiile de scrieri străvechi. Testele cu C14 şi testele Röntgen i-au stabilit vârsta, vechimea şi bolile de care suferea. Misterul plăcuţelor din mormântul ei îi frământă însă şi astăzi pe arheologii şi istoricii din lumea întreagă. Nu însă şi pe cei români într-atât încât să clarifice ei lucrurile.

Agri-cultura neolitică
Cu câţiva ani în urmă au venit la o chermesă politicieni, oameni de afaceri, directori de muzee. Au inaugurat un monument al plăcuţelor la intrarea în sat, au promis investiţii în amenajarea sitului istoric, un domn Păunescu a promis un hotel, dar apoi au plecat toţi. Şi n-au mai dat nici un semn de viaţă. Au rămas primarii din Săliştea (comuna de care aparţine Tărtăria) care s-au împotmolit în hârtii. Ei nu au reuşit să cumpere terenul unde a fost făcută descoperirea, deşi Consiliul Judeţean a alocat doi ani la rând o sumă de bani (în jur de un miliard de lei vechi) în acest scop. Şi acum sătenii ară şi seamănă pământul scoţând în fiecare primăvară cioburile de vase din culturi neolitice la suprafaţă. În porumbiştea de lângă calea ferată nici nu mai ştii dacă e cultură de cucuruz sau de „cioabe“ neolitice. Sunt aşa de multe încât nu le mai bagă nimeni în seamă. Într-o vreme le făceau grămadă în iarba de lângă ogor, „poate or veni profesorii de la Cluj să le coate (n.r. - să le caute) de vechime“, dar după ce au văzut că nimeni nu se mai interesează de ele, le-au lăsat în pământul ogorului. Plugul le frământă în fiecare toamnă, le scoate şi le îngroapă din nou, tot mai sfărâmate de moara timpului şi ploilor.

Sătenii îşi fac muzeu la magazin
În Tărtăria de astăzi, şi descoperirea că acolo ar fi buricul Pământului a devenit motiv de hâră politică. Ceva de genul: al cui să fie buricul? Actualul viceprimar, Gheorghe Linuţ de la PNL, nu ştie prea multe despre soarta terenurilor cu vestigii pe care se cultivă porumb: „A fost o singură dată vorba în Consiliul Local de nişte pământuri ce trebuie cumpărate, pentru că au acolo cioburi, parcă prin noiembrie, dar nu s-a lămurit nimic. Am auzit că ar fi fost un miliard prins undeva ca să cumpărăm terenul, dar nu am reuşit să-i adunăm pe oamenii care sunt proprietari. Nu e aşa uşor…“. Spune că brandul lor sunt plăcuţele, dar se înfurie când vine vorba de fostul vice, care era de la PDL. Nu crede că ăla ştie mai multe.

Fostul viceprimar Ioan Munteanu este proprietarul magazinului din sat. Aflăm că ar avea un plan. Omul a fost personal la Consiliul Judeţean din Alba, însoţit de Gheorghe Rustoiu, directorul muzeului de acolo, şi a primit promisiunea că acel miliard, care a fost alocat şi în anii trecuţi pentru cumpărarea terenului, va fi alocat şi acum. Ba mai mult, ne spune fostul vice, „terenul va fi cumpărat de muzeul din Alba ca să nu mai rătăcim problema prin primării“. Munteanu a făcut o asociaţie, „Tărtăria“, formată din zece localnici, preotul şi câţiva profesori. Împreună vor să pună bani şi, după ce va fi expropriat terenul, să-l împrejmuiască. Vor să pună acolo un panou cu precizări istorice, ca să se ştie unde a fost făcută descoperirea. Au strâns deja banii pentru panou. Ba mai mult, oamenii nu mai aşteaptă după autorităţi şi asociaţia lui Munteanu a făcut rost de la Muzeul din Cluj de o copie a plăcuţelor, de cataloage şi lucrări ştiinţifice care arată importanţa descoperirii de la ei din sat. Vrea să le pună într-un raft de sticlă la el, la magazin, şi „pun anunţ la gară că cine vrea să vină să le vadă“.

În acelaşi timp, nea Julescu, omul în casa căruia a fost găzduit profesorul Vlassa în 1961 când a făcut descoperirea, s-a apucat de treabă şi a curăţat, a văruit şi a aranjat magazia unde au stat arheologul şi studenţii lui. Bătrânul spune că atâta lume vine să o vadă, că-i musai să o aranjeze ca să o arate la străini. „Aici“, spune nea Julescu, întinzând mâna spre soare răsare, „aici o fost săpată o groapă de, hai să zic, 50 de metri, adâncă de unu şi optzeci, poate doi metri. Era vară, profesorul de la Cluj stătea la noi de câteva săpămâni, iar noi îl ajutam la sapă. E, pe bani, nu gratis... Când o găsit plăcuţele s-o bucurat mult, o sărit în sus şi numa nu juca de bucurie cu studenţii lui. În seara aceea am adormit greu că mă tot gândeam de ce o fi aşa de vesel profesoru’, că nu prea înţelegeam. Nici azi nu ştiu prea bine de ce s-o bucurat aşe! Că erau nişte bucăţi, ni, aşe, de lut, cu ceva scrijelit pă ele! Dar mare bucurie o fost!“

Ion Julescu ne spune povestea săpăturilor din 1961 şi se uită în pământ: „Poate că nu e bine că ne ducem şi noi şi n-o mai avea cine să arate nici locurile astea…“.

Americanii cred în Tărtăria
La începutul acestei veri, cercetătorii americani de la Institutul din Sevastopol au susţinut un simpozion la Cluj, iar concluzia lor a fost că această cultură străveche de la Tărtăria este susţinută de descoperiri similare în bazinul dunărean, nu este o excepţie şi nici o exagerare. „Tărtăria-Turdaş, ca şi descoperirile de pe malul Dunării din Bulgaria sau fosta Iugoslavie, demonstrează că exista în acest bazin ambianţa propice unei culturi spectaculoase precum cea de la Tărtăria“, spune Zoia Maxim, unul dintre istoricii care nu au abandonat cazul Tărtăria.

Dacă lucrurile stau astfel şi există suficiente dovezi că acolo, la Tărtăria, exista o cultură străveche circumscrisă culturii vechi dunărene, atunci locul acela este un fel de buric al lumii preistorice. Aici s-au descoperit vase purtând însemnele de pe plăcuţe, iar Zoia Maxim, arheolog de la Muzeul din Cluj, ne explică în mijlocul sălii de expoziţie ce a descoperit profesorul Vlassa. A scos la iveală patru straturi de civilizaţie şi o serie de obiecte care însoţesc tăbliţele. În groapa ritualică în care era scheletul preotesei s-au mai găsit 26 de idoli de lut ars şi doi de alabastru, statuete cu înfăţişări omeneşti, o brăţară de scoică, un vas ritualic. De zeci de ani nu s-au mai făcut cercetări la Tărtăria, iar istoricii români au rămas cu impresiile formate din publicaţiile vremii.

Marco Merlini pune Tărtăria pe net, în 3D
Un număr din ce în ce mai mare de cercetători cred, într-un final, în existenţa unei scrieri neolitice europene, iar simbolurile inscripţionate pe tăbliţele din Tărtăria ar fi o formă foarte timpurie de scriere. Marco Merlini a venit, a muncit, a fotografiat şi a lansat cel mai important proiect la care lucrează acum în care bazinul dunărean schimbă în mod esenţial istoria culturală a lumii: „Sunt de părere că este timpul ca oraşul Cluj să exploateze norocul pe care îl are prin deţinerea tăbliţelor şi să organizeze primul muzeu din Europa dedicat scrierii danubiene. Succesul înregistrat de actuala expoziţie «The Danube Script in Light of the Tartaria and Turdas Discoveries» ţinută de Muzeul Naţional de Istorie a Transilvaniei din Cluj, în colaborare cu The Institute of Archaeomythology and the Tărtăria project at Euro Innovanet, este un indicator important pentru succesul pe care l-ar avea oraşul acesta.

Muzeul «scriptului danubian» ar atrage turişti care să genereze beneficii social-economice benefice pentru dezvoltarea economică locală“. Muzeul ar putea întemeia sinergii inovatoare între moştenirea culturală şi dispozitive multimedia internet-digitală, continuă Marco Merlini, pentru a realiza şi a oferi o expoziţie 3D online intitulată „Virtual museum of the earliest European writing“. „Prezentarea 3D ar putea fi conectată cu alte itinerarii cultural-turistice care pornesc de la colecţiile preistorice ale obiectelor inscripţionate şi ţinute în muzeele din Cluj sau din alte muzee din ţară. În final, Muzeul «Scriptului danubian» ar trebui conectat cu un Institut de Cercetare a scrierii danubiene capabil să dezvolte Clujul ca un hub center al circuitului internaţional de cercetători. Problema simbolurilor de pe tăbliţe şi a semnificaţiilor acestora este un subiect complex, iar interpretarea lor este departe de a fi elucidată“, propune Marco Merlini celor care nu s-au gândit încă ce ar putea face cu ce istoria le-a „pus în straiţă“.


Turdash-Vinca Symbols

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia  (Redirected from Vinča signs)

         File:Vinca "M".jpg                                                                                       

A drawing of a clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8.5 meters.

A Vinča symbol resembling Latin letter M. (Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License )

A drawing of a clay vessel unearthed in Vinča, found at depth of 8.5 meters.
Fragment of a clay vessel with an "M"-looking incision.The Vinča symbols, or signs, also known as the Vinča script. Vlassa believed the inscriptions to be pictograms and the finds were subsequently carbon-dated to before 4000 BC, thirteen hundred years earlier than the Sumerian alphabet. 

,                                                                     Amphora, Eneolithic Cucuteni, 7,000-3,500 BCE

Romanian National History Museum                                                                                     

Turdaş script, or Old European script are a set of symbols found on prehistoric artifacts from southeastern Europe. A few scholars believe they constitute a writing system of the Vinča culture, which inhabited the region around 6000-4000 BC. Most, however, doubt that the markings represent writing at all, citing the brevity of the purported inscriptions and the dearth of repeated symbols in the purported script; it is all but universally accepted among scholars that the Sumerian cuneiform script of c. 3000 BC is the earliest form of writing. It is more likely that the symbols formed a kind of "proto-writing"; that is, that they conveyed a message but did not encode language.

In 1875, archaeological excavations led by the archeologist Zsófia Torma (1840–1899) at Tordos (today Turdaş, Romania) unearthed a cache of objects inscribed with previously unknown symbols. In 1908, a similar cache was found during excavations conducted by Miloje Vasich (1869-1956) in Vinča, a suburb of Belgrade (Serbia), some 120km from Tordos. Later, more such fragments were found in Banjica, another part of Belgrade. Since, over one hundred and fifty Vinča sites have been identified in Serbia alone, but many, including Vinča itself, have not been fully excavated.[1] Thus, the culture of the whole area is called the Vinča culture, and the script is often called the Vinča-Tordos script.
The discovery of the Tartaria tablets in Romania by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961 reignited  date he expected, and earlier even than the writing systems of the Sumerians and Minoans. To date, more than a thousand fragments with similar inscriptions have been found on various archaeological sites throughout south-eastern Europe, notably in Greece (Dispilio Tablet), Bulgaria, former Yugoslavia, Romania, eastern Hungary, Moldova, and southern Ukraine.
Most of the inscriptions are on pottery, with the remainder appearing on whorls (flat cylindrical annuli), figurines, and a small collection of other objects. Over 85% of the inscriptions consist of a single symbol. The symbols themselves consist of a variety of abstract and representative pictograms, including zoomorphic (animal-like) representations, combs or brush patterns and abstract symbols such as swastikas, crosses and chevrons. Other objects include groups of symbols, of which some are arranged in no particularly obvious pattern, with the result that neither the order nor the direction of the signs in these groups is readily determinable. The usage of symbols varies significantly between objects: symbols that appear by themselves tend almost exclusively to appear on pots, while symbols that are grouped with other symbols tend to appear on whorls.
The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the oldest of them are dated around 4000 BC, around a thousand years before the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script. Analyses of the symbols showed that they had little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that these symbols and the Sumerian script probably arose independently. There are some similarities between the symbols and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China. However, Chinese scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of what might be called a precursor to writing which evolved independently in a number of societies. Indeed, there are some similarities between Sumerian cuneiform script and stone markings from Çatalhöyük in Turkey and Kamyana Mohyla in Southern Ukraine, both predating the Vinča culture by several millennia[citation needed].
Although a large number of symbols are known, most artifacts contain so few symbols that they are very unlikely to represent a complete text. Possibly the only exception is a stone found near Sitovo in Bulgaria, the dating of which is disputed; regardless, the stone has only around 50 symbols. It is unknown which language used the symbols, or indeed whether they stand for a language in the first place.
Clay amulet, one of the Tărtăria tablets unearthed near Tărtăria, Romania, and dated to ca. 4500

Meaning of the symbols
The nature and purpose of the symbols is a mystery. It is not even clear whether they constitute a writing system. If they do, it is not known whether they represent an alphabet, syllabary, ideograms or some other form of writing. Although attempts have been made to decipher the symbols, there is no generally accepted translation or agreement as to what they mean.
At first it was thought that the symbols were simply used as property marks, with no more meaning than "this belongs to X"; a prominent holder of this view is archaeologist Peter Biehl. This theory is now mostly abandoned, as same symbols have been repeatedly found on the whole territory of Vinča culture, on locations hundreds of kilometers and years away from each other.
The prevailing theory is that the symbols were used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society. If so, the fact that the same symbols were used for centuries with little change suggests that the ritual meaning and culture represented by the symbols likewise remained constant for a very long time, with no need for further development. The use of the symbols appears to have been abandoned (along with the objects on which they appear) at the start of the Bronze Age, suggesting that the new technology brought with it significant changes in social organization and beliefs.
One argument in favour of the ritual explanation is that the objects on which the symbols appear do not appear to have had much long-term significance to their owners - they are commonly found in pits and other refuse areas. Certain objects, principally figurines, are most usually found buried under houses. This is consistent with the supposition that they were prepared for household religious ceremonies in which the signs incised on the objects represent expressions: a desire, request, vow, etc. After the ceremony was completed, the object would either have no further significance (hence would be disposed of) or would be buried ritually (which some have interpreted as votive offerings).
Some of the "comb" or "brush" symbols, which collectively compose as much as a sixth of all the symbols so far discovered, may represent numbers. Some scholars have pointed out that over a quarter of the inscriptions are located on the bottom of a pot, an
ostensibly unlikely place for a religious inscription. The Vinča culture appears to have traded its wares quite widely with other cultures (as demonstrated by the widespread distribution of inscribed pots), so it is possible that the "numerical" symbols conveyed information about the value of the pots or their contents. Other cultures, such as the Minoans and Sumerians, used their scripts primarily as accounting tools; the Vinča symbols may have served a similar purpose.
Other symbols (principally those restricted to the base of pots) are wholly unique. Such signs may denote the contents, provenance/destination or manufacturer/owner of the pot.
Griffen (2005) claims to have partially deciphered the script, identifying signs for "bear", "bird" and "goddess". He compares two spinning whorls, Jela 1 and 2, with almost identical marks, and identifies similar marks on bear and bird figurines. The whorl inscriptions would read "bear — goddess — bird — goddess — bear — goddess–goddess" which he interprets as "bear goddess and bird goddess: bear goddess indeed", or "the bear goddess and the bird goddess are really a single bear goddess". Griffen compares the amalgamation of a goddess with bearlike and birdlike attributes in Greek Artemis. Griffen's "goddess" sign is two vertical strokes, apparently symbolizing a vulva; this is reminiscent of the Linear B "female" sign, two upright slanting strokes.

Marija Gimbutas and Vinca as Pre-Writing

The primary advocate of the idea that the markings represent writing, and the person who coined the name "Old European Script", was Marija Gimbutas (1921-1994)[citation needed], an important 20th century archaeologist and premier advocate of the notion that the Kurgan culture of Central Asia was an early culture of Proto-Indo-Europeans. She reconstructed a hypothetical pre-Indo-European "Old European civilization", which she contradictorily defines as having occupied the area between the Dniester valley and the Sicily-Crete line,[2]--only 8% of Europe. It followed from this contradiction between the term and its definition that there was a confusion between late European neolithic symbology and ancient Balkan logographics. Another contradiction is the concept of an 'old script' as opposed to an 'ancient script': when opposed to 'pre-history', 'history' refers to writing, and 'ancient history' refers to the earliest known civilizations[3] that by definition were the earliest to use writing--a script is 'historical', and its early forms can only be 'ancient' and not 'old'; symbology, on the other hand, can be 'pre-historic' or 'old'.

Fringe literature

Gimbutas observed that neolithic European iconography was predominantly female—a trend also visible in the inscribed figurines of the Vinča culture— and concluded the existence of a "matristic" (her term for "woman-centered", as opposed to androcentric, but not necessarily matriarchal) culture that worshipped a range of goddesses and gods. (Gimbutas did not posit a single universal Great Goddess.) She also incorporated the Vinča markings into her model of Old Europe, suggesting that they might either be the writing system for an Old European language, or, more probably, a kind of "pre-writing" symbolic system. Haarmann, who was more interested in logographics, reduced the "Old European" territory to 7.25% by excluding Sicily, southern Italy, and the western Balkans.[4] In this same area, Gimbutas's 8-9% model of Europe identifies symbols of nine other cultures such as the Tisza, Cucuteni, and Karanovo cultures which leaves a Vinča cultural space of 2.8% of Europe. Vinča logographics themselves have not been found on an area wider than the one described by Winn and including southeastern Hungary and western Bulgaria,[5] which means that by having been in use over barely 2,5% of Europe or just half of the Balkans, the term "Old European Script" is not a scientific designation, and the "Ancient Balkan Proto-Script" would have been a better choice. (Early hieroglyphics of ancient Egypt--3% of Africa--have never been called "the Old African Script".) Most archaeologists and linguists disagree with Gimbutas' interpretation of the Vinča signs as a full-fledged writing system. Indeed, as demonstrated by Winn's tables and frequencies, and by Griffen,[6] the Vinča system does not display syntax and tenses but, with its designs and repetitive patterns, it does show use of synecdoches, appositions, conversions, and ellipses.

 Like most undeciphered writing systems, the Vinča script has attracted the attention of fringe authors. The Serbian archaeologist Radivoje Pešić proposes in his book The Vinča Alphabet (ISBN 86-7540-006-3) that all of the symbols exist in the Etruscan alphabet, and conversely, that all Etruscan letters are found among the Vinča signs. This view is not accepted by mainstream archaeologists.

See also
Tărtăria tablets, the most complex examples of these signs
Jiahu signs, an even older example of probable proto-writing
Vinča culture
Dispilio tablet
Old European cultures
List of undeciphered writing systems
Gradeshnitsa tablets
Prehistoric Romania
Prehistoric Serbia 

Gimbutas, Marija. 1974. The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe 7000 - 3500 BC, Mythos, Legends and Cult Images
Griffen, Toby D., Deciphering the Vinca Script [1], 2007.
Winn, Shan M.M. 1981. Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: the sign system of the Vinča culture, ca. 4000 BC

Notes and references
^ Tasic, Nikola, Dragoslav Srejovic, and Bratislav Stojanovic. "Vinča: Centre of the Neolithic Culture of the Danubian Region". Belgrade: Centar za arheoloska istrazivanja Filozofskog fakulteta, 1990. (accessed 2009.06.22).
^ Gimbutas, Marija. "The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe: 6500 to 3500 BC: Myths and Cult Images". 1974. 2nd ed. reprint. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007, p. 17.
^ Collins English Dictionary
^ Haarmann, Harald. "Early Civilization and Literacy in Europe: An Inquiry into Cultural Continuity in the Mediterranean World". Berlin; New York: Mouton de Gruyter, 1996, p. 12.
^ Winn, Shan M. Pre-writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of the Vinča Culture ca. 4000 BC. Calgary: Western Publishers, 1981, p. 15.
^ Griffen, Toby D. "Deciphering the Vinča Script". 2006. (accessed 2009.05.29).

External links
Vinca-Tordos symbols at, including a font
The Number System of the Old European Script - Eric Lewin Altschuler
The Old European Script: Further evidence - Shan M. M. Winn
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The Karanovo and Gradeshnitsa Tablets (Bulgaria)

  Iin proto-writing known as the Vinca signs. The tablets are dated to the 5th millennium BC and are currently preserved in the Vratsa Archeological Museum of  Bulgaria.


The tablets date back to the 4th millennium B.C. They were found some 400 kilometres west of Lake Town. There are several dozens of them. Something is presumably written on their upper side. On their backside there seems to be a symbol resembling a sun wheel. Who and when will be able to decipher these tablets? 

picture at:


picture at :


picture at:

  Linear A script found in Bulgaria?

June 13, 2008   German Scientists: Europe’s Oldest Script Found in Bulgaria
18 May 2005,
Ancient tablets found in South Bulgaria are written in the oldest European script found ever, German scientists say.  The tablets, unearthed near the Southern town of Kardzhali, are nearly 7,000 years old, and bear the ancient script of the Cretan (Minoan) civilization, according to scientists from the University of Heidelberg, who examined the foundings. This is the Cretan writing, also known as Linear A script, which dates back to XV-XIV century B.C.
The discovery proves the theory of the Bulgarian archaeologists that the script on the foundings is one of the oldest known to humankind, the archaeologist Nikolay Ovcharov announced Wednesday.
Ovcharov, who is heading the archaeological expedition in the ancient Perperikon complex near Kardzhali, called the discovery “revolutionary”. It throws a completely different light on Bulgaria’s history, he said in an interview for the National Television. 

  Administrative tablet with cylinder seal impression of a male figure, hunting dogs, and boars, Jamdat Nasr, Uruk III; 3100–2900 B.C.
Mesopotamia, southern region, Met Museum, NY
Clay; 2 3/16 x 2 3/8 x 1 5/8 in. (5.5 x 6 x 4.2 cm)
Purchase, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Gift, 1988 (1988.433.1)

The ancient Mesopotamians stopped using clay tokens altogether, and simply impressed the symbol of the clay tokens on wet clay surfaces. In addition to symbols derived from clay tokens, they also added other symbols that were more pictographic in nature, i.e. they resemble the natural object they represent. Moreover, instead of repeating the same picture over and over again to represent multiple objects of the same type, they used diferent kinds of small marks to "count" the number of objects, thus adding a system for enumerating objects to their incipient system of symbols. Examples of this early system represents some of the earliest texts found in the Sumerian cities of Uruk and Jamdat Nasr around 3300 BCE, such as the one on the left.

Vinca script

 Ainu script: アイヌ イタ, aynu itak

The Dispilio Tablet (also known as the Dispilio Scripture or the Dispilio Disk) is a wooden tablet bearing inscribed markings (charagmata), unearthed during George Hourmouziadis's excavations of Dispilio in Greece and Carbon 14-dated to about 7300 years b.p. (5260 BC). It was discovered in 1993 in a Neolithic lakeshore settlement that occupied an artificial island[1] near the modern village of Dispilio on Lake Kastoria in Kastoria Prefecture, Greece.

  The importance of these findings lies in the fact that the oldest of them are dated around 4000 BC, around a thousand years before the proto-Sumerian pictographic script from Uruk (modern Iraq), which is usually considered as the oldest known script. Analyses of the symbols showed that they had little similarity with Near Eastern writing, leading to the view that they probably arose independently of the Sumerian civilization. There are some similarities between the symbols and other Neolithic symbologies found elsewhere, as far afield as Egypt, Crete and even China. However, Chinese scholars have suggested that such signs were produced by a convergent development of what might be called a precursor to writing which evolved independently in a number of societies.



Sargetia XIII, p.41-49 

In 2002 Criş County Museum purchased an archaeological collection from
Sálanki Imre. It consists in numerous artefacts from Suplacu de Barcău (stone axes,
vessels, some stone mould). One of this is the clay tablet which makes the object of this paper. About the place of discovery, we know just it comes from “Corău” point (see  pl. I). The artefact look like an fragmented disc with about 5,7 – 6 cm diameter and 6 mm in thick.

The clay is well burnt. We presume that this clay tablet belong to second
horizon of habitation from Suplacu de Barcău.
On one side, the disc has two semicircle areas made by incised lines filled with
stitched points. Between those two semicircles are represented two human figures in ornate position also realized by stitched points. The human silhouettes are disposed exactly contrary and are separated by a thinner dotted line. On the second side, the artefact is decorated just in incision technique. This side has the same two semicircle fields but just on field contains a human figure (See Pl. II/1 - 2).

After a short review over the so called old European writing problem
(S. Winn, D. Schmandt-Besserat, P. Michalowski), we conclude that the artefact from Suplacu de Barcău is in connection with religious beliefs from north-vest Romanian late Neolithic and the signs on the tablet may contain some message, but do not represent a writing.
Explanation of Plates
Pl. I. Localisation of Suplacu de Barcău village and of the places mentioned in text
Pl. II. Clay tablets discovered et Suplacu de Barcău
Pl. III. Clay tablets discovered at 1. Tărtăria; 2. Porodin „Veluska Tumba”; 3.
Karanovo; 4. Gradešnica

Pl. II. Tăbliţe de lut descoperite la Suplacu de Barcău 

Gruia Fazecaş

În 2002, după o pauză de 10 ani, au fost reluate săpăturile arheologice la Suplacu
de Barcău (jud. Bihor)

1. Acestea au fost determinate de începerea lucrărilor de
construcţie a unui baraj pe cursul mijlociu al râului Barcău, în zona localităţilor Porţi
(com. Marca, jud. Sălaj) şi Suplacu de Barcău

2. Deoarece lacul de acumulare ce rezultă din construcţia barajului urmează să acopere situl neolitic de la Corău, au fost executate săpături arheologice în punctele Corău I şi II - deja intrate în circuitul ştiinţific - precumşi executarea unor sondaje în zona afectată pentru reperarea unor eventuale situriarheologice noi. Aceste sondaje au condus la descoperirea altor zece puncte cu descoperiri arheologice

3. Cu această ocazie am avut ocazia să-l întâlnim pe Sálanki Imre, un pasionat al
istoriei locale şi colecţionar de piese arheologice din raza localităţii Suplac. O parte din piesele colecţionate de-a lungul timpului de către acesta au fost achiziţionate,
actualmente fiind înregistrate în colecţiile Muzeului Ţării Crişurilor

4. Din acest lot de piese face parte şi tableta de lut pe care o prezentăm în articolul de faţă. Artefactul se prezintă sub forma unui disc fragmentar cu un diametru relativ de 5,7 -6 cm şi cu o grosime de 6 mm; este realizat dintr-o pastă foarte fină, iar degresantul e compus din mâl. Piesa este foarte bine arsă, de culoare cărămizie, cu mici flecuri grideschis.



6 Makkay 1971.
7 Renfrew 1979, p. 181.
8 Gimbutas 1982, p. 87.
9 Winn 1981, p. 236, 253.
10 Schmandt-Besserat 1984, p. 72.
11 Schmandt-Besserat 1978; Eadem 1979; Eadem 1982; Eadem 1984; Eadem 1996.
12 Acestea sunt piese de lut de diferite forme, în general geometrice. Există şi tokeni sub formă de disc.
Au dimensiuni de 1 – 3 cm şi sunt realizaţi din lut fin. Unii dintre tokeni sunt cu semne realizate prin
incizie şi împunsături (Schmandt-Besserat 1982, p. 872

bun. Ea statuează că acest sistem de înregistrare apare, în aceeaşi arie din sud-vestul
Asiei, în care primele plante şi animale sunt domesticite, în jurul datei de 8000 î. Chr.13.
O consecinţă a sedentarismului fiind acumularea de valori, acestora trebuia să li se ţină
o evidenţă14. Concluzia sa este că scrierea fonetică îşi are originea nu în pictograme ci în
tokeni, forme abstracte, nefonetice ce nu reprezintă nici măcar imagini15. Primele tablete
scrise, care înlocuiesc tokenii în mileniul IV î. Chr, de asemenea reprezintă evidenţe de
bunuri16. Între 3500 – 3100 î. Chr. apar o mulţime de noi tipuri de tokeni cu o serie de
linii complexe incizate pe suprafaţă. Pe parcursul mileniului IV î. Chr. aceşti tokeni sunt
ţinuţi în vase, ca evidenţă a unei tranzacţii. De asemenea, pe exteriorul acestor
recipiente apar impresiuni ale tokenilor ce se află în interior, astfel că „cititorul” nu
trebuie să deschidă sigiliul acestor recipienţi pentru a cunoaşte interiorul17. Pe la 3100 –
3000 î. Chr. apar tabletele de lut scrise cu pictograme, acesta fiind momentul în care
autoarea afirmă că apare scrierea18.
Sistemul de ţinere a evidenţei prin intermediul tokenilor a fost sever criticat de
către P. Michalowski. El nu este de acord că mai mult de 10.000 de tokeni, dintr-o arie
ce acoperă multe culturi arheologice diferite au fost folosiţi pentru acelaşi scop, în
acelaşi fel, pentru mai multe milenii. De exemplu, la Uruk au fost descoperiţi 812 tokeni
care au fost clasificaţi în 241 de subtipuri – un sistem semiotic trebuie să aibă elemente
repetitive, însă aici e vorba de un sistem cu prea multe elemente singulare. O altă
obiecţie a acestuia constă în faptul că majorităţii tokenilor nu li se pot stabilii contextul
arheologic. Nu este de acord cu faptul că tokenilor descoperiţi în morminte (unele chiar
de copii), D. Schmandt-Besserat le-a atribuit rol de semne de putere. Acceptă că unii
dintre aceşti tokeni, în anumite locuri, la un anumit moment, au fost folosiţi ca elemente
de evidenţă a bunurilor sau ca mod de a aminti o tranzacţie, însă nu e de acord că toate
aceste piese au avut aceiaşi funcţie şi au avut acelaşi înţeles, aşa cum pretinde
D. Schmandt-Besserat19.
Într-o oarecare măsură ideile lui D. Schmandt-Besserat sunt continuate de către
H. Nissen, P. Damerow şi R. Englund20. H. Nissen datează apariţia scrisului
protocuneiform (sudul Mesopotamiei) şi protoelamit (Kazahstanul de azi) între 3500 –
2900 î. Chr., data de cca. 3100 î. Chr. fiind cea mai probabilă, dată ce corespunde fazei
Uruk IVa. Aceste tablete nu au fost folosite pentru a reprezenta un limbaj, ci bunuri,
terenuri şi gospodărire, precum şi numele ori profesiunea posesorului21. Ca exemplu, la
Uruk 85% din textele „arhaice” sunt „economice” şi doar 15% sunt „liste lexicale”22.
Analogii pentru piesa ce face obiectul prezentului articol nu avem. La Suplacu
de Barcău au mai fost descoperite două piese, unul de formă rotundă (Pl. II/4) şi celălalt
de formă ovală (Pl. II/3) prevăzute cu două perforaţii diametral opuse. Ele au fost
interpretate ca podoabe de tip pandantivi. Autoarea descoperirii aminteşte că pe
suprafaţa lor se păstrează urme de pictură23. O altă piesă ce se aseamănă cu exemplarul
13 Schmandt-Besserat 1982, p. 872.
14 Schmandt-Besserat 1982, p. 873 - 875.
15 Schmandt-Besserat 1992.
16 Schmandt-Besserat, 1982, p. 875.
17 Schmandt-Besserat 1996.
18 Schmandt-Besserat 1992, vol I, p. 191, 198.
19 Michalowski 1993, p. 997 sq.
20 Nissen, Damerow, Englund 1993.
21 Nissen 1986, p. 317; Rochberg 1995, p. 309; Ross 1995, p. 584; Nemet-Nejat 1997, p. 292, 294;
22 Nissen 1986, p. 323.
23 Ignat 1998, p. 62, 137, Fig 47/1 – 2

din colecţia Salanki, provine de la Oradea „Salca”. Este vorba de un disc de lut, bine ars
ornamentat cu două şiruri paralele de impresiuni cu unghia, intersectat în unghi de 90º
de un alt şir realizat prin acelaşi procedeu (Pl. II/5)24. Referindu-ne la o arie mai mare,
credem că există o oarecare asemănare între piesa de la Suplacu de Barcău şi cele de la
Tărtăria (Pl. III/1), Gradešnica (Pl. III/4a-b), Karanovo (Pl. III/3). Deşi nu reprezintă
acelaşi tip de piesă şi nici măcar acelaşi ornament, pintadera de la Porodin „Veluska
Tumba” (Pl. III/2), prin banda mediană decorată cu împunsături, care împarte în două
semicercuri suprafaţa piesei, se aseamănă cu cea de la Suplacu de Barcău.
Nu putem să nu observăm că pe o serie de idoli (atât zoomorfi cât şi
antropomorfi) de la Suplacu de Barcău se regăseşte asocierea dintre liniile incizate şi
împunsături. Pe vase acest decor este mult mai rar25. La aceasta adăugăm şi ipoteza că
poziţia de orantă pe care o regăsim pe piesa de la Suplac, reprodusă de trei ori şi care
este regăsită şi în repertoriul de „semne Vinča”, ar putea pune acest artefact în legătură
cu credinţele religioase specifice neoliticului târziu din nord-vestul României. Opinia
noastră este că piesa avută în discuţie în prezentul articol se asociază cultului religios
specific grupului Suplacu de Barcău, care încifrează şi transmite un mesaj, însă nu
constituie sau nu reprezintă elemente de „scriere”.
Fazecaş, Lakatos
– G. Fazecaş, Lakatos A., Arheologia mediului înconjurător.
Studiu de caz: Suplacu de Barcău, în In Memoriam Nicolae
Chidioşan, Oradea, 2003, p. 177 – 194.
Gimbutas 1982 – Marija Gimbutas, The Goddesses and Gods of Old Europe,
London, 1982.
Ignat 1998 – Doina Ignat - Grupul cultural neolitic Suplacul de Barcău,
Timişoara, 1998.
Luca 2001 – S. A. Luca, Cercetări arheologice la Oradea-Salca ... şi
câteva probleme legate de cultura Salca Herpály, în
Apulum 38/1, 2001, p. 27-83.
Makkay 1971 – J. Makkay, A chalcolithic stamp seal from Karanovo, în
Kadmos, 10, 1971, p. 1 – 9.
Michalowski 1993 – P. Michalowski, Tokenism, în American Anthropologist,
95, 4, 1993, p. 996 - 998
Muhly 1981 – J. D. Muhly, Review: McGuire, Robert D. Biggs (eds.) –
Seals and Sealing in the Ancient Near East, Malibu 1977,
în Journal of the Oriental Society, 101, 3, 1981, 399 – 401.
Nemet-Nejat 1997 – K. R. Nemet-Nejat, Review: H.J. Nissen, P. Damerow, R.
K. Englund (eds.) – Archaic Bookkeeping: Writing and
Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient
Near East, Chicago / London, 1993, în Journal of Near
East Studies, 56, 4, 1977, p. 292 -294.
24 Luca 2001, Fig. 5/3.
25 Ignat 1998, Fig. 34/7, 8; 36/7; 40/3,8; 41/5, 6, 7; 42/2; 43/3, 8

Nissen 1986 – H. J. Nissen, The archaic texts from Uruk, în World
Archaeology, 17, 3, 1986, p. 317 – 334.
Rochberg 1995 – F. Rochberg, Review: H. J. Nissen, P. Damerow, R. K.
Englund (eds.) – Archaic Bookkeeping: Writing and
Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient
Near East, Chicago & London, 1993, în Isis, 86, 2, 1995,
p. 309 - 310.
Ross 1995 – Jennifer C. Ross, - Review: H.J. Nissen, P. Damerow, R. K.
Englund (eds.), Archaic Bookkeeping: Writing and
Techniques of Economic Administration in the Ancient
Near East, Chicago & London, 1993, în American
Antiquity, 60, 3, 1995, p. 584 - 585.
– Denise Schmandt-Besserat, The Earliest Precursor of
Writing, în Scientific American, 238, 1978, p. 50 - 59.
– Denise Schmandt-Besserat, An Archaic Recording System
in the Uruk – Jemdet Nasr Period, în American Journal of
Archaeology, 83, 1979, p. 19 - 48.
– Denise Schmandt-Besserat, The Emergence of Recording,
în American Anthropologist, 84, 1982, p. 871 - 878.
– Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Review: Shann M.M. Winn -
Pre-Writing in Southeastern Europe: The Sign System of
the Vinca Culture CA. 4000 B.C., Calgary 1981, în
American Journal of Archaeology 88, 1, 1984, p. 71 - 72.
– Denise Schmandt-Besserat, Before Writing, vol. I - II,
Austin, 1992.
Denise Schmandt-Besserat – How writing came about,
Austin, 1996.
Winn 1981 S. M. M. Winn – Pre-Writing in Southeastern Europe: The
Sign System of the Vinča Culture, Calgary, 1981




The Broad Linguistic Homeland Hypothesis

  Satellite image of the Carpathians 

 Map of the main divisions of the Carpathians.
1. Outer Western Carpathians
2. Inner Western Carpathians
3. Outer Eastern Carpathians
4. Inner Eastern Carpathians
Southern Carpathians
6. Western Romanian Carpathians
7. Transylvanian Plateau
8. Serbian Carpathians


A broad homeland hypothesis of Indo-European origins proposes a vast linguistic continuum during the Mesolithic or (Epi-)Paleolithic, carried by foraging hunter-gatherers in the (semi-) nomadic stage, that connected the North Sea with the Volga-Ural, and that predated or was contemporary to the Funnelbeaker and Corded Ware horizons. The hypothesis draws on both archaeology and anthropology. The broad homeland hypothesis is "widely accepted",[1] although the Kurgan hypothesis is still "the single most popular" model of early Indo-European origins.[2][3] First proposed by Lothar Kilian (1983)[4] and (originally)[5] Alexander Häusler, the hypothesis ties the spread of Indo-European languages to many local developments that shared certain common ideas over a wide area. Their rejection of Kurgan intrusions impelled them to assume a relationship between the Pontic-Caspian cultures and the cultures from Northern and Central Europe that predated the Neolithic Corded Ware and Yamna cultures.Mallory[6] recognized the assumption of a "broad homeland" would solve the problems posed by any alternative geographically restricted hypothesis "by fiat"[7] However, he stressed the linguistic problems of retrieving genetic relationships between (already differentiated) languages spoken as long ago as the Mesolithic, which according to contemporary linguistic consensus would be impossible. Agnostic[8] of an historical or intense mutual interrelationship throughout this broader region, Mallory rejected the idea that an essentially unchanged phonetic or grammatical system could possibly have been maintained up until about the fourth or third millennium BC, about the time the kentum and satem branches diverged.


The Hungarian Point of View

Prehistory of Transylvania (continue)

On the other hand, farther east, along the Dniester River, groups that made Epigravette-Tardenois tools were breeding pigs and cattle around 5500 B.C. (!), and it is conceivable that their western cousins did likewise.

The Epipalaeolithical groups' moves toward food production were interrupted by the arrival of people who belonged to the Starčevo-Körös culture of the southern Balkans. The latter brought from their homeland the practices, assimilated from Anatolian migrants, of wheat and barley cultivation and goat and sheep husbandry. The cultivation of millet and the domestication of cattle may have been their own 'invention'.

Their settlements, found on the banks and lower terraces of rivers, had above-ground dwellings constructed of posts, and wattle and daub (Bedeháza, Lécfalva), as well as dugout huts (Lécfalva, Maroscsapó). They buried their dead within the settlements (Sepsiszentgyörgy, Bedeháza, Kolozsvár-Bácstorok). Whereas the Epipalaeolithical Cro-Magnons buried their dead in a supine position, the people of the Starčevo-Körös culture laid the dead on their side, with knees bent, and did not usually put other objects in the grave.

The excavations reveal a varying but clear pattern of food production. At some sites, there is evidence in equal measure of hunted and domesticated animals; at others, the ratio of domesticated to hunted animals is better than six to one. Although goats and sheep were the first to be domesticated, the breeding of cattle became more prevalent; at some sites, there is evidence of a large number of pigs, while at others there is no trace of this animal. Such variations (based on data extrapolated to Transylvania) may owe to chronology, but they could also be explained by environmental factors.

Due to the scarcity of data, such variations can only be surmised in the case of cultivated and gathered foodstuffs. Grinding stones found at some Transylvanian sites were evidently used for {1-21.} grinding seeds, but these could have been other than cereal grain. Few of the stone tools have the short blade, with one corner polished to a dull shine, that would indicate a sickle. The Starčevo-Körös communities were nevertheless food-producers, even if they continued to hunt and scavenge. It also appears that some of the groups in Transylvania specialized in processing minerals; this would explain why they settled in certain caves that had remained unoccupied since the Late Pleistocene period (Ponorohába, Csoklovina).

The Starčevo-Körös people probably came to Transylvania from the Banat. Their earliest known settlement is at Kolozsvár (Bácstorok). By this time, around 5500 B.C., they were crafting spherical vessels, with a red coating sometimes decorated with white spots. Some of them moved down the Szamos valley and settled in the Great Hungarian Plain, there to mix with the local Epipalaeolithical population; this may explain the discovery at Bácstorok of both Alpine and Cro-Magnon types, buried, according to the custom of the age, within and between the dwellings.

Around 5000 B.C., new migrants reached Transylvania, probably along the Maros valley. Their material culture, traces of which are also found in the southern part of the Great Hungarian Plain, dominates the archaeological finds from this period in Transylvania. Their earliest trace is the settlement at Szászhermány, where, besides coarse vessels made of clay mixed with chaff, finer bowls were bound bearing the white-spotted, red coating seen in the earlier period. Such painting is as rare in the Transylvanian settlements as it is in the southern part of the Great Hungarian Plain. Another exception is the Lécfalva site, where evidence of multicoloured painting was found. The finds of the early period show strong Bulgarian traits; the end of their settlement coincided with the final stage of the Starčevo-Körös culture.

During a brief, transitional period, southern Transylvania was inhabited by people of the Dudeşti culture, whose settlements had spread in western Wallachia; their presence is attested by finds in {1-22.} the lower stratum of Tordos IV and at Kőhalom. Then, in the Middle Neolithic period, the unity that had characterized the Early Neolithic disintegrated, and new groups migrated into Transylvania from many directions. The Vinča-Tordos culture appeared in the central reaches of the Maros River, between the southern Carpathians and the Érc Mountains, and in the east as far as Fogaras; other immigrants, identified by ceramics bearing linear decoration, moved from Moldavia into southeastern Transylvania, and in the northwest as far as the Mezőség. Traces of the Szakálhát group, which was present in the southeastern part of the Great Hungarian Plain, are found along the Szamos River (St Mihály cathedral, Kolozsvár), while farther north lived groups, known for painted ceramics, that were related to people of the northeastern Great Plain.

The Middle Neolithic pattern of population in Transylvania remained dominant until the end of the Copper Age. First to leave their Transylvanian home were a majority of the best-known, Vinča-Tordos people. When people from the central regions of the Balkans chose to settle around the Érc Mountains, they must have been drawn by the region's mineral riches; early copper tools were unearthed at Balomir and Radnót, and one of the oldest gold mines is in nearby Zalatna. They grew wheat and kept many animals, mainly cattle; domesticated animals provided some 70% of the meat consumed. Their raised, clay-floored dwellings were constructed of logs or wattle and daub. Their vessels include graceful cups, mostly with a red coating; spaces between the meandering incised lines have been indented with small sticks. Their culture is exceptionally rich in anthropomorphic and zoomorphic sculptures; these small clay figures may well have played a part in a fertility cult.

Of particular interest are small pictographic tablets, found at Tărtăria (Alsó-Tatárlaka) in 1961, which bear a remarkable resemblance to Protoelamite and Protosumerian objects. Given the distance {1-23.} in space as well as time — at least a millennium — between such finds in Transylvania and in Mesopotamia, it is questionable whether any contact might have existed between the two regions; early linear-geometric scripts bore common features even when they were developed in isolation. However, the inscribed tablets of Tărtăria reinforce the supposition that some of the signs on the clay products of the Vinča-Tordos culture were a form of writing. Thus, significantly, attempts at writing occurred in the Maros valley around 4000 B.C.; this implies the existence in the region of a quasi-state, focused on some simple shrine, and with a division of labour among the communities. Such a development would be scarcely conceivable if certain groups had not begun to use local metal ores and come to depend on others for grain and meat.

The attempt in Transylvania to construct a productive society marked by the central distribution of goods ultimately failed. New migrations interrupted this process. In the southeast, where the line-decorated ceramic culture had predominated, with people who practised primitive agriculture and animal husbandry (hunted animals accounted for at least 50 per cent of their consumption), the newcomers were people of the sheep- and goat-breeding, Boian culture in Moldavia and eastern Wallachia. Coming from the Olt valley, some smaller groups got as far as the middle reaches of the Maros, where their large pots and plates, decorated with excised triangular patterns and bunched lines, have been found in settlements of the Vinča-Tordos culture.

However, the major break came with the migration of painted-ceramics groups from the Szamos region in northern Transylvania, southward along the Maros valley. Their white or orange vessels, bearing red, and at times black, painted decoration, make an early appearance in the top layer of the Vinča-Tordos settlements, indicating a mingling of the two populations. Since finds of a later date show little evidence of this integration, it is likely that the majority of the Vinča-Tordos people fled or simply migrated along the Maros.

{1-24.} Thus, for a brief period at the beginning of the Late Neolithic age, most of Transylvania was inhabited by a uniform population, while the people of the Boian culture lived on in the southeastern highlands. Communities of the Petreşti culture, which had emerged from the painted pottery groups, occupied southern and some of central Transylvania for a long period. Their dwellings, constructed on a wood foundation in wattle and daub, were situated on river terraces and hills; some were built on stilts on dry land (Nagylak, Hermány). Their access to metal ore led them to forge contacts with distant peoples, in Wallachia, Dobrudja, and perhaps even farther south. Their pots, baked to produce a metallic ring, were painted with curved and spiral designs in black, red, and brown colours. Dishes, shouldered mugs, and cylindrical underplates indicate a capacity to melt metals, and copper finds support this. Originals and copies of laminated gold jewellery, found as far as Bulgaria, Greece, and, in the north, the Kassa basin, suggest exploitation of the local gold deposits. The smaller number of finds relating to agriculture and animal husbandry may be explained by the spread of metallurgy.

The Petreşti culture continued to evolve until the end of the Copper Age, but only in the territories formerly inhabited by the Vinča-Tordos people. Sweeping across the eastern Carpathians from the Pontic steppes, mounted Protoeuropids, who were cattle-breeders, occupied the settlements of the painted pottery people in the Szamos region (Magyarpalatka). Departing from earlier Neolithic custom, they buried their dead in large cemeteries at some distance from their dwellings (Marosdécse, Melegföldvár), laying the bodies supine, with knees slightly bent; the graves also hold large Pontic stone knives, bulbous-headed stone maces (Vizakna, Gredistye), and simple cups. In keeping with eastern custom, they put red and ochre paint alongside the corpse.

At about the same time, people of the Cucuteni-Tripolje (Erősd) culture arrived to settle in area of the Boian culture, in {1-25.} southeastern Transylvania. Migrations in led to recurrent alteration in the character of the populations in the eastern half of the Carpathian Basin; the newcomers mixed with the earlier inhabitants, changing lifestyles and material culture.

This latest incursion gave rise to the Tiszapolgár culture, which became established in the Tisza region, northern Transylvania, and the Banat; some of its bearers reached southeastern Transylvania (Bögöz), others spread out from the Banat to the middle reaches of the Maros River (Szászsebes, Maroskarna, Déva). The primitive hut settlements (Kalota) of these cattle-herding, agricultural peoples consisting of simple huts and the villages of the Cucuteni-Tripolje culture ringed the region inhabited by people of the Petreşti culture; if the latter survived peacefully in this turbulent era, it was probably thanks to the surrounding peoples' dependence on their metal craftsmen.

The Petreşti people passed on skills in painting vessels to their new neighbours of the Cucuteni-Tripolje culture. One of the most important finds of these vessels, which were decorated in two or three colours (black, white, and red) prior to firing, was at a mountain settlement at Erősd-Tyiszk, in a layer over four meters deep. The dwellings were constructed of posts and wattle and daub and had rimmed open fireplaces made of clay. The inhabitants of Erősd were partially dependent on agriculture for their sustenance; their main crop was wheat, sown in single rows. Although they raised livestock, mainly cattle, much of their meat came from hunting. Most of their tools, such as axes and hoes, were made of stone and bone; copper was used only for awls and jewels. Small clay figurines and clay seals used for body-painting evoke their rites and clan structure.

The Cucuteni-Tripolje culture extended to the upper reaches of the Maros, where it came into contact with the Tiszapolgár culture. The latter's settlement area was subsequently occupied by the Bodrogkeresztúr culture, whose bearers sometimes settled in their {1-26.} predecessors' villages (Déva, Marosgezse). Since conditions for intensive agriculture and animal husbandry were more favourable in the Banat and on the Hungarian Great Plain, the extension of the Bodrogkeresztúr culture to Transylvania can only be explained by the lure of the region's mineral deposits. It is significant that the incidence of copper tools grows rapidly as one moves from Transylvania towards the central area of the Bodrogkeresztúr culture. Long and short axes as well as 'double-edged' pickaxes from the copper-mining districts made their way to the Great Plain, and small pieces of gold jewellery are commonly found in the burial places of the Tisza region. It is therefore not surprising that only one of these small gold objects was found in Transylvania, in a Bodrogkeresztúr site at Marosvásárhely.

In other respects, Bodrogkeresztúr finds in Transylvania are similar to those in the Great Plain. Their tombs contain bodies lying on their side, with bent knees, and surrounded by double-handled or flowerpot shaped jugs and by shallow bowls. They villages probably consisted of dwellings constructed at ground-level; one group, which settled among Cucuteni-Tripolje people erected small, wooden-floored, wattle and daub houses (Réty).

By the time the Bodrogkeresztúr people reached the Háromszék basin, a peculiar process of integration was emerging in Transylvania. Mixed elements of the Bodrogkeresztúr, Petreşti and Cucuteni-Tripolje cultures start appearing on the eastern fringe of the Mezőség (Somkerék, Dedrád), while, around the middle reaches of the Maros, the mix involves the Bodrogkeresztúr and Petreşti cultures. At the end of this process of amalgamation, one finds the material remains of a culture that was the common legacy of southwestern Transylvanian and Oltenian tribes (Băile Herculane-Cheile Turzi group).

Some elements of the Transylvanian cultural mix reached the Great Plain (Hunyadihalom group), whilst others — obviously following the Szamos River — reached Ruthenia and eastern Slovakia, {1-27.} where their material culture became more simplified and, at a later time, cremation became the practice (Lažnany group).

The Băile Herculane-Cheile Turzi group frequently lived in caves (Herkulesfürdő, Nándor, Torda Gap). These regions were more suited to hunting than to grain cultivation cattle-breeding. Farmers, animal breeders, metal workers, and gold dealers did not freely choose to withdraw to the isolation of bleak caves. The impulse came from shepherds from the eastern steppes, descendants of the Srednii Stog culture, who by this time were grazing their flocks in Wallachia and Moldavia (Herkulesfürdő II/b); their bands stormed over the Carpathians and scattered the local communities, driving the people of the Băile Herculane-Cheile Turzi culture into the mountains, caves, and distant regions. Although the local population seems to have managed to cohabit with the first wave of invaders (Herkulesfürdő, Băile Herculane III, Lažnany), the succeeding waves of eastern shepherds drove them first into the highlands, and then beyond.

The slow emergence of this culture is abruptly halted around 2000 B.C., when a new wave of migration once again transforms Transylvania's population: groups of shepherds from the Macedonian and Bulgarian highlands move into southeastern Carpathian region. Their settlements appear first in Oltenia (Coţofeni I culture), southwestern Transylvania (Karácsonfalva, Tărtăria-Alsó Tatárlaka); later, during the Early Bronze Age, they spread over the entire territory of Transylvania (Coţofeni II, Kolozskorpád I). Evidence of their settlement can be found virtually everywhere, from the highlands to alluvial grasslands, and often in mountain caves. They were the first in Transylvania to cremate the dead, although skeletons — often powdered in ochre — have been found in the lower levels of their early burial grounds; they may have borrowed the latter custom from their eastern neighbours (Folteşti II culture), although it is equally conceivable that they were preserving their own, essentially East European traditions. The environment and nature of their numerous, scattered dwellings, fit the lifestyle of a semi-nomadic shepherd population. Signs of rudimentary agriculture appear only at a later time, together with a change in the structure of their dwellings: there is evidence at Kolozskorpád that one of their later communities used wattle and daub over a log foundation or log floor.

Although these people originated in an environment similar to that of the Cernavoda III culture, their pottery is radically different. In the early period (Coţofeni I), their large-handled, splayed water scoops, spherical jugs, and urns are decorated with short incised lines and striated indentations; a similar ornamentation and some similar vessels were also used in the Cernavoda III culture. Later (Coţofeni II), the decoration was elaborated with the addition of {1-29.} lentil-shaped designs. Another decorative innovation, mainly within Transylvania, is a line of small indentations designed for the encrustation of lime.

In the period of the Coţofeni II-Kolozskorpád culture, shepherd tribes from beyond the Carpathians flooded into southeastern Transylvania. People of the Folteşti III-Zăbala culture spread from the Háromszék Basin (Zabola) and the Brassó area (Gesprengberg) to the middle reaches of the Maros (Vládháza, Nándor). Little is known of their settlements. Their dead were buried on their side, with their legs pulled up, sometimes in simple pits, at other times in stone chests covered by mounds of earth. Their spherical, two-handled vessels, tall, barrel-like amphorae, and ribbed coarse pots evoke not only the east, but also the west, where similar pieces have been found in the middle reaches of the Tisza River (Hatvan culture). Since these finds are sometimes mixed with those of the Coţofeni culture, it is possible that in some localities the two populations had merged.

Towards the middle of the Early Bronze Age, the people of the Folteşti III-Zăbala culture were supplanted in southeastern Transylvania (and throughout Wallachia) by a new wave of immigrants: the people of the Glina III-Schneckenberg culture. The new settlers built their villages on hills. There were fireplaces inside their small dwellings, and some had a stone bench next to the wall. Their domestic animals included many sheep, and primitive ploughs fashioned from antlers indicate that they ploughed the land.

The clay model of a chariot found at Kucsuláta signals the beginnings of beast-drawn vehicles. They had curved stone knives and polished stone axe-adzes, but only a few copper tools have been found: awls, chisels, flat axes, and swords. Their coarser vessels were made of clay mixed with sand and ground shells, whilst the surface of their single and double handled mugs and small, handled cups was worked smooth. Their dead were buried lying on {1-30.} their side in a crouched position in stone coffers, with, in rare cases, their personal effects.

While the region along the Olt River was settled by people of the Glina III-Schneckenberg culture, the other parts of Transylvania remained populated by the Coţofeni people. In this late period, their vessels' principal form of ornamentation is the stab and drag decoration (Cîlnic culture), while the lentil shape becomes less common or disappears. By now, as a consequence of a more settled way of life, their wattle and daub houses (Kelnek) have two rooms as well as a fireplace and oven. There may well be a link between their longer residence in one location and the fact that the Cîlnic culture's densest network of settlements is in the area of the Érc Mountains (Muntii Apuseni). The so-called eastern copper axes — precursors of which date from the Cernavoda III period — are common finds in the region (Sáromberke). To be sure, this weapon, widely used throughout East Central Europe, was not produced solely in the Cîlnic area; it is nevertheless significant that a major 'treasure,' consisting of over forty axes, was unearthed in this region, at Bányabükk.

Towards the end of the Early Bronze Age, when the Glina III-Schneckenberg and Cîlnic cultures were fading away, a group that decorated ceramics mainly with a cord pattern appeared in the eastern and northeastern parts of Transylvania. The artifacts of those who settled in the Csík Basin (Jigodin culture) had much in common with those of the Glina III-Schneckenberg culture, as well as some similarities with vessels produced by people who lived in the same period around Hungary's north-central mountains (Hatvan culture).

On the eve of the Middle Bronze Age, groups from Moldavia began to settle in the Háromszék Basin of southeast Transylvania. This Ciomortan culture was related to the Monteoru and Costişa cultures. Their settlement on the Várdomb [Castle Hill] at Csík-csomortány was fortified with earthworks. A few of their two-handled {1-31.} jugs, spherical dishes, and cups have been found in graves, where the dead were buried on their side, their legs pulled up.

They did not survive long in their few fortified settlements. Unable to halt the influx of new waves of people of the Monteoru culture, they were forced to move to the more westerly parts of Transylvania. Their vessels' typical decoration of scratched-in triangles and pairs of lines filled with dots, as well as their broad mugs are found again in the later Wiettenberg culture.


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