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The Oldest European Civilization

Updated on May 11, 2015

A 7000 Years Old Civilisation

About 7000 years ago, the oldest European civilization flourished in the central and eastern Europe. It was the Eneolithic Culture of Cucuteni, an ancient society of equal people. The scientific world came to recognize Cucuteni today as the first civilization of Europe.

Archaeologists have named this culture after the village of the same name. Cucuteni is a village in Iasi county where, between 1885 and 1910, excavations revealed remains dating from the Neolithic 4500-3000 BC.

Cucuteni was widespread in Moldova, north-eastern Wallachia, south-eastern Transylvania and Bassarabia and was characterized by a ceramic of high quality, rich and varied painted and statuettes representing human and animal forms.

Spreading area of the oldest European civilisation
Spreading area of the oldest European civilisation | Source

The Uniqueness Of This Ancient Culture

Cucuteni ceramic culture is unique in Europe. Some similarities can be found just between Cucuteni ceramics and pottery and a neolithic culture in China. Between the two cultures it is anyway a very long time, the Chinese culture appearing about a millennium after Cucuteni.

Cucuteni preceded by several hundred years all human settlements in Sumer and ancient Egypt. According to these discoveries, the Cucuteni people were living in large settlements, a kind of proto-towns made up of buildings arranged in concentric circles.

Cucuteni ceramic culture is unique in Europe
Cucuteni ceramic culture is unique in Europe | Source

Artistic Productions And Art Of Peaceful Living

Occupation was hunting, farming and domestic crafts such as weaving, pottery and production of tools.

Predominant colors on Cucuteni ceramics are red, white and black, with some variations depending on the temperature at which the clay was burned. The forms are different, from simple glasses to large vessels such as amphorae.

Their artistic productions were dominated by repeated lines, circles and spirals that creates an optical illusion effect on vessels that were decorated in this unique way.

None of the anthropomorphic statuettes present any grotesque or angry feature. Rare male statuettes have faces covered by masks, while the female statuettes have long and slender legs. They are graceful, without masks and shows tattoos on the body.

There are no statues or figurines of chained slaves, or killed people. In the opinion of historians, this is a clear sign of an egalitarian and peaceful civilization. Experts talk about a cult of mother goddess. Cucuteni population practiced solar cults too, evident in pottery painting.

"Goddesses meeting" - female statuettes
"Goddesses meeting" - female statuettes | Source

The Great Mystery Of Cucuteni Ceramics

Here is the great mystery of the Cucuteni ceramics. Watching it,, the ceramics exudes a magic that calm your eye, but also raises many questions. What symbolize the ornaments, spirals and forms of the vessel? It is difficult to reconstruct and understand the mentality of those who manufactured the ceramics. What was the ancient artist thinking during Cucuteni times?

Here we have vessels in a form of binoculars, or trinoclu, which were not used in their everyday life. And then the question arises. What was their function? Were them objects of decoration? Objects that could be contemplated in the home, or ritual objects? It is very hard to find an answer to this questions.

That ceramic belongs to a period in which the potter's wheel did not exist. However, these vessels of various sizes and shapes are nearly symmetrical.

 Vessels in a form of binoculars
Vessels in a form of binoculars | Source

Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum

Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum, in Piatra Neamt, drew many Romanian and foreign tourists and it is appreciated by all its visitors. What is important is that Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum has been included in tourist circuits of several tour operators from Bucharest. Tourists come to Moldova, pass through Bucovina, stop at Piatra Neamt and then go elsewhere, to Brasov, for example.

The Cucuteni Vessels Exhibition in Vatican Palace, in 2008, was the biggest success so far abroad. Scientists were excited and visitors expressed their regret that Cucuteni exibition took so little.

Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum
Cucuteni Eneolithic Art Museum | Source
A markerPiatra Neamț, România -
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In Piatra Neamt the past, which Francis Ford Coppola transformed into scenes for one of his films, is in harmony with the modern aspects of living.


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