Pregnancy in the cult of Lengyel culture and the Neolithic of South-East Europe
. The present paper examines the role of idols of pregnant women and pregnancy in the Neolithic cult of Central and Southeastern Europe after 72 selected representations. The study started from three clay idols showing marks of pregnancy from the Mórágy, Györe and Santovka sites of the Lengyel culture and the burial of a woman who had died in childbirth unearthed in the Lengyel culture cemetery of Alsónyék-Kanizsa-dűlő. The first representations of pregnancy appeared in the Palaeolithic and they also occurred, even though sporadically, in the Neolithic of Near East and Southeastern Europe as well.Pregnant women are represented in the clay idols in standing, sitting (enthroned) and half-sitting positions just as it was normal at the idols of the Neolithic, although most of them belong among the standing representations. Sixteen groups of the representations of pregnancy could be differentiated by size and shape.Idols showing marks of pregnancy make a very low percent of the figural representations of the Neolithic and the Aeneolithic of Southeastern and Central Europe. The population of the Late Neolithic and Copper Age Lengyel culture also prepared similar figurines and used them at cultic events. The three idols of pregnant women from the Lengyel culture described in this paper represent three different types.All that we can say about the function of these objects is that they could take part in various versions of Neolithic idol cult, which however have not yet been unveiled.
The place of the Svodín type anthropomorphic vessels in the Neolithic of the Danube Basin
. The author carried out the typological analysis of the Neolithic and Early Copper Age anthropomorphic vessels of the Danube Basin on 70 complete or reconstructed items recovered from 53 sites and found analogues as far as Anatolia. He also determined the place of the “Svodín type” anthropomorphic vessels in the large group of anthropomorphic vessels of Central and Southeast Europe. A so-called threepartite “Schultergefäß” furnished with human traits (arms/hands, plastic breasts and plastic or painted facial parts) can be regarded as the archetype of the Svodín (Szőgyén, Slovakia) type anthropomorphic vessels. The vessels and the fragments that can be grouped in the type have been found on the territories of SW Slovakia and Lower Austria, at Aszód and Csabdi and also in larger numbers at a few sites of the Southern Transdanubian Lengyel culture, especially at Györe.The anthropomorphic vessels from Central and Southeast Europe entered into the database can morphologically be grouped into three forms (Gattung), eight series (Serien), 23 morphological groups and 42 versions. Basically, standing (72.3 %), sitting/enthroned (22.3 %) and hollow-pedestalled (5.2 %) vessel shapes can be differentiated. According to the analyses, vessel shapes that appeared only in the early or the middle or the late phase or only in the Aeneolithic and transitional shapes can be differentiated. The author also examines the meaning of the discussed anthropomorphic vessels, to what purpose they were made, based first of all on the finding circumstances.All the “Svodín-type” anthropomorphic vessels characteristic of the eastern occupation zone of the late Neolithic Lengyel culture came from the early phase of the culture. It could be observed that the figural plastic representations of the Lengyel culture show many similar traits to those of the Tisza culture in the Alföld, which is not surprising since the two cultures even shared a few sites on the territory of Northern Hungary.Regarding the anthropomorphic vessels, regional divergences can be discovered in the early Neolithic of Southeast Europe, which divergences increased in the subsequent periods and differences appeared between cultures and also between the individual sites.
Funeral bed or cabin? On the structure of Lengyel graves with posts in South Transdanubia. The authors analyse the shapes and the structures of the graves of the Late Neolithic — Early Copper Age (Lengyel culture) cemetery of Alsónyék-Bátaszék (South Transdanubia) with the help of trait analysis (“Merkmalanalyse”). The primary aim of the analysis is to examine the evolution and the origin of the uncovered post structure graves, a new phenomenon in the Central and SE European Neolithic and Copper Age. A hundred and twenty-three graves (7.72% of all the graves) had an interior posthole in each corner of the shaft. Several types and versions of this grave structure could be distinguished based on metric and morphological traits. Beside the typology of the grave shafts, the authors examine the social status of the persons who were often buried in these graves with especially rare and unique grave furniture. According to the final conclusions, they were not immigrants but the members of the local Lengyel population. The data shed light on both the social and the hierarchical changes that took place in the life of the Lengyel communities at the end of the Late Neolithic and in the initial phase of the Early Copper Age.
The authors discuss a group of objects having specific or cultic functions in the late neolithic Lengyel culture, which had formerly been referred to as “lamps”, “clay lamps” or “small clay altars”. These objects have been known from the entire occupation territory of the Lengyel community. However, recent excavations uncovered similar finds in a few graves of the Lengyel cemetery at Alsónyék-Bátaszék, which represent new types of the discussed group of objects. The Alsónyék cemetery with the unearthed 2400 burials of the Lengyel period and the settlement with 90 houses are the largest cemetery and settlement of the Eurasian area to date. The authors describe and publish these objects and the crouched inhumation burials that contained them. They also classify the finds and determine their typological and chronological place first of all within the Lengyel community. The possible antecedents are also reviewed in the Central and SE European Neolithic and Early Copper Age. Based on H. Schwarzberg’s study of the Anatolian and SE European finds, they suggest the name “Kulttischchen” for the finds of the Lengyel culture as well. According to the anthropological analyses, these objects were placed exclusively beside women at Alsónyék and also in the Mórágy late neolithic cemetery, which indicates the role that women played in the cultic life of the contemporary communities.
Authors:I. Zalai-Gaál, E. Gál, K. Köhler, and A. Osztás
In this paper, the authors discuss the dog offerings and dog burials found at the Lengyel culture (Late Neolitic/Early Copper Age) cemetery and settlement of Alsónyék-Bátaszék (sites 10/B and 5603/1). The role and symbolism of dog in the Neolithic and Early Copper Age are concerned based on archaeological, anthropological and archaeozoological data. The authors also analyse the social status of individuals next to whom the dogs have been buried. In addition to the presentation of Lengyel culture finds, a review on the Neolithic and Early Copper Age dog finds from Central and South-East Europe is given.
Authors:I. Zalai-Gaál, E. Gál, K. Köhler, and A. Osztás
Polished and perforated pendants carved from boar tusks, and jaws of boars and pigs are frequent grave furniture in the Late Neolithic and Early Copper Age cemeteries of the Carpathian Basin
. Pairs of tusk pendants were generally placed beside the dead in the early phase of the Lengyel culture, especially beside high status males, who wore these objects as symbols. The 2500 graves of the Alsónyék-Kanizsa-dűlő cemetery represent the late phase of the Lengyel culture, where instead of the pairs of tusk pendants, a huge boar tusk or a tusk disc perforated at the wider terminal was placed on the skull or beside the skull. Pig jaw grave furniture is missing here. The authors examine the occurrence of these types of grave finds in the Neolithic of the Carpathian Basin and Central and South-Eastern Europe. They try to classify the finds and determine their chronology and function.