Institutul Pentru Cercetarea Patrimoniului Cultural Transilvănean în Context European


ISSN 1583-1817

Editura Economică, Sibiu 2003

Autor: Sabin Adrian Luca

pag.(pages): 20-43





Sabin Adrian LUCA



Autorul descrie un lot de 13 piese aparţinând categoriei numită, de obicei, plastică descoperite în cuprinsul aşezărilor neolitice de la Tărtăria-Gura Luncii şi Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. După descrierea pieselor se propune o discuţie despre cronologia internă a acestora.

În final, se încearcă descifrarea semnificaţiei ritualului de distrugere a pieselor de plastică neolitică şi eneolitică.

Varianta în limba română a prezentului articol va apare în revista APVLVM, numărul 39/2002.


The prehistoric Settlements from Tărtăria-Gura Luncii and Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă with Neolithic and Eneolithic levels, represent through the variety and quality of the Archaeological materials discovered there, a difficult attempt for any researcher preoccupied with the study of these periods in the History of Transylvania.

Being situated in agricultural areas that are intensely cultivated nowadays, the materials of these two sites here, are and will still be rummaged and taken out incidentally. For this reason, these two sites are the base of several valuable private collections and have systematically been studied during several stages. The results of the systematic investigations as well as those obtained from field trips made these Settlements famous.


The Archaeological site from Tărtăria-Gura Luncii was known after a series of accidentally discoveries made by M. Roska.[2]

The prehistoric settlement from Gura Luncii was the first time systematically investigated by Kurth Horedt during 1942-1943.[3] Following excavations were made by Nicolae Vlassa in 1961.[4]

The last systematic investigations were made here in 1989 and were made by Iuliu Paul.[5]


The Description of the Neolithic and Eneolithic Plastic Arts from Tărtăria-Gura Luncii (Gheorghe Alungulesei’s collection).

1.Fragment of statue (Pl.I/3; Photo 1/1). Representing the head and the body from the neck down. Judging by its main features, this fragment of statue is one of the most recent of those belonging to the new series of incidentally discoveries made at Tărtăria. The mask of the statue is a developed type and slightly pentagonal. The eyes are made of two incisions, the right one being more oblique than the left one. The nose is round, one of the nostrils being rendered by an impression in the form of a tear. A very important feature for the Chronology of the statue is the fact that the top of the head is drawn towards the back like at many other representations from Banat and Transylvania belonging to this chronological and cultural level.

The statue is made of brown paste, sandy and for common use. The burning is good. The part that remained represents the Upper side of a “column idol” which evolved from those very characteristics of the Starčevo-Criş Culture and mainly found at the end of the Early phase of the Vinča Culture.

2. Fragment of statue (Pl.1/4; Photo 1/5). Representing the head of the statue. The work represents a triangular mask with a grate nose. A slight incision, interrupted by the nose, separates the face into two parts. The top of the statue is blunted and the look is pointed upwards. The slip, in days of yore, is totally gone. The statue is brick-coloured, sandy structure and light burning, the paste being baked.

The statue may culturally and chronologically belong to an Early phase of the Vinča Culture, the Transylvanian alternative.

3. Head of statue (Pl. I/6; Photo 4/3).

As it appears, the head of the statue does not have a mask. The way in which the face is made points out the fact that the statue was accomplished under the influence of an extra-Carpathian culture (Gumelniţa, Sălcuţa, Precucuteni) that belongs to the Upper Eneolithic. Description: prominent eyebrows, the eyes rendered by incisions, in a slight oblique position as compared to the nose; the nose is represented in a realist manner, even the nostrils are rendered by two intrusions, round mouth.

The fragment is brown and there are liftings of burning on. The statue is cleansed with sand, chaff and has a very good burning. It is also polished and has slip (on the outside).

This representation may be chronologically and culturally attributed to one of the phases of the Petreşti Culture or maybe to the Lumea Noua Culture.

4. Fragment of altar (Pl.II/3; Photo 1/2-3; 4/4).

The Piece of altar that was kept has two legs as pedestal and a fragment from a small container. It is also kept an anthropomorphic protoma with a round-pentagonal mask and the eyes situated almost perpendicularly on the nose are rendered by incisions. The eyebrows are well defined. The nose of the protoma is prominent and long.

The fragment is brick-coloured (and black on the inside), it has half-fine sandy structure, spatula retouches and good burning (as it seems secondary burning because of a fire).

The altar joins the other works which were found in the Eneolithic strata at Tărtăria and taking into account its structure and manner in which it was made, it probably belongs to the Petreşti and Lumea Nouă Cultures.

5. Fragment of statue (Pl. II/4; Photo 3/3) representing the head.

The fragment had a pentagonal mask on its face whose inner part is not kept anymore, being broken a long time ago. The eyes are represented by deep incisions and the nose follows the model of a small protuberance. From under the nose another deep incision goes downwards. It is not known on what distance this lays but not on a very long one, anyway, as it certainly represents a nostril. The nape of the statue is blunted and so are its breasts. This representation is yellow coloured, has fine sandy structure, slip, and a very good burning.

All these features enable us to attribute this fragment of statue to the late Eneolithic strata of this site.

6. Fragment of statue (Pl. II/6; Photo 4/2).

Only the torso, it is one of the most beautiful works of this lot of objects. The head, the arms – from the shoulders down – and the legs – from the thighs down – were broken in days of yore. The fragment that has been kept is a clear evidence of the special care of the Ancient author, to render correctly the anatomical details of the representation (e.g. the number of the fingers). It appears that like many other statues of the Tisa I Culture, this one too sat on a throne.

The statue is brown, with grey slip and very good burning (the core of the structure is black) and cleansed with fine sand.

The features of the statue enable us to attribute it to the Petreşti or Lumea Nouă strata of this site.

7. Head (?) made of a river rock (Photo 1/6).

From Tărtăria, too, it comes a round river-boulder on which one may distinguish the features of a human face. There can be noticed the eyebrows and semicircular eyes. The mouth, too, is semicircular and broad. The details that make up the face which are in fact more grotesque than realistic and though schematic as the Neolithic art usually is, make us think that we are witnessing – in the best case – a product of the nature.


The prehistoric settlement from Tărtăria-Gura Luncii is one of the most important Archaeological sites of Transylvania.[6] Some of the statues that were incidentally discovered there may be attributed, at least by their typology, to the already known Stratigraphy of the Ancient villages of this area.

The first systematic excavations done by K. Horedt during 1942-1943 and published[7], are according to the picture of the article[8], much more complex than those done by N. Vlassa in 1961[9]. The latter added to the sections and A, C, D, E and B, F surface areas, which had been investigated during 1942-1943, the H Section and G surface, both having been done in 1961.[10] The most complex excavations are those made in the G surface, which in fact checked the profiles of the C surface, profiles that were analysed by the scientist from Sibiu.

K. Horedt claims that the level of the Section A is 1,15 m. Even though the excavations were deepened to 2,80 m but he couldn't find anything. K. Horedt's most interesting observation is that the Turdaş pottery can be found at any depth.[11]

It is a different case in what the B (F) Excavation is concerned. The Stratum has been deepened up to 2,60 m, and the deepened dwelling discovered on this occasion was excavated up to 3,80 m depth.[12]

In the C Excavation the painted pottery goes down up to 1,40 m, the Turdaş pottery being found again there, at each level.[13]

In the E surface, at 3,20 m depth, inhabited ground was reached.[14]

After all these excavations, K. Horedt names the discovered levels (Tărtăria I – with mud-huts; Tărtăria II a, b and c – with surface dwellings).[15] It is also very important the parallel between Tărtăria II b and Boian A levels on the account of a pottery importation.[16]

As I was saying before, N. Vlassa's excavations were only meant to check the already known Stratigraphy. I made use of N. Vlassa's conclusions in a quite recent publication, in order to parallel the Stratigraphy of Tărtăria-Gura Luncii with that of Turdaş–Luncă.[17]

Stratum no 1 from Tărtăria is generally analogous to Stratum no 1 from Turdaş-Luncă.[18] The Stratum is thin and interrupted, here and there, in both sites, and the dwellings are mainly mud-huts containing very much material.[19]

Concerning the cultural classification of the first level of Tărtăria, it was meanwhile demonstrated that the classical Tisa I culture is contemporary to the Vinča C culture. This brings under a question mark the very Early classification established for the Stratum 1 from Tărtăria. According to the author's opinion, there are also Starčevo-Criş materials. In fact, remains of this culture, pointed out by the presence of hashed chaff used as a cleanser, paralleled with Vinča A. The first level from Tărtăria was parallel with Vinča B1 because of the Tisa I materials present there. Meanwhile it has been demonstrated that the latter genetic element, the Tisa I, is later discovered and parallel to Vinča B2 (the Early Tisa I phase) and Vinča C1 (the classical Tisa I phase).[20]

According to our observations, regarding the Turdaş stations that have been investigated during the last 10 years, the presence of chaff as a cleanser is loose but consistent. This is because of the late development of the Early phase of Vinča culture and of the perpetuation of the Ancient paste making technologies, as we have recently noticed on many occasions.

Gh. Lazarovici, the one who knows best the realities of the earlier phase of Vinča culture in Romania, claimed in 1979 that: “At Tărtăria, besides statues were not found any definite Vinča elements. But their structures, motifs and forms, the discoveries from level no. I date later (s.n.) than those from Balta Sărată I, Trnovačka, Banija, Aradac, cultural research stations belonging to the Vinča A/B1.[21] The same author went on saying that: In Transylvania… most of the elements considered to be Tisa, belong at present to the Szakálhát culture, to the Bucovăţ cultural group or to the Turdaş culture which developed independently of the Vinča culture.[22]

All these observations lead to a later classification of the Stratum, probably in a period contemporary with level no I from Turdaş-Luncă, in this way being attributed to the earlier phase, or slightly before it, of the Turdaş culture.

Analysing the state of earlier Vinča sites from Transylvania (Vinča A1-3 and B1)[23] it comes out that it is possible for these Archaeological materials to be dated later, as a consequence of a division process that had happened on this historical area of Romania. Because of the mentioned phenomena and also because of the contacts with the Vinča mother-areas broken for about 200 years, the Late Neolithic in Transylvania has Ancient features on which overlaps a kind of painted pottery whose origins are in the NW and W areas of Romania.[24]

Stratum no 2 from Tărtăria, named by N. Vlassa also of“ Turdaş-Petreşti phase”, has exclusively surface dwellings[25], unlike the Settlements from Turdaş-Luncă (the lower level II consisting of mud-huts, only the Upper level II consisting of surface dwellings) and Orăştie-Dealul Pemilor, point X2[26]. Here the “classical” Turdaş levels have a moment “of coming” (with deepened dwellings). The subsequent level is a “sedentary level” (with surface dwellings).

This observation suggests at least two ideas, different in their purpose, concerning the Stratigraphy of those two sections:

1 the presence of those two Ancient levels of mud-huts at Turdaş-Luncă, may represent two different moments of arrival and – implicitly – a possible hiatus between them. This observation pleads for the antiquity of the former mud-huts of the both site, but not earlier than Vinča B.

2) That at Tărtăria, the Stratum no 1 is bound through the same relation (coming – staying) as in the level II (or intermediary) at Turdaş-Luncă and Orăştie-Dealul Pemilor, point X2 (earlier phase – late phase) and this makes it Vinča B2.

These observations, as well as the one according to which the level II from Tărtăria is 1 m depth[27], may suggest the idea that there can be found the best Stratigraphy for the Turdaş culture of this area.

Stratum no 3 from Tărtăria is named by N. Vlassa also “Petreşti-Turdaş”.[28] One may Notice again the resemblance between the Stratigraphy of Turdaş-Luncă and that of Tărtăria (level III of the former station belongs to the Petreşti A-B culture – probably A –, while Stratum no 3 of Tărtăria generally belongs to this phase, too).

It must also be mentioned the observation according to which:… at Tărtăria, one pure Petreşti Stratum is missing, lacking any Turdaş elements, as it can be found in the Petreşti Settlements which are dated later and are situated in places that outruns the maximum extension area of the Turdaş culture. Moreover, I. Paul goes further in the investigation of the Petreşti culture monography, claiming that: the Turdaş-Petreşti co-habit seems to have been for a longer period of time in this area. Here, too, it finally ends with the gradual spreading of the Petreşti culture in the form of several extensive Settlements, densely inhabited and belonging to the Middle (A-B) phases, especially to the late (B) phase.[29] It can be noticed that the matter concerning this co-inhabit is not at all cleared up, and that because of at least two reasons:

1. The secondary implication of Some Turdaş Archaeological elements in the Petreşti Stratum as a result of the building of the Petreşti Settlements and Archaeological complex.

2. The borrowing by the Petreşti inhabitants of Some incised decorative motives, having their own evolution but still close to the basic model, in the Petreşti culture.

Stratum no 4 from Tărtăria was named Petreşti-Coţofeni by the same late researcher from Cluj. He thought that from a late phase of the Petreşti culture and undecorated by painting, it can go to the Coţofeni culture.[30] Certainly the chronological distance between the Petreşti culture, phase B, and the Coţofeni culture is considerable according to our knowledge at present, and this makes this theory unreliable.

H. Dumitrescu notices that the inhabitants of the Coţofeni culture preferred, like the Neolithic Turdaş or Petreşti communities[31], the same kind of habitat – at least during the earlier phases. This observation is important for the definition of the specific economy at the end of the Eneolithic.[32]                                

All these observations can be supplemented with those ones made in 1989, when the habitation levels that have been previously established, were confirmed.


All these ideas, have been reminded to the reader for a better cultural and chronological classification of, at least, several of the statues of the collection dealt with. We speak about the statues mentioned at Pl. I/3-4, 6; II/3-4, 6. According to their typological and stylistic features, these statues could be divided into, at least, two Groups, which would belong to two different chronological moments.

The former group includes the statues from Pl. I /3-4 and II/3-4. This series could also be divided into subgroups because of the statue from Pl. I / 3, on the one side, and of the statues from Pl. I/4; II/4 on the other side, and finally because of the altar from Pl. II/3.

These subgroups would also have chronological valences, the subgroup no 1 being the earlier, by the presence of the statue from Pl. I /3. On the account on Some similar statues, it was established the antiquity of the ritual complex discovered by N. Vlassa at Tărtăria.[33] This one consists of 16 burned-clay statues, two Cycladic alabaster idols, a Spondylus-shell bracelet and three slates (little plates) with incised marks, none of these having been published before together with illustrations (the statues). Besides, there were also, the scattered bones of a human being about 35-40 years old, several of them burned and the others broken. N. Vlassa thought of a possible form of ritual cannibalism.[34]

Judging by the image of the anthropomorphic clay statues from the Vinča area, of the approached chronological moment, it comes out that the anthropomorphic ones from Gornea[35], Balta Sărată[36] or Liubcova[37] could be the typological model for those of the Tărtăria group. But none of the approached statues are so structurally compressed as the Transylvanian deposit. In my opinion, the Archaeological context discovered by N. Vlassa is truly ritual and has nothing to do with the Stratigraphy that has so far been known for this site, especially with Stratum no 1. The holy statues were buried in, having no relation with the habitation strata from Tărtăria. It rather belongs to an earlier phase, chronologically classified in a previous stage. The people that buried the statues were either passing by, or they were doing an initiation or devotion ritual. Its signification is still unknown to us, the sacred place having been inhabited only after the signification of the devotion ritual had been forgotten, or even the Neolithic population changed something in its specific manner of relating to the divine. This modification appeared together with the Turdaş culture as it is nowadays called.

Each time this complex of worship was investigated, it was very difficult that it should also chronologically suit (adapt) to the Stratigraphy in this case, as the typology of the statues urged their classification into an earlier phase, and the pottery allowed this only in a compulsory way.[38]

We think that our previous explanation is the solution to our problem regarding the chronological classification of the ritual complex from Tărtăria, but also regarding Some Ancient levels that have an already well-known Stratigraphy in Transylvania. The conservatism of the earlier Vinča – communities mentioned above – can be noticed in the perpetuation of some archaic Vinča features, in the Turdaş pottery and especially in the statues found in these stations. The Turdaş culture, at a chronological Vinča B or C phase, still observed the common laws that had already been imposed by the Vinča inhabitants during the A phase of their culture, while they had for a long time failed to observe them in their native places. How else could it be explained the fact that the mask of the Transylvanian statues is triangular – or slightly pentagonal –, plainly rendered throughout the Late Neolithic, like in the Turdaş culture. This is characteristic only to the earlier phases of the Vinča culture in Yugoslavia and in the Southern area of Banat?[39] How could we explain the fact that all the Vinča and Turdaş statues in Transylvania have the eyes incised, according to the plainest Vinča pattern, but considerably complicated during the late phases of the culture in the mother-areas?[40] In order to give extra information, I can only refer to the recent discoveries at Romos[41] and Turdaş-Luncă[42], and also bearing in mind the previous discoveries at Turdaş[43] and those at Tărtăria, dealt with by N. Vlassa.

It is also symbolic the fact that the mask of The Statue from Liubcova is triangular and not pentagonal as required by the chronological and cultural phase to which the statue is attributed.[44] It is also eloquent the case of the tell type settlement, from Chioşoda Veche where the statues, which followed an Ancient pattern, with triangular mask, are found in the same mud-huts together with those having pentagonal mask.[45] It comes out that the typology of the mask form does not always submit to the common laws, which have so far been established as basic rules, not even in the Vinča culture.

The latter group includes the statues from Pl.I/6 and II/6. The manner in which the face of the statue from Pl. I/6 is schematically created is almost similar to that characteristic for the cultures in the South of the Carpathyans[46], even if the procedure still has certain local Influences.

Regarding the statue from Pl.II/6, we are certainly dealing with a statue that has its origins in the Eneolithic Petreşti levels in this site. The bust has analogies in the Vinča culture[47], being possible for this statue to be related to those presented on a throne, in the Tisa I culture, too.[48]

Both types prove the spreading westwards and southwards of the Eneolithic Transylvanian World, and the cultural and trade connections of the epoch – why not?

These statues may come from a level, in which there is a synthesis between the Turdaş elements, those of Lumea Nouă and the Petreşti culture.


The station from Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă has been known since 1942, when, after the construction of Some buildings of public utility, it was discovered a compact Stratum of burn traces and ceramics fragments. It was during the same year that the first scientific determinations, historical and Archaeological, concerning the site, were done. The proper researches took place in 1944, 1945 and 1947.[49] Further systematic excavations regarding this site were done in 1961.[50]

II. The description of the Neolithic and Eneolithic statues from Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă (Gheorghe Alungulesei’s collection).

8. Fragment of statue (Pl.I/1; Photo 3/1-2) representing only the head. The mask on the face is pentagonal, bent. The eyes are rendered by short and oblique incisions as related to the position of the nose. This one is represented in a realistic manner, linked to the eyebrows and has a single nostril rendered by a round impression. The top of the head is blunted and cross-vertically perforated, here and there.

The statue is brick-coloured, sandy, smooth and with very good burning. It may belong to the earlier level from Lumea Nouă, more specific to the Vinča or Turdaş culture.

9. Fragment of statue (Pl.I/2; Photo 2/1-2) representing the body. The statue is modelled according to the requirements of the realistic manner popular in Neolithic and Eneolithic. The pedestal of the bust represents the legs. On its base there are two short, parallel and overlapped incisions. In its lower part the pedestal has a round cell. The breasts, which demonstrate the female sex of the representation – as well as the buttocks, firmly rendered – are modelled in a realistic manner, even the nipples being present. On the back of the statue one can see many incisions. From the buttocks two incisions go up towards the shoulders forming a triangle with its point headed downwards, and filled with a complicated series of short incisions. The arms of this representation are wide open.

This fragment of statue suggests that sometimes the incisions made on the Neolithic and Eneolithic statues may represent not only garments but also designs.

The statue is brick-coloured, sandy, half-fine and with very good burning. It may be attributed to the earlier levels of the site from Lumea Nouă, more specific to the Vinča and Turdaş culture.

10. Fragment of statue (Pl.I/5; Photo 4/1) representing the head and a part of the body.

This statue represents one of the most realistically modelled from Lumea Nouă. The mask covering its face is triangular. The features of the face are more realistically rendered, similar to a portrait. The top of the statue is blunted and cross-vertically perforated, here and there. Moreover, on its extreme-lateral sides there are two perforated  “tabs”. The statue has also the right breast blunted, as well as the right shoulder, on which one can Notice several creases, and, by us, represent the manner of rendering the clothes for the Upper part of the body.

The statue is brick-coloured, cleansed with sand and chaff, very weak burning, rather backed.

This representation may belong to the level named as the settlement from where the group of statues comes.

11. Fragment of statue (Pl.II/1; Photo 1/4) representing a part from a torso.

What remained of the statue has sexual female features, namely the breasts which are rendered by two pointed nipples and the buttocks prominently modelled. The buttocks of this representation are separated by a deep incision. On its back one can see the extremity of an oblique incision (could it be part of the incisions representing the hair?).

The statue is black, half-fine, sandy, very good burning.

Judging by its structure and its basic features, the statue may be attributed to the levels of the Lumea Nouă culture, or probably of the Turdaş culture.

12. Fragment of statue (Pl. II/2; Photo 2/3) representing part of a torso from the neck down up to the first quarter of the thighs.

The statue is decorated with incisions. On the chest there is an incised triangle with its point headed downwards. Inside it, there are incisions parallel to one of the sides of the triangle. The back of the statue is decorated with three angular parallel incisions, which from the buttocks go up point headed. From the shoulders other angular incisions go down conversely arranged. These incisions may stand for a garment (probably a shirt). Something new is the fact that there is a modelled swelling on the lower part of the torso and there are no buttocks rendered. These details classify a male statue, one of the few examples of this kind throughout the Neolithic and Eneolithic.

The arms are lateral facing and perforated.

The statue is black, half-fine, cleansed with sand, good burning.

This representation may be considered to belong to the Lumea Nouă culture or probably to the Turdaş culture.

13. Fragment of statue (protoma?) (Pl. II/5; Photo 2/4).

Its adjustment to a pot led to the very schematic representation of its essential features. The look rendered by the incised eyes is orientated upwards, its nose is long and the nostrils are in fact two round impressions. The incisions on the chest and on the back of the protoma suggest its “wrapping” like that of a mummy.

The representation is brick-coloured, half-fine, sandy, very good burning.

According to its structure and its main features the statue may come from the Lumea Nouă strata or, probably from those of the Turdaş culture.


The Stratigraphy of the prehistoric settlement from Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă has already been dealt with in two articles.[51] According to the former paper, the settlement has a Stratigraphy whose depth varies from 0,70 to 2 m. This Stratum is divided into three sub-levels more on the account of the typology of the pottery than on the difference in colours, in structure or architectural of the discovered levels.[52] We keep in mind that the painted D1 species, belonging to the Lumea Nouă culture, is found also in the lower levels of the Turdaş culture, while the D2 species – belonging to the Petreşti culture – is found, mainly, in the Middle and Upper levels.[53]

These observations are complemented with those of the I. Berciu’s article, which for a long time have been ignored. On this occasion we find out more complex and correct information, about the Stratigraphy of the site.[54]

Level no I (earlier), belongs to the Turdaş culture, with sporadic Starčevo-Criş ceramics fragments. This level has two different spheres. The former consists of mud-huts and the letter of surface dwellings. The mud-huts may be 1,50 m depth.

Level no. II is separated from level no. I by a clay floor. Just like the next level, this one, too, belongs to the Lumea Nouă culture and has deepened dwellings and mud-huts. The surface dwellings have not been discovered yet.

Level no III consists of Archaeological materials transitional towards the Petreşti culture. In what its architecture is concerned, the habitation of this level consists of surface dwellings. The pottery consists of linear imports as well as of the best Vinča-Turdaş structure (the Turdaş culture, in our opinion).

Level no IV belongs to the Petreşti culture. According to the author’s opinion this level ends the evolution of the Lumea Nouă culture. On this settlement it has been discovered a vessel deposit belonging to the Basarabi culture.

In the arable soil, too, have been discovered pottery fragments belonging to the Coţofeni culture, as well as traces of Roman habitation. Sometimes, these traces made up an independent level.

These observations of vertical Stratigraphy, and complemented with the ones obtained from the Comparison of the different areas where excavations had been done at Lumea Nouă, determined the author of this work to draw conclusions valid at present, too.[55]

The first observation points[56] out the participation of the Tisa culture to the genesis of the Petreşti culture, even if the author claims that this influence is not necessary fundamental.

The second observation[57] refers to the birth of the Vinča-Turdaş culture (read about the earlier A and B phases of the Vinča culture, and about the Turdaş culture formed on Vinča elements during the late Vinča B2 phase). We do not talk about the old Vinča-Turdaş culture – earlier Vinča in our places – that is A and B phases – and as it has also been said in Some articles and books recently published, I totally agree with observation[58]concerning the relative dating of this civilisation. But it is about another phase of the ex Vinča-Turdaş background – Early Vinča – which developed under new circumstances, created by the Middle Neolithic of the central Transylvania. This couldn’t be more valid, as it also can be noticed – certainly, on a different scale and with other arguments – throughout my latest works.[59]

Further on, I. Berciu whom we have mentioned so many times, makes observations about the way in which the earlier Vinča culture evolved in Transylvania, claiming that: The earlier Vinča background continued its existence in central Transylvania unlike in its other areas of development. And went on evolving and assimilating Some Starčevo-Criş elements. The painted pottery before burning was an essential one. This phenomenon stands for the originality of the Middle Neolithic – the Late Neolithic, in our opinion – in the central Transylvania, this way leading to the lasting of the Vinča–Turdaş and Starčevo-Criş background and creating the base for the development of the painted pottery Petreşti culture.[60] Certainly, the birth of the Petreşti culture was influenced by the evolution of the Turdaş culture, previous to the Petreşti and subsequent to the earlier phases of the Vinča culture. It is still an enigma the role of the Lumea Nouă culture, whose painted materials are rather a painted species of another culture – the Turdaş culture, in our case? Similar to the case of the new discoveries in the SW-of Transylvania, “the Tăualaş facies” it is certain to be painted type of the Turdaş culture. If it would have been the same case with “the Lumea Nouă cultural complex” or with “the Lumea Nouă culture”, the understanding of the historical realities of that moment would be easy. All the other observations that are to come in this article concern the legs of the pots, the Decorations of incised points, the technique of vessel making, of painting, of folds and stone tools making. These are very precise and accurate for a better understanding of the Transylvanian Neolithic and Eneolithic of that moment, but they have not been used properly by the subsequent historiography.[61]

The statues dealt with in this article entirely represent moments of the late Chronology of the Middle Eneolithic probably of the Lower Eneolithic of the site Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă.


This article also allows us to express Some opinions, which do not even need justification – in my opinion – by bibliographical references as they belong to those who know the features of the Neolithic and Eneolithic in Banat, Crişana and Transylvania, and also to all the cultures of the period.

The basic theory is that, entire statues appear very seldom in the Ancient periods. In our opinion, obviously this observation may change into an axiom, into a strict rule for the Neolithic and Eneolithic communities. If the entire statues are more frequent during the Early Neolithic (especially those of the “Venus” type, but keep in mind that these have obvious Fallus type features, too), in the Late Neolithic and Eneolithic these are more sporadic. The few entire statues discovered after the Early Neolithic, are certainly found in this state because of Some private magic-religious practices.

Why most of the clay statues broke?

There are many ways of separating the head from the body and also of braking up the body after the head had been removed. Let us see the alternatives of this ritual.

The head may be removed from the body in many ways:

·                By holding the head in one hand and the body in the other and then twisting or pulling out the head; if the head was modelled separately and linked to the body by using the Techniques close at hand in the epoch, it remained unbroken.

·                By striking the head against a hard object, in this case the head separated from the body in the same way mentioned before, but parts of the head (the nape, the top, parts of the mask) are separately broken.

·                By striking the head against an elastic prop (the floor, the ground etc), a case in which the head is separated together with parts of the shoulders, the separation not being very clear and well delimited as related to the body.

·                By throwing the statue with force and at a considerable distance, in this case the separation of the head comes as a result of an incidental blow, without a precise direction, so, the separation of the anatomical parts of the body, does not observe the possible rules already mentioned.

·                Finally, breaking-up the statue may undergo Some subsequent interventions; e.g. the discovery of Some “pagan idols” or of the statues representing children and their destruction by playing with them.

The body, once it had been parted, it may be broken-up once again:

·                        The legs are usual separated from the body by one of the rules mentioned before. This means breaking the legs/the pedestal from under the buttocks and what remains relatively unbroken is just the torso.

The arms, as part of the torso, are usually broken in several ways:

·                   If they are oriented towards lateral and schematically rendered, the arms will be broken where they are perforated, or where they are linked to the body.

·                   If they are not modelled in a realistic manner, they will be broken in such a way that the arms and the forearms are destroyed

·                   The ways of breaking the arms follow the model of separating/breaking the head.

Obviously, Some of the statues, will be broken – or lose part of their body – incidentally, throughout billions of years there being cases when the statues were destroyed.

But mostly, this separating and breaking process is done on purpose and develops rationally. This process implies rational gestures, difficult to understand now. We can relate these attitudes to the practice of some rituals implying the worshipping of some deities / gods and especially the piercing and burning of some parts of the statue, the removal or deterioration of the eyes or of other anatomical parts.

For the former case, we could approach an old idea of ours, according to which in the people’s dwellings in the Neolithic and Eneolithic, as well as at other recent civilisations, there were discovered “boxes with magic objects”. These may represent phases of the existence of the same deity or deities with similar powers, and together they contributed substantially to the material and spiritual prosperity of the family they belonged to.

In the latter case, we are dealing with the “unwritten culture” which is difficult to make out in any period or epoch. The gestures and the rituals are wrapped in a mysterious veil. Their rhythm is thrilling but difficult to feel by a person not very well informed. Its purpose is related to the transcendental. Only gifted people are able to understand the magic ritual, people who had also been “chosen” by someone above. Hence, the statues can be made especially to represent “somebody”, and then broken on purpose, by gestures and procedures that are meant to hurt the person for whom the magic is done.

The statues can be stung, pierced, broken by twisting them, according to the rules mentioned above. This may explain the fact that the proportionality of the human body is obsessively rendered by the Neolithic and Eneolithic “artists”.

All these observations reveal a World as complicated – and simple in the same time – as our contemporary Society is its “folklore” manifestations. People would be, and still are self-conscious in front of the irrational that surrounds them, sometimes too close.

That is why the interpretation of these gestures and processes who are located somewhere on the edge of the rational or probably in its plenitude, is difficult to describe scientifically for the people now-days or for those of the prehistoric epoch.


Translated by Diana Tatu





Pl. I. Tărtăria-Gura Luncii şi Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Plastică eneolitică din colecţia Gheorghe Alungulesei.

1.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă. Cap. Cărămizie, nisipoasă, fină, cu arderea foarte bună.

2.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă. Corp. Cărămizie, nisipoasă, semifină, cu arderea bună.

3.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Fragment de statuetă. Cap şi pornirea corpului. Brună, nisipoasă, grosieră, cu arderea bună.

4.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Fragment de statuetă. Cap. Cărămizie, nisipoasă, cu arderea slabă, coaptă.

5.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă. Cap şi o parte din corp. Brun-cenuşie, degresată cu nisip şi pleavă, cu arderea slabă, coaptă.

6.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Cap de statuetă. Brună cu flecuri de ardere, degresată cu nisip şi pleavă, cu arderea foarte bună, lustruită şi slipuită.


Pl. II. Tărtăria-Gura Luncii şi Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Plastică eneolitică din colecţia Gheorghe Alungulesei.

1.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă. Parte din trunchi. Neagră, semifină, nisipoasă, cu arderea bună.

2.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă. Parte din trunchi. Neagră, semifină, nisipoasă, mică, cu arderea bună.

3.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Fragment de altăraş. Cărămiziu (interiorul vasului negru), semifin, nisipos, spatulat, cu arderea bună (secundară).

4.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Fragment de statuetă. Cap. Gălbuie, fină, nisipoasă, slipuită, cu arderea foarte bună.

5.            Alba Iulia-Lumea Nouă. Fragment de statuetă (protomă ?). Cărămizie, semifină, nisipoasă, cu arderea foarte bună.

6.            Tărtăria-Gura Luncii. Fragment de statuetă. Maronie, slip cenuşiu, cu arderea foarte bună (miezul piesei este negru).






Bălănescu 1979             Bălănescu D., StComCar 1, 1979, 33-41, 9 planşe.

Bălănescu 1982             StComCar 4, 1982, 113-120.

Berciu 1968                  Berciu I., Apvlvm 7, 1968, 1, 53-60.

Berciu-Berciu 1949       Berciu D., Berciu I., Apvlvm 3, 1949, 1-43.

Ciugudean 2000             – Ciugudean H., Eneoliticul final în Transilvania şi Banat: cultura Coţofeni. In: BHAB 26 (Timişoara 2000).

Draşovean 1996            Draşovean Fl., Cultura Vinča târzie (faza C) în Banat. In: BHAB 1 (Timişoara 1996).

Dumitrescu 1974           – Dumitrescu Vl., Arta preistorică în România (Bucureşti 1974).

Hegedüs-Makkay 1987 Hegedüs K., Makkay J., Véstö–Mágor. In: LNTR, 1987, 85-104.

Horedt 1949                  Horedt K., Apvlvm 3, 1949, 44-69.

Korek 1987                   Korek J., Szegvár–Tüzköves. In: LNTR, 1987, 47-60.

Lazarovici 1970             Lazarovici Gh., ActaMN 7, 1970, 473-488.

Lazarovici 1975             ActaMN 12, 1975, 13-34.

Lazarovici 1977             – Gornea–Preistorie. In: CB 5 (Reşiţa 1977).

Lazarovici 1979             Neoliticul Banatului. In: BMN 4 (Cluj Napoca 1979).

Lazarovici–Dumitrescu 1985-1986 – Lazarovici Gh., Dumitrescu H., ActaMN

22-23, 1985-1986, 3-40.

Luca 1989(1990)           Luca S. A.,  Apvlvm 26, 1989/1990, 49-54.

Luca 1990                     Banatica 10, 1990, 6-44.

Luca 1991                     In: BAI 4, 1991, 266-271.

Luca 1995-1996            Sargetia 26, 1995-1996, 1, 45-62.

Luca 1997                     – Aşezări neolitice pe valea Mureşului (I). Habitatul turdăşean de la Orăştie-Dealul Pemilor (punct X2). In: BMA 4 (Alba Iulia 1997).

Luca 1997a                   Apvlvm 34, 1997, 37-42.

Luca 1998                    – Liubcova-Orniţa. Monografie arheologică (Târgovişte 1998).

Luca 1999                     Apvlvm 36, 1999, 5-33.

Luca 2000                     SAA 7, 2000, 90-120.

Luca 2001                     Apvlvm 38, 2001, 1, 27-54.

Luca 2001a                   Festschrift für Gheorghe Lazarovici. – In: BHAB 30,

123-191 (Timişoara (2001).

Luca 2001b                   Aşezări neolitice pe valea Mureşului (II). Noi cercetări arheologice la Turdaş-Luncă. I. Campaniile anilor 1992-1995. Bucureşti, In: BMA 17 (Alba Iulia 2001).

Luca-Ciugudean-Roman-Dragotă 2000Luca S. A., Ciugudean H., Roman C., Dragotă A., Apvlvm 36, 2000, 1, 1-50.

Luca-Ciugudean-Roman-Dragotă 2000a Angvstia 5, 2000, 37-72.

Luca-Dragomir 1987     Luca S. A., Dragomir I., Banatica 9, 1987, 31-42.

Luca-Dragomir 1989     DaciaNS 33, 1989, 229-234.

Luca-Ilieş-Bulzan 2000Luca S. A., Ilieş C., Bulzan S., StUnivBBT 45, 2000, 1, 109-163.

Luca-Pinter 2001           Luca S. A., Pinter Z. K., Der Böhmerberg bei Broos / Orăştie. Eine archäologische monographie. In: BMA 16 (Sibiu 2001).

Makkay 1990                Makkay J.,  A tartariai leletek (Budapesta 1990).

Milojčić 1965                 Milojčić Vl., Germania 43, 1965, 261-273.

Paul 1992                      – Paul I., Cultura Petreşti (Bucureşti 1992).

Raczky 1987                 Raczky P., In: LNTR, 1987, 61-84.

Radu 1979                    Radu O., Tibiscus 5, 1979, 67-76.

Roska 1928                   – Roska M., PMJH 3-4, 1928, 3-27.

Roska 1941                   Die Sammlung Zsófia von Torma (Cluj 1941).

Roska 1942                   Érdély régészeti repertoriumá (Cluj 1942).

Tasić 1973                    Tasić N., Neolitska Plastika (Belgrad 1973).

Vlassa 1962                  Vlassa N., StUnivBB 1962, 2, 23-30.

Vlassa 1963                  DaciaNS 7, 1963, 485-494.

Vlassa 1976                  – Neoliticul Transilvaniei. In: BMN 3 (Cluj Napoca 1976).

X X X 1987                   – The Late Neolithic of the Tisza Region (Budapesta – Szolnok 1987).





[1] The pieces belong to Gheorghe Alungulesei (Alba Iulia).

[2] Roska 1942, 21, nr. 77.

[3] Horedt 1949, p. 44-57.

[4] Vlassa 1962, p. 23-30; 1963, p. 485-494; 1976, p. 28-43.

[5] Excavation team: I. Paul, Al. Aldea, H. Ciugudean, Fl. Draşovean and S. A. Luca.

[6] Vlassa 1976, p. 28-31.

[7] Horedt 1949.

[8] Ibidem., fig. 1, 4-8.

[9] Vlassa 1976, fig. 1-3.

[10] Ibidem., fig. 1.

[11] Ibidem., p. 49.

[12] Ibidem., p. 50.

[13] Ibidem., p. 51-52.

[14] Ibidem., p. 53.

[15] Ibidem., p. 53-54.

[16] Ibidem. Precucuteni I or II (?).

[17] Luca 2001b, p. 147-151.

[18] Ibidem., p. 147.

[19] Vlassa 1976, p. 29.

[20] Draşovean 1996, p. 87-89.

[21] Lazarovici 1979, p. 123.

[22] Ibidem., p. 159.

[23] Luca-Ciugudean-Roman-Dragotă 2000; 2000a; Luca  2001b, p. 97-124.

[24] Luca-Ilieş-Bulzan 2000; Luca 2001b, p. 124-139; 2001; 2001a.

[25] Vlassa 1976, p. 30.

[26] Luca 1997. The lower level consists of mud-huts and the Upper level consists of surface dwellings.

[27] Vlassa 1976, p. 29.

[28] Ibidem., p. 30.

[29] Paul 1992, p. 20.

[30] Vlassa 1976, p. 30.

[31] Lazarovici-Dumitrescu 1985-1986, p. 8.

[32] Ciugudean 2000.

[33] Vlassa 1976, p. 31, 34, fig. 6; p. 125.

[34] Ibidem., p. 31.

[35] Bălănescu 1979; Lazarovici 1977.

[36] Bălănescu 1982; Lazarovici 1975.

[37] Luca 1990; 1998; level V–III.

[38] Milojčić 1965; Makkay 1990.

[39] Type a and b from Tasić 1973, p. 23, sl. II.

[40] Ibidem., sl. I – type a.

[41] Luca 1995-1996, T. III.

[42] Luca 1997a; 2001b, p. 81, 88-91, fig. 6; 7/7.

[43] Roska 1928; 1941; 1942.

[44] Luca-Dragomir 1987; 1989; Luca 1989(1990); 1991.

[45] Radu 1979, p. 67, pl. I–III.

[46] Dumitrescu 1974, fig. 243, 251/1, 259- 261.

[47] Tasić 1973, T. XLVII/179; LIII; LXI; LXVIII.

[48] Korek 1987, p. 53-57, fig. 14-16; Raczky 1987, fig. 32-35, 37; Hegedüs–Makkay 1987, fig. 7-10; X X X 1987, copertă; Gumelniţa culture: Dumitrescu 1974, fig. 256-258.

[49] Berciu–Berciu 1949, p. 1-2.

[50] Berciu 1968, p. 54-55.

[51] Berciu-Berciu 1949, p. 1-18; Berciu 1968, p. 53-60.

[52] Berciu-Berciu 1949, p. 4.

[53] Ibidem., p. 9.

[54] Berciu 1968, p. 55-56.

[55] Ibidem., p. 56-58.

[56] Ibidem., p. 56.

[57] Ibidem., p. 56-57.

[58] Luca 1995-1996; 1997, p. 71-76; 1999, p. 7-14; 2000, p. 96-104; 2001b, p. 95-143, 147-152; Luca-Pinter 2001, p. 34-40, 81-90.

[59] Luca-Ciugudean-Roman-Dragotă 2000; 2000a.

[60] Berciu 1968, p. 57.

[61] Ibidem., 57-58.