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Editor: Sabin Adrian LUCA (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Members: Paul NIEDERMAIER (membru corespondent al Academiei Române), (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Dumitru PROTASE (membru de onoare al Academiei Române) (Universitatea „Babeş-Bolyai” Cluj-Napoca); Paolo BIAGI (Ca’Foscary University Venice, Italy); Martin WHITE (Sussex University, Brighton, United Kingdom); Michela SPATARO (University College London, United Kingdom); Zeno-Karl PINTER (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Marin CÂRCIUMARU (Universitatea „Valahia” Târgovişte, România); Nicolae URSULESCU (Universitatea „Al. I. Cuza” Iaşi, România); Gheorghe LAZAROVICI (Universitatea „Eftimie Murgu” Reşiţa, România); Thomas NÄGLER (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Secretaries:Ioan Marian ŢIPLIC (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Silviu Istrate PURECE (Universitatea „Lucian Blaga” din Sibiu, România); Web editor: Cosmin Suciu



Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis I

Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis II

Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis III

Acta Terrae Septemcastrensis IV

Models of Altars and Miniature Tables belonging to the Cucuteni – Ariuşd Culture, discovered at Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County

Dan Buzea

Muzeul Carpaţilor Răsăriteni,

Sfântu Gheorghe, jud. Covasna



- rezumat -

Articolul prezintă cele mai importante descoperiri de plastică eneolitică din situl de la Păuleni Ciuc – Ciomortan, aparţinând culturii Ariujd – Cucuteni – Tripolje.

The archaeological researches from the Păuleni settlement (known in the specialized scientific literature also under the name of Ciomortan or Şoimeni), found nearby Şoimeni (Csikcsomortán) village, Păuleni-Ciuc commune, Harghita county (Pl.I/1) continued between 2003-2005.

The researches were continued in order to investigate the inhabitation traces from the early copper age (Cucuteni-Ariuşd and Bodrogkeresztur) and from its late age, (Coţofeni culture), found in the former campaigns. The archaeological diggings were made in the northern sector of the settlement, in S.I., c. A-D/8-14, on a surface of 96 mp.

About 8 km east of Miercurea-Ciuc, near the village of Şoimeni (Csikcsomortán in Hungarian), on the promontory called locally „ hillfort ” (Várdomb in Hungarian), lays the well-known fortified settlement site of Păuleni-Ciomortan. It is situated at the foot and to the west of the Ciuc Mountains, between the upper course of the River Olt and the Trotuş stream, the latter connecting the Ciuc Depression with Moldavia (Pl. II/1, 2) . The Vlăhiţa is the natural border between the Ciuc Depression and central Transylvania.

On plane surface, the settlement has an oval shape. The maximum length is of about 90 m (East-West) and the width (North-South) of about 60 m (Pl.I/2) .

The site was discovered by Alexandru Ferenczi between the wars, and was included in the inventory of Dacian fortresses in Transylvania. The first archaeological excavations were carried out in 1954 by the Ciuc Szeckler Museum, and then in 1956, 1960 and 1967 by the National Szeckler Museum, under the direction of Székely Zoltán. They showed that it had actually been occupied several times before the Dacian period. The earliest layer was assigned to the Ariuşd-Cucuteni culture. After that, according to Székely, the site was occupied by people of Coţofeni culture, and in the Middle Bronze Age by bearers of the Ciomortan and Wietenberg cultures. However, Székely failed to establish whether the Ciomortan and Wietenberg material belonged to two successive habitations or to a single layer that combined two different cultural components. The fortifications of the site (ramparts and ditches) were attributed to the Bronze Age.

The first excavations were restricted to narrow trenches, which were unable to recover houses or other structures. In fact these excavations were confined to establishing the main occupation phases of the site. Their most important finding was the discovery of a new Bronze Age cultural group, soon to be included in the archaeological literature under the name “Ciomortan culture” (the term deriving from one of the Hungarian names of the neighbouring village – Csomortán).

The settlement came again into the attention of the researchers when it started to be poached by relic hunters. Through a happy event part of this archaeological material came into the property of the Museum of the Eastern Carpathians, through donations and acquisitions. Because during the first investigations of Zoltan Szekely, the chronological comparison between the Ciomortan and Wietenberg Cultures, of the middle period of the Bronze Age, were not stratigraphically surprised, and the genealogy of the Ciomortan group was left out as well, the re-opening of the archaeological site from Păuleni Ciuc – Cimortan was decided, marking larger research surfaces.

In 1999-2005 the Museum of Eastern Carpathians, Sfântu Gheorghe (Valerii Kavruk – coordinator, Dan Buzea), in collaboration with the National History Museum of Transylvania, Cluj-Napoca (Mihai Rotea), the Romanian Institute of Thracology, Bucureşti (Székely Zsolt), “Eftimie Murgu” University from Reşiţa (Gheorghe Lazarovici) and the Piatra-Neamţ Museum of History (Gheorghe Dumitroaia), and with the support of the Ministry of Culture and Cults, resumed work at the site. At the 2000-2001 archaeological campaigns took part students from the “Lucian Blaga” University from Sibiu, under the coordination of Sabin Adrian Luca and assistant Cosmin Suciu. On these occasions, the aim was not simply to uncover the succession of occupation phases but to look at larger areas; as a result, the new work revealed several houses and other structures, unlike the earlier work. Although the new excavations confirmed most of Székely’s conclusions, they brought to light much new important information.

Thus, contrary to the earlier belief that the earliest occupation belonged to a “rather late” period of the Ariuşd-Cucuteni culture, the new diggihgs showed that it actually dates from its early phase (A 1-2).

After the Ariuşd-Cucuteni and Coţofeni inhabitations, the settlement was occupied twice: first, at the very beginning of the period, by bearers of Ciomortan culture, and soon after by people of Wietenberg culture. Furthermore, it was shown that the so-called Ciomortan culture was really a local variant of the Costişa culture that is found mainly on the other side of the Carpathians in western Moldavia ( Székely 1959, 231-245; 1970, 71; Zs. Székely 1998, 12; Zaharia 1995, 151-152; Janovits 1999, 121-150; Cavruc 1999, 93-102; 2000, 99; 2000a, 173-176; 2001, 55-75; 2002, 89-95; 2003, 129; 2003a, 43; 2003b, 43; 2003c, 28-29; 2005, 81-123; Cavruc & colab. 2000, 103-104; 2001, 245-247; 2002, 306-309; 2003, 314-316; Cavruc, Dumitroaia 2000, 131-154; Cavruc, Rotea 2000, 155-172; Cavruc, Buzea, 2002, 41-88; Comşa 2000, 173-176; Buzea 2004, 111-123).

Cucuteni-Ariuşd Stratigraphy. Eneolithic Păuleni I level, based mainly on the researches from 2004 (Pl.III/2) (which contain many complexes studied or still in work) might be related to the older stage from Ariuşd or other sites, and belongs to Cucuteni A 1 or Protocucuteni. Most data, images and published information belong to Păuleni I. It is followed by two-three large complexes from the stage Cucuteni A 2 , named Păuleni II, which contain a much-developed architecture. The third stage contains also two-three complexes; two of them superpose the ones belonging to Păuleni II. The architecture and the pottery from Păuleni III horizon reflect a retardation process. After this, there are sporadic traces belonging to the Bodrogkeresztúr-Scheibenhenckelhorizon ( Lazarovici, Buzea, 2004, 57-59) .

Eneolithic complexes:

Eneolithic Păuleni III level

House 16. Under the defence wall of the settlement dating from the Bronze Age, in c. C-D/11-13, there have been discovered the traces of a house. It appeared as an agglomeration of an approximately rectangular shape (4,5 x 4 m), of rocks, fragments of burned daub, fragments of carbonised wood and fragments of Cucuteni-Ariuşd pottery. In the middle of the complex there was a hearth, highly damaged. The hearth was disposed on a stone pavement and it had round shape (1,6 m). In its eastern side two poles perforated it.

The hearth was built in the same way as the one from House 4, in a hole made in the Eneolithic level, represented here by the ruins of House 5, rooms A and B. A small piece of the superior part of the hearth has been preserved, as fine daub. But the pavement was firm solid, 0,2-0,3 m thick, composed of plate stones, probably taken out of the local rock. The hearth was probably slightly suspended because after the destruction, the stones, which were part of the pavement, have been found inclined or vertically disposed, and part of the floor daub has been found facing downwards. North of the hearth a small ritual altar has been discovered.

Eneolithic Păuleni II level

House 5. It had rectangular shape, with the dimensions of 12 x 4 m, covering a surface of over 48 mp, directed to northwest – southeast. Room A was disposed in the natural slope of the hill, where it was suspended, and in the area of room B the floor was disposed directly on the soil, because here the land is relatively flat ( Lazarovici & colab. 2000, 104-108) (Pl.III/1, 3, 4; Pl. IV).

The division was necessary also because the difference of level, determined by the slope of the land. As a matter of fact, the collapsed floor from room A, at the edge with room B, was less pronounced than in the northern end.

The upper surface of the floor is flat, but the majority of the recovered daub pieces have on their lower surface imprints of thick beams, with rectangular and semi-circular sections. In the area of the north – eastern corner, where the floor was the highest, its ruins are more pronounced. The layer of daub broke, turned upside down and mixed up with the pottery fragments and the remains of the walls, out of which some adobe fragments have been preserved. Sometimes, judging after the cracks in the suspended floor, one can observe the direction and the width of the suspension beams of the wooden structure. The uneven areas, recorded in the southern half of the house, don’t rise above 10 cm, meanwhile those in the north and east are more pronounced.

The daub fragments examined until now do not contain visible imprints of organic substances, but they contain small fragments of gravel coming from the local rock.

When raising the walls of House 5, clay in mixture with sand and gravel has been used; meanwhile the structure of the suspended floor has a more stony composition.

Along the wall one can notice stone agglomerations, disposed in different positions (some are lower, some are higher), placed towards the exterior, more precisely between the post and the traces of the fallen wall. The quantity of adobe shows that we deal with a plaster that does not rise above 20-30 cm, above the floor level. The width of the fallen exterior wall, which had a structure of poles and wattle, was of about 20-30 cm. It seems that a threshold of gravel and clay, of greenish colour and of about 20-25 cm wide, resembling the one from room B, had been disposed towards the eastern end of the beams.

After taking down the ruins of the floor, the areas of House 5, room B and House 5A could be defined very well. At the same time the postholes, which were part of the roof and wall structures of the houses, have been defined. These will be investigated in the future campaign.

House 5A. It was discovered in c. A-B / 7-9 and A /10, researched in several archaeological campaigns, only a third of it being uncovered and investigated (Lazarovici & colab. 2002, 19-20, Pl. I-II). Probably it has a rectangular shape, with the dimensions of 6,5 x 3,5 m (part of the house is outside the investigated area). The house is facing House 5, the Northeastern wall being common.

The floor was partly suspended in the area of the north – eastern wall and was built on a structure of thick beams, the ends of which were leaning upon the wall. The burning of the beams also determined the burning of the floor and the wall that was supporting them. While the beams were burning the floor collapsed.

The pieces of the floor daub from the southern area are thoroughly burned. Their upper surface is flat, but most of them present on their lower surface imprints of thick beams with rectangular section. In the central area of the house the floor daub was not preserved, but here pottery fragments, which got inside through the open spaces, have been discovered. 0,8 m long, 0,2-0,3 m wide and 0,15-0,2 m thick rectangular beams were used in the construction the floor. The beams were placed parallel to each other, perpendicularly on the long sidewalls of the house. They were covered with a mixture of clay, gravel and vegetal remains, putting together the floor, which was later thoroughly evened. The beams were placed on the soil only after the terrain was levelled.

We don’t exclude the possibility that this house might be just another room of House 5.

House 21. It was discovered in c. A-B/11-14 and it was affected in the upper part by the disposal of the floor of House 5 (Pl.III/5) . The house has rectangular shape, its corners being slightly rounded off; its dimensions are 3,8-4 x 2,5-3 m and it is facing north-west / south-east.

The floor is made of local settled gravel, presenting the traces of a remaking (Pl.III/6,7) .

The walls have been dug in the local stony earth, and have been covered with two or three layers of daub. The wall was built with organic remains and straws, which burned down, leaving a whitish pigment. In the area facing the surface of the earth the daubs are thicker. From place to place the southern wall was cut by the mole holes. The southern wall is well preserved, its height being somewhere between 25-38 cm. The Southeastern corner was destroyed, but just beside it, one of the thick daubs, probably a result of the latter remaking, has been preserved.

The eastern area is weakly preserved. After the remaking, the angle between the floor and the wall became round. The pit house was perforated by mole holes and by bigger animals, which disturbed the adobe.

In the area of the pit from the Northeastern corner the floor was strongly settled. Fragments of the walls, with imprints of very short wattle, similar to those from the edge of the house, have fallen into the pit.

The roof was built with organic material because traces of burning have been found under the ruins.

In the Northeastern area of the house a supply pit was discovered dug in the local rock. The pit has a circular opening with the diameter of 0,8 m and the depth of 0,6-0,8 m from the level of the floor. In the opening of the pit fragmentary preserved pottery and a whole pot, a tureen, have been found. In the pit there was a supply pot (Pl.III/8).

As it concerns the houses of this level, which corresponds to the Cucuteni-Ariuşd A 2 faze, it can be observed that the building of House 5 took place shortly after House 21 was set on fire.

Eneolithic Păuleni I level

Complex 17. (Pl. V/1) It was discovered in c. C-D / 11-13, covering a surface of 5 x 2,5-3 m in the eastern area of House 5. The content of the complex is composed by loosed earth with lots of ashes, in which archaeological material belonging to the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture was found. The black, glazed pottery, belonging to the early faze of the culture, is characteristic for this complex. Beside these, a large quantity of animal bone remains, roebuck horns, carbonised wood and copper objects were found.

Sadly the complex was only investigated on a small surface, a large area of it being under House 5 and under the rampart, in the area still not researched. In this faze of the research we have no data regarding its shape. After the 2004 campaign we observed that House 5 is superposed on this level, and the archaeological material discovered in the two complexes is different from a stylistic point of view. In its perimeter several hearts were found, disposed directly on the floor.

The material culture

The inventory of the houses is represented by the completely or fragmentary preserved ceramics pots, manufactured of all types of ceramics (fine ceramics, representing 14 % fine sand; semi fine ceramics, representing 50 % sand, finely pounded ceramics fragments; rough ceramics, representing 36 % sand, pebble, pounded ceramics fragments), objects made of burned clay, copper, stone, bone or horns.

The repertory of ceramics manufactured of fine paste consists of small, medium and large pots, with a very thin body, which sounds when it is tapped. Cups, pots with spherical bodies, ladles, bowls and tureens are part of this category of ceramics.

The category of ceramics for common use consists of a large range of vessels, especially large supply pots, support-pots, fruit dishes, pots in the shape of a truncated cone and double truncated cone, bowls, tureens, lids etc. The large vessels have handles of different shapes and applied buttons.

The decorative style is associated with the ceramics shapes and categories. In a restricted proportion we can find incised, grooved, alveolated, applied, slips ornaments and then those that are painted. The common ceramics is smoothened or well smoothened, generally burned oxidantly, the dominant colours being brown, brick-red, yellowish and reddish, but it is rarely ornamented. The painting is applied on a black, red or reddish background, with a brush, using white, brown, black or red colours.

The anthropomorphous plastic art represents an essential chapter in the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture ( Monah 1997) . At Păuleni Ciuc there have been discovered approximately 80 pieces (whole or fragmentary), belonging to some feminine statuettes and figurines. Most of them are manufactured of clay, in combination with pounded ceramics fragments, well smoothened and burned oxidantly.

The statuettes are generally ornamented with incised lines in the areas that mark the limits of the body parts (legs, buttocks, the sex, delimit the body from the legs), or rarely on the entire surface of the piece, forming geometrical motives (triangles, rhombus, etc.). Sometimes the breasts, the navel, the knee and the ankle are represented by small conical prominences, applied to the surface or pinched out of the paste of the piece. The statuettes have been very well smoothened, sometimes even polished, and on 2-3 fragments traces of painting may be seen.

Of an exceptional artistic value are the two feminine statuettes of large dimensions, of over 25 cm, discovered in House 5, one on the floor (Plate V/2) and the second one underneath the floor, fallen between its cracks (Plate V/1). These express the feminine sensitivity and refinement through the suppleness of the body, the ornamented position, the bending of the arms towards the back, the shape of the legs, the emphasized sexual characteristics and the quality of the polished surfaces. Such pieces are extremely rare not only in the Transylvanian area of the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture, but even in the entire area of the culture.

In the Cucuteni-Tripolije Eneolithic, where thousands of feminine statuettes are known, the differences between the state of obesity and that of pregnancy are very well outlined, though the majority of the plastic art represents the woman in the completeness of her physical beauty ( Chirica, 1999, 110) .

Different miniature objects were made out of burned clay (cups, discs, cones, reels), but also larger pieces (spindle whorls, quadrilateral cups, roundels, reels, pintanderas), a special category being represented by fragments of miniature altars or altar tables.

Out of these altar-tables (votive altars) one has been preserved almost entirely, and it was made of clay in combination with fine sand. The piece was moulded in two pieces: the table with four legs, united to each other, and the goblet of conical shape, its interior being empty. The altar was discovered nearby a hearth, probably being used in some magical-religious practices. Through its artistic aspect this piece is rare in the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture.

We also signal the fact that such pieces appear in the early Neolithic, through the discoveries from Gura Baciului. Votive miniature altars were used for: day-by-day illumination, as J. Nandriş suggested; for cultic illumination; in burning the animal fat; burning the offerings; for keeping the fire ( Lazarovici, Maxim, 1995, 148; fig. 29/1-4) .

Typologically the altars can be classified in three large groups: 1 – altars with three legs; 2 – altars with four legs; 3 – altars with no legs. In its turn each group is sub-divided in other sub-groups. The altars know a true explosion of variants under the influence of the Vinča Culture and of the Starčevo-Criş Culture’s IIIB/IVA stage, characterized by polychrome painting. These pieces are a good example of unity and diversity, of cultural-spiritual unity on large distances ( Maxim 1999, 62; Anexes 9-14) .

The bearers of the Precucuteni Culture inherited or took over this practice of altar models and miniature tables, decorated them with their own motifs, in a self specific manner, thus making them almost unrecognizable. Some pieces belonging to the Precucuteni III phase may resemble, in some measure, the altars belonging to the Gumelni ţa Culture ( Marinescu-Bîlcu 1974, 106, Fig. 91/1-7) .

The discovery of some sanctuaries in the settlements of the Cucuteni Culture , or of some miniature clay-models of a high artistic value, gave the possibility of partially reconstructing the spiritual life of this culture and of the place these magical-religious rituals took place in ( Magda-Mantu 1998, 58) .

In the investigated surfaces there have been discovered a clay votive altar and other 8 fragments belonging to miniature tables, of different dimensions (tables and legs): 2 table legs, broken at their base, but with a fragment of the table preserved at their top; 5 fragments of legs, separately preserved; 1 fragment from a table.

The legs were disposed in the corners of the table; they have conical shape, with an approximate dimension of 10-20 cm. On one of the legs, on its exterior surface, traces of painting may be seen, and on the interior of the table, vertical finger tracings are visible.

The small tables had quadrilateral shape, with the sides slightly arched, or sometimes arched inwardly, with the margins raised. The 2 fragments of miniature tables discovered at Păuleni have the corners slightly rounded. The discovered miniature tables were moulded of clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments.

In the Cucuteni Culture this type of pieces was generally interpreted as altars; they differ as shape, dividing into three groups: triangular, with three legs; quadrilateral, with four legs; circular, with three or four legs. In their turn, these three groups have been subdivided, according to the functional criteria, and according to the ritual practice, in other subgroups: with plane body, like a small table for solid offerings; deepened, like a vessel, for liquid offerings; massive, with a central container ( Niţu 1972, 51) .

The altar-tables and the plates were used for representing, in miniature, sacred scenes ( Gimbutas 1989, 116) .

Though the investigation of the Eneolithic complexes from Păuleni Ciuc – Ciomortan is still going on, we wanted to add the discovery of these models of altars and miniature altar tables to the scientific circuit, because of their importance in knowing the magical-religious practices of the bearers of the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture, especially in the intra- Carpathic area.

Models of miniature tables discovered in the houses

House 5:

Leg (Miniature table) (Plate VII/4; Plate X/3), moulded of clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The middle part of the leg is the only preserved fragment of the piece. It has circular section, with the surface well smoothened. The burning was oxydant. Preserved H: 62 mm; GR: 47 mm; Ad: – 2,48 m; Inv. No: 11290.

Leg (Miniature Table) (Plate VII/2; Plate X/2), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The leg fragment is the only preserved fragment of the piece. It has the shape of a truncated cone, with plane base, and slightly oval section in the upper part. It is well smoothened and painted on the brick-red – yellowish substance with brown lines, which form geometrical angles disposed with their vertex downwards (the painted lines have a width of 5-6 mm). On the inside there can be seen traces of human prints, vertically disposed on the surface of the leg. The burning was oxydant. Preserved H: 98 mm; LA: 42 mm; GR at the base: 30 mm; Ad: – 2,9 m; Inv. No: 11499.

Leg (Miniature table) (Plate VII/1; Plate X/1), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The leg is the only preserved fragment of the piece. The altar was moulded of several clay pieces (the legs separately, the table), pasted together afterwards. The leg has a circular section in the lower part, with plate base, and a triangular shape with rounded corners in the upper part. It is smoothened ; oxidant burning. Preserved H: 101 mm; GR: 45 mm; Ad. – 2,6 m; Inv. No: 11680.

Leg (Miniature table) (Plate VII/5; Plate X/5), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The leg and a small part of the table are the only preserved fragment of the piece. The piece was moulded of several clay pieces (the legs separately, the table), pasted together afterwards. The leg was positioned in the corner of the table, the exterior sides are straight and the inside is slightly rounded. The lower part of the leg has a circular section, with a plane base. The upper part has a triangular section, with a slightly arched side.It is smoothened;oxidant burning. Preserved H: 187 mm; GR: 40 mm; Ad.: – 2,45 m; Inv. No: 7037.

Miniature table (fragment) (Plate VI / 3; Plate IX/2; Plate XI/3), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The table fragment and the upper part of a leg are the only preserved fragments of the piece. The table has a rectangular shape, with arched sides, its surface is slightly concave and it has on its side a step (formerly broken). The leg is applied in the corner of the table, it has straight exterior sides, and the interior side is slightly rounded. It is smoothened; oxidant burning. Preserved H: 90 mm; GR table: 14 mm; GR leg: 40 mm; preserved L: 140 mm; preserved LA: 115 mm; Ad. –2,25 m; Inv. No. 5009.

House 16:

Altar – table (votive miniature altar) (Plate VIII/1; Plate IX/1), moulded in clay in combination with fine sand, in two pieces (table and goblet). The table has 4 small legs which are united with each other through small, slightly asymmetrical triangles. The legs are slightly widened. The table of the panelling is slightly in relief. The goblet has the shape of a truncated cone, with the rounded and slightly widened edges. At the middle the piece has a perforation as big as the base of the goblet. The surfaces are well smoothened (they show traces of painting ?); oxidant burning; it has brick – red – yellowish colour. H: 80 mm; Dg: 105 mm; D perforation: 48 mm; GR side: 5 mm; Inv. No: 8768.

Miniature tables discovered outside the houses

Leg (Miniature table) (Plate VII/3; Plate X/4), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The fragment of the leg is the only preserved fragment of the piece. The leg was probably disposed at the corner of the table; it has straight exterior sides. It has rectangular section, it was smoothened and the burning was oxidant. Preserved H: 78 mm; GR: 32 mm; Ad. –0,6-0,7 m; Inv. No. 5452.

Miniature table (fragment) (Plate VI/1; Plate XI/1), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The upper part of the leg is the only preserved fragment of the piece. The leg is positioned at the corner of the table, having a triangular section. The table probably had a rectangular shape, with the corners slightly rounded, and a straight surface. It is smoothened; oxidant burning. Preserved H: 49 mm; GR leg: 26 mm; GR table: 18 mm; preserved L: 64 mm; preserved LA: 47 mm; Ad. –0,6-0,7 m; Inv. No. 5008.

Miniature table (fragment) (Plate VI/2; Plate XI/2), moulded in clay in combination with pounded ceramics fragments. The part of the table is the only preserved fragment of the piece. The table probably had a rectangular shape, the surface is straight and on the exterior side it has a prominence, perforated in the middle. Nearby the prominence the edge of the table is prolonged with a triangle with the vertex facing downwards. It is smoothened; oxidant burning. Preserved H: 40 mm; GR table: 16 mm; preserved L: 75 mm; preserved LA: 65 mm; Ad. –0,25-0,35 m; Inv. No.: 5007.

General considerations regarding the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture

In the V-IV millenniums B.C. Eastern Europe, area of cultural convergences, knew an exquisite flourishing of the Eneolithic civilisation. The Cucuteni – Ariuşd – TripolieCulture distinguished itself among the brilliant creations from the area. The name of Cucuteni – Ariuşd – TripolieCulture was given after the discoveries made in the eponym stations from Ariuşd – Covasna county, nearby Sfântu Gheorghe; Cucuteni – Iaşi county, nearby Târgu Frumos, and Tripolie – from Ukraine, not far away from its capital, Kiev. There are over 1800 settlements recorded as belonging to the Cucuteni Culture, to which we can add other 500 between the Prut and Nistru rivers ( Dumitrescu 1954;Marcu 1976,73-95; Emődi 1980, 429-43; Monah, Cucoş 1985, 15; Cucoş 1998; Cavruc 1998; A. L á szló 1988, 121-135; Magda-Mantu 1998a, 83-100; Dîmboviţa & colaboratori 1999; *** 1999; Popovici 2000; Marinescu-Bîlcu, Bolomey 2000; Petrescu-Dîmboviţa, Văleanu, 2004) .

In the natural development of the Cucuteni Culture (considered by some to have gotten to a pre-urban state from the point of view of the settlements, to an extension and complexity of the diffusion of products, ideas, pottery forms and techniques in the domain of its manufacture, and in the one of the copper smelting), a series of external influences stepped in, which, combined with the internal ones, produced major mutations within the Eneolithic communities ( Dumitroaia 2000, 19) .

In some settlements from Ariuşd, in Southeastern Transylvania, simpler or more complex fortification systems have been elaborated, being composed of ditches (sometimes paved), stone or earth ramparts (sometimes with stone only in their middle), palisades and fences. These systems generally have well defined correspondents in the Cucuteni A faze settlements from Moldavia, regarding the way the settlements are fortified ( A. László 1993, 49) .

The settlements of the Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture from Transylvania are situated on the high terraces found nearby the Olt and Black River (except Târgu Mureş, where the settlement was situated nearby the Mureş river), or on the safe hills, naturally protected from two or three directions ( László 1911; Roska 1943) . Where the land did not offer these natural protection elements, the settlements were fortified.

There are known the so-called “pair settlements” placed on both sides of the river, at an approximate distance of 1-2 km, as for example: Olteni “Cetatea Fetii” – Olteni “În Dosul Cetăţii”; Ariuşd “Dealul Tyiszk” – Bod “Dealul Popilor” and other such settlements. Most of the settlements are placed at altitudes between 500-650 m, except the once from Păuleni Ciuc (882 m), and their surface covers no more than 1 hectare.

Nearby the settlements there are many mineral water springs, and in some cases even springs with slightly salted water (Olteni, Vâlcele, Ariuşd), which were surely used back then as well. The meadows, but as well the high terraces, offered very good conditions for practicing agriculture and breeding.

Many archaeologists have given their opinions, along the time, upon the genesis of the Cucuteni Culture, and thus, today there exists a more or less complete unanimous opinion, being given the fact that some chains of the constitution process haven’t been completely made clear ( Magda-Mantu 1998, 33; E. Comşa 1988, 115-119) .

Thus, some authors consider that the cultural aspect of the communities which belong to the first sub phase (Cucuteni A 1 or Protocucuteni), constituted in the central area of western Moldavia, in the area of Precucuteni III Culture, from where it spread to the south – east of Transylvania and towards the east, is characterised by the pottery painted in two or even three colours, being painted before being burned, as well as by the persistency of the incised ornament of precucutenian tradition ( *** 2001, 165) .

The beginning of the process of transformation of the Precucuteni Culture into Cucuteni Culture, surprised in the settlement from Poduri, Bacău County, may be placed into the Late Precucuteni II phase (white painting on red substance, before burning). The Late Precucuteni III level from the same settlement was followed by an intermediary strata, with three superposed habitation levels, one of them being considered as the marking point of the beginning of Cucuteni Culture. Due to the new ornamentation technique of the pottery, the Romanian archaeologists talk about a new culture, conventionally called Cucuteni, though it is the same population we are talking about. This transformation, which took place in such a short time (in approximately 50 years), is nowhere else such obvious as at Poduri ( Magda-Mantu 1998, 33; Monah & colab. 2003, 36) .

As it concerns the chronological placing of Păuleni I and II levels and Ariuşd-Cucuteni A 1 and A 2, there are many recent statistical analyses upon these materials ( Lazarovici & colab. 2000, 103-130; 2002, 19-40; Gheorghe Lazarovici, Cornelia Magda-Lazarovici, Analize statistice pe ceramica cucuteniană de la Olteni, Păuleni şi Ruginoasa, Arheometrie XV, 2003, 14-15, Decembrie, Ţaga ; Gheorghe Lazarovici, 2002, Prelucrări matematice cu privire la siturile cucuteniene de la Păuleni Harghita şi Ruginoasa. În: Simpozionul Cercetări interdisciplinare în neo-eneoliticul din Moldova: Realizări şi perspective, dedicat centenarului naşterii savantului Vladimir Dumitrescu, Iaşi, 15 iunie 2002; Lazarovici, 2003, 217-231) . As a matter of fact when Vl. Dumitrescu determined the Cucuteni A 1 faze he took into account such materials as those from Izvoare ( R. Vulpe 1956, 53-93) and Frumuşica from Moldavia ( *** 1960, 62, fig. 11/2-3; Dumitrescu 1963, 69-73; Dumitrescu 1968, 28-29; Dumitrescu 1979, 17-19) , materials which appear in the Păuleni I and II levels, but also at Tg. Mureş, Olteni ( Lazarovici, Maxim, Meşter, Radu 1997, 669-687) , in the old and new diggings, and at Ariuşd ( László 1924, 1-24; XXX 1960, 61-65; Zaharia, Székély 1988, 101-115; E. Comşa 1988, 115-119) , Leţ ( Lazarovici 1998, 19) , Ciucsângiorgiu ( Lazarovici, Maxim, Crişan, Pal 1989-1993, 221-228; Maxim 1999, 112) and Bod ( Costea 1995, 25) in Transylvania ( Lazarovici 1996, 35-36; Lazarovici 2003a, 16-17) .

Although it is not our intention to create regionalisms in the Cucuteni Culture ( Lazarovici, Buzea 2004, 43-49) , this fact has been underlined by Iuliu Paul (PetreştiCulture – Paul 1992 ) and others, and we cannot do otherwise but state that the earliest and most numerous Cucuteni A 1 materials are in Transylvania.

The two cultures (Petreşti and Cucuteni) developed under the sign of a partial synchronism, with a certain specific which consists in the fact that each of the Petreşti Culture phases preceded in time the phases of Cucuteni Culture, the Cucuteni B phase continuing its development long after the ending of the development process of the Petreşti Culture B phase ( Luca & colab. 2004, 113) .

Some archaeologists from the Republic of Moldavia exclude the active contact between the bearers of the Precucuteni and Cucuteni cultures with those of the Petreşti culture, admitting the spontaneous apparition of the polychrome pottery in the area of the local tribes as result of gaining experience in time in the technology of manufacturing and burning of the paste, and as well in its decoration ( Bodareu 2004, 59) .

The cucutenian communities from between the Nistru and Prut rivers had close relationships with the Balkan-Danubian tribes and with the north – Pontic ones. In the Ruseşti Noi I settlement there have been discovered fragments of a pot that has sand in its paste, as degreasing substance, and it is decorated with imported graphite, belonging to the Gumelniţa Culture, and in the cucutenian anthropomorphous plastic art the influences of the Gumelniţa Culture may be sensed ( Sorokin 1994, 80) .

Thanks to the interpenetration of the two large cultural areas from the space between the Oriental Carpathians and the Danube, and also to the advance of the Cucuteni A 1 culture towards the Northeastern part of Muntenia, and the extension of Gumelniţa Culture, A 1 phase in the south of Moldavia, the south of the Republic of Moldavia and Ukraine, a cultural aspect of synthesis was formed between the two contemporary cultures. This aspect, or the Stoicani-Aldeni cultural aspect, is structurally defined not only through the cultural elements characteristic to the two cultures, but also through the elements resulted after their final synthesis ( Dragomir 1996, 12) .

As it regards the starting point of the Cucuteni Culture originating from Precucuteni III, idea accepted by some of our colleagues (recently by Dan Monah) from Basarabia and Ukraine, we cannot ignore the fact that in Transylvania we lack Precucuteni III discoveries, but more important they are not present in the early Ariuşd settlements. These would plead for an Ariuşd group or for a genesis under the influence of the Petreşti Culture, Foeni group, for the Ariuşd-Cucuteni complex. As a matter of fact the discoveries of Gumelniţa type are late, at least from the comparative stratigraphy’s point of view, as the C14 results confirm it. The genesis of the Gumelniţa Culture originating from Boian is an opinion which should be revised, the polished black pottery, the white painting, that Gumelniţa A 1, mentioned and never demonstrated convincingly, should belong to the same process, maybe later, which gave birth to the Copper Age in Transilvania and in the rest of the territory. The Neolithic genesis of these civilizations (Gumelniţa, Sălcuţa, Petreşti, Cucuteni) could allow the elimination of the term of Eneolithic, which thus has no real support. The syntheses that can be observed among the Neolithic civilisations and those newly come belong to a local, regional process of synthesis, which only has consequences here and there, as for example in Ukraine ( Lazarovici, Buzea 2005 (under Publishing)) .



L = length; LA = Width; Ad. = depth; H = height; D = diameter; GR = thickness; m = metre; mp = square metre; mm = millimetre; Inv. No. = Inventory Number; c = small square; S.I = surface I.

Translated by Andrea Chiricescu

Explanation of the plates


Plate I. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County.

  • Geographical position

  • Păuleni – Ciomortan Settelement. General Plan

Legend: a – fortification ditch; b – bog; c – forest; d – trenches excavated by Z. Szekely; e - trenches excavated in 1999 – 2002; f – inner line of the fortification wall; g – conecting wall; i – ridge of the defence wall; k – field road; l - contour lines; m - trenches excavated in 2003 – 2005

Plate II. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-AriuşdCulture.

  • General view upon the site (view from the south)

  • General view upon the site (view from the west)

Planşa III. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, jud. Harghita. Cultura Cucuteni-Ariuşd.

1 – House no. 5, 2003 campaign. View from the west

2 - The delimitation of the archaeological complexes in S. I, 2004 campaign.

3 - The floor of house no. 5. View from the east

4 - House no. 21 and House no. 5 - Impressions left in the ground by longitudinal beams.

5 - House no. 21, superior level. View from the north

6 - House no. 21, view from above

7 - House no. 21, general view

8 - House no. 21, supply pit. Detail

Plate IV. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. S. I, c. A-D/9-14.

  • The plan of house nr. 5, rooms A and B

Legend: a – area researched in 1999

b – rough cast of the floor

c – pottery

d – stone

e – post-hole

f – grinder

g – rough cast of the wall

h – bone / horn

i – yellow-green rocky soil

j – remains of burned wood

k – reconstruction of the floor beams

Plate V. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. House no. 5. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Statuettes of large dimensions made of burned clay.

1 – Feminine statuette – fragmentary remains

2 – Feminine statuette with her arms in adoration

Plate VI. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.

1-3 Miniature Tables

Plate VII. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.

1-5 Miniature Tables (legs)

Plate VIII. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. House no. 16. Burned clay.

1 – Altar

Plate IX. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. 1. House no. 16; 2. House no. 5. Burned clay.

1 – Altar

2 – Miniature Table (reconstruction)

Plate X. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.

1-5 Miniature Tables (legs)

Plate XI. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.

1-3 Miniature Tables




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Plate I. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County.


Plate II. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-AriuşdCulture.


Planşa III. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, jud. Harghita. Cultura Cucuteni-Ariuşd.


Plate IV. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. S. I, c. A-D/9-14.


Plate V. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. House no. 5. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Statuettes of large dimensions made of burned clay.


Plate VI. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.


Plate VII. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.


Plate VIII. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. House no. 16. Burned clay.


Plate IX. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. 1. House no. 16; 2. House no. 5. Burned clay.


Plate X. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.


Plate XI. Păuleni Ciuc-Ciomortan „Dâmbul Cetăţii”, Harghita County. Cucuteni-Ariuşd Culture. Burned clay.