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SCHRIFTEN DES ZENTRUMS FR ARCHOLOGIE UND 1

KULTURGESCHICHTE DES SCHWARZMEERRAUMES 5

AEGEAN MARMARA BLACK SEA: THE PRESENT STATE


OF RESEARCH ON THE EARLY NEOLITHIC
2
SCHRIFTEN DES ZENTRUMS FR ARCHOLOGIE UND
KULTURGESCHICHTE DES SCHWARZMEERRAUMES

Herausgegeben von

FRANCOIS BERTEMES und ANDREAS FURTWNGLER


3

AEGEAN - MARMARA - BLACK SEA: THE PRESENT STATE


OF RESEARCH ON THE EARLY NEOLITHIC

I. GATSOV AND H. SCHWARZBERG (EDS.)

Proceedings of the Session held at the EAA 8th Annual Meeting


at Thessaloniki, 28th September 2002

Beier & Beran


LANGENWEISSBACH 2006
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Titelvignette: Anthropomorphe Darstellung von der Magula Karamourlar


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und des Deutschen Archologischen Institutes.

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5

Content

F. Bertemes/A. Furtwngler (Halle): M. Lichardus-Itten (Paris)/J.-P. Demoule (Paris)/


Vorwort der Herausgeber der Schriftenreihe 1 L. Pernicheva (Sofia)/M. Grebska-Kulova
(Blagoevgrad)/I. Kulov (Blagoevgrad):
H. Parzinger (Berlin): Kovacevo, an Early Neolithic site in South-West
Gruwort des Prsidenten des Deutschen Bulgaria and its importance for European
Archologischen Institutes 2 Neolithization 83

H. Schwarzberg (Halle)/I. Gatsov (Sofia): L. Nikolova (Salt Lake City):


Aegean Marmara Black Sea: The present Village-interments and social reproduction dur-
state of research on the Early Neolithic. An ing the Neolithic 95
introduction 5
E. Rosenstock (Tbingen):
Y. D. Boyadzhiev (Sofia): Early Neolithic tell settlements of South-East
The role of absolute chronology in clarifying Europe in their natural setting: A study in dis-
the Neolithization of the eastern half of the tribution and architecture 115
Balkan Peninsula 7
H. Schwarzberg (Halle):
M. L. Sfriads (Rennes): A new item for the Neolithic Package? Early
Some reflections on the Mesolithic substratum Neolithic cult vessels in Anatolia and South-
and the Neolithization processes in the Aegean, East Europe 127
Danubian and Black Sea areas 15
S. Hansen (Berlin):
M. zdogan (Istanbul): Frhe Statuetten in Griechenland und ihre
Neolithic cultures at the contact zone between Vorbilder 135
Anatolia and the Balkans - Diversity and homo-
geneity at the Neolithic frontier 21 I. Gatsov (Sofia):
The state of research into the problem of
C. Lichter (Karlsruhe): Pleistocene-Holocene transition in the present
Zum Forschungsstand des Neolithikums und area of Bulgaria 151
frhen Chalkolithikums in Westanatolien 29
M. Gurova (Sofia):
S. Alpaslan-Roodenberg (Leiden): Functional aspects of the Early Neolithic flint
Death in Neolithic Ilpnar 47 assemblages from Bulgaria and NW Anatolia 157

N. Kyparissi-Apostolika (Athens): N. Benecke (Berlin):


The beginning of the Neolithic in Thessaly 59 Animal husbandry and hunting in the Early
Neolithic of South-East Europe - A review 175
N. Efstratiou (Thessaloniki):
Looking for the Early Prehistory of Greek E. Marinova (Sofia):
Thrace: Research problems, prospects and first Archaeobotanical studies of the Bulgarian
results 69 Neolithic. The current state of research and per-
spectives for future studies 187

Contributors 195
A new itemAfornew item Package?
the Neolithic for the Neolithic Package? Early Neolithic cult vessels 127
in Anatolia and South-East Europe

Heiner Schwarzberg

The origins, mechanisms and ways of appearance of the sites of Pobudni4 or Ovcarovo5) should be separated
the Neolithic in south-eastern Europe are the object of as house-models. Small tables without any depressions
manifold discussions for several decades. Although there in their upside belong to miniature chairs and were
are some sites, e. g. in Greece and the erdap-Re- used as miniature furniture in a different way.
gion, which are believed to have pre-pottery origins or Usually, cult tables, or more neutrally
which have Mesolithic substrate, on most Early prismatic polypod vessels, are ornamented with inden-
Neolithic places in south-eastern Europe there is a tations or incisions, though there are a lot of pieces
serious evidence of the arrival of a developed Neolithic which are only scarcely decorated or not ornamented
may it have been brought by foreign colonists them- at all. They all seem to have been used for the same
selves, by contacts between colonists and an indigenous purposes.
population or by small groups or single individuals of Mostly the pieces were found in the direct sur-
Neolithic moderators, which had a deep impact on roundings of or inside dwellings, but because of the
local population. The concept of the Neolithic Pack- state of preservation of many architectural remains, a
age (or more appropriate Neolithic Packages, as typical location inside the installations of the buildings
regional and chronological differences are likely) is a is not yet evident by context. Some years ago, E. Bnffy
striking symbol of this initial stage of development. tried to prove that they could have been connected with
Items of that package, e. g. several types of domes- cult-corners near the fireplaces of the houses6. It is
ticated plants and animals as well as patterns of burial quite logical that these areas have always been the cen-
rites, the use of mud bricks and plastered floors, but- tres of the buildings, but again the main contextual
tresses, complex composite hearths and artefacts like information is very weak.
bone hooks, sling bullets, stamp seals with geometric
patterns, greenstone axes, ceramic figurines with typi-
cal features (e. g. coffee bean eyes), spindle whorls,
ear studs, bone spoons and stone vessels, occur on
many sites of south-eastern Europe1. All of them can
be traced back to the Near East and/or to Anatolia.
And maybe there is another artefact to add to this
Neolithic package: the so-called cult tables(fig. 1)!
Every scholar who is familiar with the material
culture of the south-eastern European Neolithic may
know them, but because of several misinterpretations,
which have been published even in recent papers, it is
nevertheless necessary to define them again: cult ta- Fig. 1. Early/Middle Neolithic cult table from
bles are prismatic three- or four-legged ceramic ves- Karanovo, Bulgaria (after Todorova/Vajsov
sels with a maximum height of approximately 20 cm 1993)
with a shallow depression on their upside. Pieces with
no bottom can be named as stands2. Perhaps wooden Cult tables occur in Neolithic and Chalcolithic
inlays, which could have been taken out and changed settlements in an enormous territory, which ranges from
after the use, were fixed onto the stands to fulfil simi- the western Anatolian Taurus Mountains to Thessaly
lar purposes3. The meaning of prismatic vessels with- in the south and up the whole course of the Danube
out legs and their relation to the cult tables is not River and Muntenia to the Hungarian Tisza region in
clear, but pieces with small installations (e. g. from the north. Even at the early Linear-Pottery settlement

1 Recently: Perls 2001, 52-63; Cilingiroglu 2005. 4 Nasz 1950, pl. 5.


2 For a detailed study about the phenomenon of cult-tables 5 Todorova 1979, fig. 63; Jungsteinzeit in Bulgarien 1981, 170.
see Schwarzberg 2005. 6 Bnffy 1997, 55, 74: ... we presume that altarpieces and oth-
3 Schwarzberg 2005, 273 pl. 26: recent finds from Asag Pnar er kinds of cult objects coming from settlements and not com-
(layer 6) point at a special figural character of some of the ing from bothroi or e. g. foundation offerings were once parts
stands. of cult corner assemblages within dwelling houses ....
128 Heiner Schwarzberg

of Eilsleben7, 150 km western of Berlin (fig. 2) a a cultic purpose? I mentioned the dilemma of problem-
single fragment has been found. atical contexts above. Only the relation to ordinary
In 1906 cult tables were first described by G. dwelling houses seems to be clear. At buildings with a
Seure and A. Degrand from the Bulgarian sites of Racev sacrificial character ( , Nea Nikomedeia, Tisza-
and Meckjur near Jambol8. Already in 1908, M. Vasic, fldvr) no vessels of that type were found13. Addition-
dealing with pieces from Vinca, called them cultic ob- ally, the search for traces of utilisation is mostly un-
jects9. During the 20th century cult tables were pub- successful. Some of the pieces are painted or incised
lished several times but often as small collections or in the inside, so they could not have been used as oil
as single pieces, which led to the fact that they were lamps or incense burners, as it has been sometimes
regarded as something very exceptional. Contextual suggested. Additionally, several observations clearly
information was mostly absent. proved, that the broken tables have been deposited
with normal domestic waste, they are principally ab-
sent in graves and seem to have no relations to figu-
rines.
The only hint to their function is the shallow de-
pression that makes it quite likely that something was
put or poured into the tables. But this in itself is not
necessarily evidence of cultic use! The only but in
my opinion the most striking argument is the dura-
tion of the application of that particular type of vessel
with only minimal changes in shape and in style of
Fig. 2. Table from the ditch of the Oldest Linear Pot-
decoration. Similar incised and indented ornaments,
tery settlement of Eilsleben, Germany (after
meanders etc. and the triangular or rectangular shape
Kaufmann 1982)
were used throughout approximately 2,000 years from
Another problem is the preservation of the ta- Early Neolithic to Chalcolithic times (in south-east-
bles. Mostly they are fragmented, that is why only ern European terminology), independent from the styles
little is known about that kind of vessels. These dam- and fashions of the everyday pottery. The tradition of
ages seem not to be caused by intentional action, but by cult tables was transmitted over several hundred
normal use. years. This conservatism could be a missing link to
The high quantity of published south-eastern Eu- answer some of the functional questions.
ropean examples is surprising. The comprehensively It is very likely that they have been used as small
presented excavations show that cult tables have been altars for something like a domestic cult, practised in
a very common object in the south-eastern European the dwelling houses. Expressions of cult sometimes
Neolithic. They have even been discovered in western manifested in special buildings or anthropomorphic or
Anatolia. By now, approximately 400-500 Early theriomorphic representations (e. g. figurines) al-
Neolithic cult tables from south-eastern Europe and ways have been exciting and impressive. But the so-
Anatolia are published, but much more have been ex- called cult tables could have been nevertheless as
cavated. Altogether, from Neolithic and Chalcolithic important as all other ritual items. They would reflect
times more than 2,000 pieces are known from the lit- an expression of domestic cult, which was closely
erature. From places like Karanovo in Bulgaria more connected to the ordinary building complexes as the
than 230 and from Asag Pnar in Turkish Thrace 300 smallest units of villages with an agricultural base of
pieces are known10. J. Chapman recently reported more subsistence.
than 700 pieces from Sapareva Banja11. Not only the The application of the tables can be traced
geographical distribution, but also the local situation back into a time when in the Near East and in Anatolia
on many sites shows a high density. a developed Neolithic already existed. In the timespan
The name cult table implies automatically a between approximately 6500 and 6000 cal. BC14 it is
function12. But why are these artefacts assumed to have surprising that not a single piece is known from south-
eastern Europe as all of them were discovered in west-
7 Kaufmann 1982, fig. 9,1. ern Anatolia (fig. 3). Of course this is no clear picture,
8 Seure/Degrand 1906, 368, 412-413.
9 Vassits 1910, 38.
10 Gau 1997; Bacv arov 2002, 122-123; Berger 2005; Schwarzberg 13 Bnffy 1997, 67-69.
2005. 14 In Central Anatolia: atal Hyk IX-VI and EN Haclar
11 Chapman 2000, 85. towards the sea of Marmara: early and developed Fikirtepe
12 About contextual informations, traces of utilisation, and as- in SE Europe and Greece: monochrome Neolithic in Greece
pects of form, function and tradition of prismatic polypod and maybe in western and northern Bulgaria (e. g. Poljanica,
vessels see Schwarzberg 2003. Krajnici, Achilleion and Nea Nikomedeia).
A new item for the Neolithic Package? 129

because there is not yet much known about some of undecorated type was distributed in the Konya Plain
these early sites and the value of some of them is still and the Burdur region, e. g. at atal Hyk and H-
in discussion15! Additionally, the gap in northern Greece ycek18. Eastern of the Taurus Mountains no cult ta-
and parts of Thrace might be caused by the present bles have been found yet.
state of excavations and the special geological situa- At the next chronological horizon at approxi-
tion. But at the present state of research, the distribu- mately 6000-5500 cal. BC19, we have a much clearer
tion of the first cult tables seems to be limited to situation (fig. 5). According to the enormous number of
Asia Minor. recorded Early Neolithic settlements in south-eastern
These earliest pieces have had as far as it is Europe compared to the Mesolithic or Monochrome
possible to observe four legs. Regarding the origins sites we also have a surprising high amount of cult
of their prototypes an idea by J. Mellaart about a piece tables. The distribution clearly shows that the differ-
from atal Hyk might be helpful. He supposed that ent types have spatial, not functional reasons.
the tray on four feet [could be] almost copied from In Thrace and parts of western Bulgaria tripods,
wooden prototypes. often with incised and indented ornaments, have been
There have been two different types with a dif- very common (fig. 6,1). In the territory of the so-called
ferent distribution16: first a box-like type with inden- West Bulgarian Painted Pottery the contact zone
tions and incisions (fig. 4,1). It is recorded at Fikirtepe, between Karanovo and Starcevo mixed types have
Mentese and Demircihyk17. The second type has a been found. There, chip-carved ornaments were very
shallow depression in its upside (fig. 4,2). This nearly common.

Fig. 3. Distribution of prismatic polypod vessels before 6000 cal. BC

18 Duru 1992, fig. 4,4; Duru 1993, fig. 1; 2; Mellaart 1962,


fig. 9,3.
19 The end of the Anatolian Neolithic and the start of the Early
Chalcolithic (atal Hyk V-0, Haclar IX-I, Ilpnar X-VB
15 Concluding: Lichter in this volume. and towards the Sea of Marmara maybe late Fikirtepe) in
16 Schwarzberg 2005a. south-eastern Europe: Karanovo I-II, West Bulgarian Painted
17 Bittel 1971, fig. 9-10; zdoga n 1979, pl. 49-52; 74; 76; Pottery, Starcevo, Cris, Krs Greece: Sesklo etc., which
Roodenberg 2001, fig. 3; Seeher 1987, pl. 16,1-40; 17;1- developed from the Greek Early Neolithic and finally Impres-
34; 18,1-4. so at the Dalmatian coast.
130 Heiner Schwarzberg

In the Central Balkans, down to Macedonia (around the influence of the Starcevo Culture, probably on the
the Lakes Ohrid and Prespa), in Thessaly in the south basis of a very old local substrate, which has been
and at the Danube and Tisza in the north, four-legged recorded at sites at the Roman Iron Gate.
vessels and undecorated or just scanty ornamented A regional theriomorphic type was developed at
pieces dominated (fig. 6,2). Also the four-legged type the Tisza River, in Slovenia and in the Backa (fig. 6,5).
of south-western Anatolia survived. These represenations are closely connected with the
A box-shaped piece is known from Haclar20 (fig. distribution of theriomorphic protomes and should be-
7,1 - an exact double has been found at Poienesti21 in come highly important in the following centuries in
Romania: fig. 7,2). A shallow vessel from Rakitovo22 contexts of the Vinca Culture.
with theriomorphic or anthropomorphic applications Finally an outlook: the application of cult ta-
(fig. 7,3) is quite similar to the above-mentioned piece bles reached its climax in the following centuries
from Hycek23 in Anatolia (fig. 4,2). In Thessaly only between 5500 and 5000 cal. BC, mostly in contexts
a few pieces are known. Mostly they are not decorated with Karanovo III-IV, Vinca A/B and related chrono-
at all, only a piece from Sesklo is painted24. A similar logical phenomena. From this time onwards pieces from
situation is to be observed in Macedonia. northern Greece (e. g. Paradimi26 and Makri27) are also
On the Adriatic coast and in its hinterland ves- known. But no cult tables seem to have been used in
sels, often described as Rhyton, have been found in Anatolia later than approximately 5500 cal. BC.
contexts from Sesklo III onwards to Dimini25. Probably A special type of vessel without any legs oftenly
they fulfilled the same function. Maybe they were in Lengyel contexts might be related to the Early
adapted and developed in an Impresso-Starcevo-Sesklo Chalcolithic tables. Now the distribution in south-
field of interaction. In the Early Neolithic Impresso eastern Europe begins to change. The borders between
Culture cult tables were originally unknown. the different types begin to fade. Until the late
A third type, I just want to mention incidentally, Chalcolithic they vanish totally. The latest pieces re-
is to be connected with the Cris-Krs Culture (fig. veal mostly from Karanovo V-VI contexts, a few are
6,3.4). Most of these tables with a cylindrical neck known from Romania (Cucuteni, Bodrogkeresztr),
were discovered in the Central Balkans, Hungary and Hungary and Albania.
Romania single pieces also sometimes in western In summary, cult tables can be added to the
Bulgaria, Albania and Greece. They are only plastically so-called Neolithic package - archaeological arte-
ornamented or show triangular carved or eye-shaped facts which were developed outside south-eastern Eu-
ornaments. This type was probably developed under rope. The chronological differences between earliest

1 2

Fig. 4. 1 Table of the Fikirtepe type (after Bittel 1971); 2 Table of the South-
western Anatolian type from Hycek (after Duru 1993)

20 Mellaart 1970, pl. 70.12.


21 Mantu et al. 1992, fig. 19.1.
22 Macanova 1996, pl. 10.1.
23 Duru 1993, fig. 1.1.
24 Otto 1985, pl. 28.15. 26 Bakalakis/Sakellariou 1981, pl. XXXII.6, 37,10, 58,7.
25 Peric 1996. 27 Pantos 1974, fig. 3,4; Efstratiou/Kallintzi 1994, fig. 36.
A new item for the Neolithic Package? 131

Fig. 5. Distribution of prismatic polypod vessels between 6000 - 5500 cal.


BC. Because of the still debated position of the end of the Fikirtepe
Culture, these pieces are mapped at both horizons and marked with
an asterisk

Neolithic sites in SE Europe seem to support the ob- etc.) point to the same direction. Some scholars sup-
servation of at least two different packages for Greece posed a date at the end of the PPN, parallel to the
and the Balkan Peninsula and therefore a minimum of Neolithization of western Anatolia29. That might ex-
two different moments of Neolithization whether plain that originally cult tables were not known in
as immigration or transport of ideas or both. Greece, because they have probably been developed in
The three main types can be simplistically con- an initial phase of the ceramic Neolithic in the west of
nected with different cultural complexes: the tri- the Taurus Mountains.
angular type with the Karanovo Culture and neighbour- The middle impulse arrived later, probably at
ing phenomena, the rectangular with the Starcevo the Monochrome phase of the south-eastern European
Culture and the third with the Cris-Krs Complex. Neolithic (as Hoca esme might show), from the Konya
If cult tables are representations of cultural tradi- Plain and Burdur region in Central Anatolia to the
tions, different ways of transportation of these tradi- Balkans and most likely moved to the north via the
tions are visible. valleys of the Vardar and the Struma. In that regions
The southern route to the Greek islands and the four-legged cult tables with minimal ornaments are
peninsula up to Thessaly. Cult tables have not been common. The route south of the Rhodopes is quite likely,
in use there. Only in Thessaly a few pieces have been but there is still a lack of data. Also the way out of
discovered, but they show atypical features and look Anatolia should be debated. Did they use a way over
like imitations. This would support the theory of roots the Aegean Sea and the islands (of course, the sea has
of the southern Neolithic impulse (or impulses) from a been explored a long time ago!) or did they cross the
region east of the Taurus Mountains or in the Near Dardanelles or the Bosporus? C. Lichter recently
East28. This would have happened in a very early stage pointed out again the clearly different habitus of sites
as the very old dates of Greek EN provide. Typical near the Sea of Marmara30. In western Anatolia and
archaeological finds (e. g. coffeebean-eyed figurines
29 zdogan 1998, 35-36.
28 30 Lichter 2002.
Perls 2001, 62-63.
132 Heiner Schwarzberg

1 2

5
3 4
Fig. 6. Cult tables of the type 1 (1 Drinovo, after Todorova/Vajsov 1993), type 2 (2 Rakitovo, after Maca-
nova 1996), type 3 (3.4 Donja Branjevina after Karmanski 1975) and type 4 (5 Donja Branjevina,
after Karmanski 1975a)

Turkish and Greek Thrace the research has just be- marine landscape than to move to inland Bulgaria. More
gun31. The upcoming studies in those areas may yield likely, the area of the Sea of Marmara only sent
some answers. impulses32. In the case of the tables they are visible
But what about Thrace and its tripods? Has there with indented ornaments, which are very common on
been a northern impulse coming from Anatolia where pieces of the Karanovo Culture and have been different
no three-legged prismatic polypod vessels have been to its usually painted vessels. But again, here we are
found yet? Logically, there should have been a connec- just in an initial stage of research and there is a lot to
tion to the Ceramic Neolithic of the Marmara region, do in Thrace. The recent investigations of M. zdogan
the Fikirtepe Culture. But this archaeological phenom- and H. Parzinger at Turkish Thrace33 and of J. J.
enon has been different to all neighbouring cultures in Roodenberg34 and C. Lichter35 in western Anatolia gave
subsistence and way of life. Maybe there have been just a small taste of the questions we will have to try to
such relations but it should be always mentioned that answer in the next decades.
the Fikirtepe Culture was too strongly connected to a

1 2 3

Fig. 7. Typological similarities between tables of SE-Europe and Anatolia. 1 Haclar; 2 Poienesti; 3 Rakitovo
(after Mellaart 1970; Mantu et al. 1992; Macanova 1996)

32 Schwarzberg 2005a, 269-270 fig. 8.


33 zdogan 1999.
34 Roodenberg 1995; Roodenberg/Thissen 2001.
31 Lichter in this volume. 35 Lichter 2002; Lichter in this volume.
A new item for the Neolithic Package? 133

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