Cucuteni-Trypillian culture, also known as Tripolye, was a neolithic civilization that flourished in present-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine. Approximately 7500 to 4750 years ago.

At its peak, Tripolye was one of the most technologically advanced societies in the world at the time. Developing new techniques for ceramic production, housing, building, agriculture and producing woven textiles. It is named after two archaeological sites: Cucuteni in Romania and Trypillia in Ukraine. Tripolye was an big culture. It extended from the Carpathian Mountains to the Dniester and Dnieper regions, centered on modern-day Moldova. It covered substantial parts of western Ukraine, as well, northeastern Romania. About 250,000 square km (or 140,000 miles). The majority of Cucuteni–Trypillia settlements were of small size, high density (spaced 3 to 4 kilometres apart), concentrated mainly in the Siret, Prut and Dniester river valleys.
During its middle phase (4000 to 3500 BC), populations belonging to the Cucuteni–Trypillia culture built the largest settlements in Neolithic Europe, some of which contained many thousand structures and were possibly inhabited by 20,000 to 46,000 people.
It is believed that, every 60-80 years, was a periodic destruction of settlements. The subject is of debate with each single-habitation site. And, since some are reconstructed many times on top of earlier habitational levels. The question arises? Why do you think they were burning settlements?

By 1889 discoveries of the Cucteni-Trypillia (Tripolye) culture were presented at two international conferences. Both in Paris, at the Museum Complex. And, at the international union for prehistoric and protohistoric sciences. It is believed, this was about 30 years after the general discovery of the civilization. And, it curtailed. From small villages to vast settlements. As of 2003, more than 3000 cultural sites have been identified.

The roots of Cucuteni–Trypillia culture can be found in the Starčevo–Körös–Criș and Vinča cultures. There may have been additional influences from the Bug–Dniester culture around 6500–5000 BC. In the 5th millennia linear pottery culture (link) from the north, and Boian culture from the south invaided. Trypolye expanded from the Prut-Siret region (foothills of Carpathian mtns), into basins and plains of Dneiper and southern Bug rivers of central Ukraine.

These people were special. They lived in large, well-organized settlements, often consisting of circular or oval-shaped houses arranged in a grid-like pattern. These settlements could be quite extensive, covering areas of up to hundreds of hectares. They chose good areas to build on plateaus or near rivers. Houses were strong. In the form of pit-houses, and ever increasing above ground clay, log and stone houses. The floors and hearths were also made of log, stone, and clay. Walls were mostly clay-plastered wood or reeds. And, the roofs were made of thatched straw or reeds.
The settlements homes were constructed in several general ways:
▪ Wattle-and-daub homes.
▪ Log homes, called (Ukrainian: площадки, romanized: ploshchadky).
▪ Semi-underground homes called bordei.

At this point, using large log beams, some homes were two stories tall. Evidence also shows, they sometimes decorated the outside of there homes. With symbols, red-ochre, and complex swirling designs. Similar to what is found on their pottery.

Many members of society involved themselves with animal husbandry, agriculture, fishing, and gathering. Wheat, rye and peas were grown. Tools included ploughs made of antler, stone, bone and sharpened sticks. The harvest was collected with scythes made of flint-inlaid blades.

The grain was milled into flour by crushing and grinding using quern-stones. Women were leaders too. They were involved in pottery, textile- and garment-making. Supporting the farming, building, and fishing and gathering. It was fun times. Men hunted, herded the livestock, made tools from flint, bone and stone. Of their livestock, cattle were the most important, with swine, sheep and goats playing lesser roles. Some even say horses were domesticated during this period. It was pretty advanced for the era. Particularly in agriculture, and the cultivation of wheat, barley, and millet. It allowed the culture to expand.

Chronology & Periodization
The Cucuteni–Trypillia culture is commonly divided into Early, Middle, and Late periods (3)
1) Early (Pre-Cucuteni I–III to Cucuteni A–B, Trypillia A to Trypillia BI–II): 5800 to 5000 BC
2) Middle (Cucuteni B, Trypillia BII to CI–II): 5000 to 3500 BC
3) Late (Horodiștea–Foltești, Trypillia CII):3500 to 3000 BC

Early (Pre-Cucuteni I–III to Cucuteni A–B, Trypillia A to Trypillia BI–II): 5800 to 5000 BC
Clay statues of females and amulets have been found. Copper items, primarily bracelets, rings and hooks as well. A hoard of a large number of copper items was discovered in the village of Cărbuna, Moldova.
Pottery remains from this early period are very rarely discovered. Outer colours were smokey grey, with raised and sunken relief decorations. Toward the end pottery begins to be painted before firing. The white-painting technique may have started during this period.

Middle period (5000–3500 BCE)
During this period. The culture spread over a wide area. From eastern Transylvania in the west, to the Dnieper River in the east. During this period, the population immigrated into and settled along the banks of the upper and middle regions of the Right Bank (or western side) of the Dnieper River. The population grew considerably during this time, resulting in settlements being established on plateaus, near major rivers and springs.
It was some of the earlist forms of log buildings and cabins. Their dwellings were built by placing vertical poles in the form of circles or ovals. It incorporated log floors covered in clay, and wattle-and-daub walls. That were woven from pliable branches and covered with clay. They also had stone and clay ovens for cooking, staring warm and making pottery/figurines. As the population in this area grew, more land was put under cultivation. Hunting supplemented the practice of animal husbandry and domestication of livestock.

Late period (3500–3000 BCE)
During the late period, territory expanded to include the Volyn region in northwest Ukraine (map). The Sluch and Horyn Rivers and along banks of the Dnieper river near Kyiv. It was also in this period, that members of the culture came into contact with other cultures. Along the Black sea. Animal husbandry increased in importance, as hunting diminished. Horses became more important. Outlying communities were established on the Don and Volga rivers in present-day Russia. Dwellings were constructed differently from previous periods, and a new rope-like design replaced the older spiral-patterned designs on the pottery.

Kilns became more advanced. A controlled atmosphere was used. They had two separate chambers—the combustion chamber and the filling chamber— separated by a grate. Temperatures in the combustion chamber could reach 1000–1100 °C but it could usually maintain a temperarture around 900 °C better. A larger number of Bronze Age artifacts were found as the end of the culture drew near.

Sociology and Economy the development of trade, interaction with other cultures and the apparent use of barter tokens
During this period begin the creation of occupational specialization. The state and social classes of individuals. There were an elite ruling or religious classes, full-time warriors and wealthy merchants. Though others may have been sick, poor, enslaved or hungry.
The society was likely egalitarian (believing people are equality and deserve equal rights and opportunities). They practiced a mixed subsistence economy, which involved farming, animal husbandry, hunting, and gathering.
Every household had members who would work in the fields, go to the woods to hunt game and bring back firewood. Some would even work by the river to bring back clay or fish. All of the duties needed to survive.
They shared common features with other neolithic societies, including: the Dniester landscape in Ternopil; and Oblast, in western Ukraine. An almost nonexistent social stratification took place. There economy was rudimentary, and most likely a subsistence or a gift economy. The people were hardworking pastoralists, and subsistence farmers.

majority of their diet consisted of cereal grains. Club wheat, oats, rye, proso millet, barley and hemp. Much was probably ground and baked as unleavened bread in clay ovens or on heated stones. They also grew peas and beans, apricot, cherry plum and wine grapes. There is evidence that they may have kept bees.
Domesticated livestock consisted primarily of cattle, but included smaller numbers of pigs, sheep and goats. Ox ox was employed as a draft animal based on surviving artistic evidence.

Salt and preserving seasoning
The earliest known salt works in the world is at Poiana Slatinei, near the village of Lunca in Vânători-Neamţ, Romania. It was first used in the early Neolithic, around 6050 BC, by the Starčevo culture, and later by the Typolyes. They extracted salt from salt-laden spring-water through the process of briquetage (evaporating the spring water, and scraping the salt out).
Did you know? Giving the cattle salt increased there milk production.

Technology and material culture
Known by its distinctive settlements. The cultures architecture, intricately decorated pottery and anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines. All became well known. It is believed that, at its peak was one of the most technologically advanced societies for its time. Developing new techniques for ceramic production, housing, building, agriculture and woven textiles (although these have not survived and are known indirectly).

featuring intricate geometric patterns, vibrant colors, swirling patterns and intricate designs. Common during the neolithic age. The plasticity method of pottery was used. Where the vessel was shaped by hand and decorated before firing. To first form the base. Clay were placed in circles. Then the walls of the vessel could be made. Once the desired shape and size was determined. It could be smoothed out.
There is also evidence of a slow-turning potter’s wheel.

Colours used to decorate pottery were limited to a rusty-red and white. Later, potters added additional colours to their products and experimented with more advanced ceramic techniques.
Pigments used to decorate ceramics were based on iron oxide for red hues; calcium carbonate, iron magnetite and manganese Jacobsite ores for black; and, calcium silicate for white. The black pigment, which was introduced during the later period of the culture, was rare. Lacobeni in Romania, was a source for the iron magnetite ore; and, in Ukraine, Nikopol for manganese Jacobsite ore.
In addition to mineral sources, pigments derived from organic materials (including bone and wood) were used to create various colours.

Ceramic figurines
Mid 19th century, ‘cucuteni frumusica dance’ was found in Romania.

It was hailed as a symbolic masterpiece of the culture.
Other figurines, such as stiff nudes. May have represented death. Since there white colour is associated with decomposition and bone.

Impressions of textiles are found on pottery sherds (because the clay was placed there before it was fired). Even though no textiles have been physically found. It does show that woven fabrics were common in the society. To catch their game. As well as use various weapons. Like the bow and arrows, spear and clubs. It is believed they sometimes disguised themselves with camouflage. Remains of species included red deer, roe deer, aurochs, wild boar, fox and brown bear are found throughout.
Finds of ceramic weights with drilled holes suggest that these were manufactured with a warp-weighted loom.
Other pottery sherds with textile impressions, found at Frumușica and Cucuteni, suggest that textiles were also knitted (specifically using a technique known as nalbinding).

Weapons and tools
Tools were made from knapped from stone, organic materials (bone, antler and horn), and in the later period, copper. Local Miorcani flint was the most common material but others were used. Including chert, jasper and obsidian. A toy model, and cup on 4 wheels was found. From around 6000 years ago, implying they may have had wagons.

Ritual and religion
Some of the communities contained a building located in the center of the settlement. Archaeologists identify these sacred sanctuaries. Inside these sanctuaries, were clay figurines or statues. These fetishes or totems. Were believed to of helped protect people who looked after them. Popular were goddesses. But it didn’t represent all of the figurines since many have been found.
One archaeologist believes a typical Tripolye clay “goddess” fetish ceramic model was matriarchal and not warlke. And, that the people worshiped a earthy, mother godesses. Before they were wiped out by indo european tribes who worshiped a more warlike, sky god.

Noteby from the Balkans. Copper begin trading around 5000 years ago. The Tripolyes culture began to acquire the necessary metallurgy skills. This marked the transition from the Neolithic to the Eneolithic, also known as the Chalcolithic or Copper Age.

War, religion and climate change
The decline of the Cucuteni-Trypillian culture is not entirely clear, but it is believed to have been a result of a combination of factors. Including environmental changes, population pressures, and conflicts with other cultures. The culture gradually disintegrated around 2750 BC, and eventually diminished.

The Cucuteni-Trypillian culture left behind a rich archaeological legacy, with numerous artifacts, settlements, and burial sites. It provides valuable insights into the social, economic, and artistic practices of one of the most sophisticated Neolithic cultures in Europe. With some of the most advanced techniques in ceramic production, house building, agriculture and producing woven textiles. For its time.


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Müller, Johannes; Rassmann, Knut; Videiko, Mykhailo (2016). Trypillia Mega-Sites and European Prehistory: 4100–3400 BCE ( Taylor & Francis. p. 347. ISBN 978-1-317-24791-3.

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Collins, Gloria. “Will the “Great Goddess” resurface?: Reflections in Neolithic Europe” ( Austin, Texas: University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original (

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