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Stratum plus. 2001-2002. №2

M. Szmyt (Poznań, Poland)

From studies on contacts of Globular Amphora and Late Tripolye cultures

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Pages: 246-259

1.    Relations between the Globular Amphora culture (GAC) and the Tripolye culture (TC) stage CII have most frequently been assessed on the basis on the appearance of material from the both cultures in the same sites, which has been regarded as confirmation that the two cultures were contemporary to one another (e.g. Passek 1949, Sveshnikov 1983).
2.    Only now we have possibilities to discuss the given problem on the basis of  the absolute chronology. A collaboration of Ukrainian and Polish archaeologists and a special research program (Klochko, Kośko, Szmyt 1999) gave us a rich series of radiocarbon dates for the both cultures. Including earlier radiocarbon analyses (Telegin 1985, Patokova et al. 1989, Wechler 1994) we have now a series of 46 dates concerning stage CII of the TC (Videiko 1999). A joint calibration of all the dates marks out the interval of 3240-2580 cal BC. For GAC assemblages (most frequently graves) from Volhynia and Podolia we have 12 dates. They mark out the interval of 2840-2480 cal BC. However it is more plausible to have it expanded to 3000/2950-2400/2350 cal BC (Szmyt 1999).
3.    A spatial analysis of the series of 14C datings point out, that settlement structures of the both cultures could exist contemporary, in particular in Podolia and probably in Volhynia.
4.    Despite this, there is no such spectacular evidence of the links between the GAC and the TC groups as there is of the contacts between the latter and the Funnel Beaker culture (e.g. Ścibior 1993, 1994). In the case of the TC, this evidence is limited principally to the application of the GAC motifs in the ceramic production, with the preservation of ‘Tripolye’ technological principles. Such fragments have been recorded in Gorodsk, Kasperivtsy (Gordinesti) and Sofievka groups (Movsha 1985, Kadrow, Kośko, Videiko 1995, Szmyt 1999, Videiko 2000). Within the GAC groups (eastern and central), the surest evidence of links with the TC one can also found in the ceramic production (a painted pottery).
5.    Some interesting features providing a link to the GAC can be found in the Steppe zone, in structures of the so-called Steppe Eneolithic. It must be said here, that there are no ‘autonomous’ GAC settlement, but some patterns (e.g. forms of vessels and graves) appear in the context of Steppe groups, especially Zhivotilovka-Volchansk group (Rassamakin 1996, 1999, Szmyt 1999). From my point of view, of primary importance is the nature of these groups. Heterogenous and changeable, they represented different cultures and taxa. On the one hand, in assemblages linked to the Zhivotilovka-Volchansk group, several components can be distinguished: Balkano-Danube, Late Tripolye, Steppe, Caucasian and Central European (Rassamakin 1996). On the other hand, it is difficult to find two identical configurations of traits within its range.
6.    I propose a hypothesis, that the Kasperivtsy (Gordinesti) group societies had already prior to 2900 cal BC begun to penetrate steppes and their activities were intensified by the entering of GAC populations into Podolia about 2900-2850 cal BC. These population movements included also small groups of GAC representatives. Thus, owing to the network of links between forest-steppe and steppe societies established earlier, ‘merged’ into moving heterogenous groups of people, representatives of the GAC could reach areas of the steppe distant from their oecumene. The question if their appearance in those areas became an impulse for the transformations that ended in the e.g. Kemi-Oba culture must remain an object of further study.

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