Lengyel culture

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Map of European Neolithic at the apogee of Danubian expansion, c. 3 500 BC.

The Lengyel culture, is an archaeological culture of the European Neolithic, centered on the Middle Danube in Central Europe. It flourished during the 5th and 4th millennia BC. The eponymous type site is at Lengyel in Tolna county, Hungary.

It was preceded by the Linear Pottery culture and succeeded by the Corded Ware culture. In its northern extent, overlapped the somewhat later but otherwise approximately contemporaneous Funnelbeaker culture. Also closely related are the Stroke-ornamented ware and Rössen cultures, adjacent to the north and west, respectively.

Subgroups of the Lengyel horizon include the Austrian/Moravian Painted Ware I and II, Aichbühl, Jordanów/Jordanov/Jordansmühl, Schussenried, Gatersleben, etc.

It is a wide interaction sphere or cultural horizon rather than an archaeological culture in the narrow sense. Its distribution overlaps with the Tisza culture and with Stroke-Ornamented Pottery (STK) as far north as Osłonki, central Poland.

Lengyel pottery was found in western Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Austria, Poland, and in the Sopot culture of the northern parts of Former Yugoslavia. Influence in pottery styles is found even further afield, in parts of Germany and Switzerland.

Agriculture and stock raising (mainly cattle, but also pigs, and to a lesser extent, ovicaprids) was practiced, though a large number of wild faunal remains have also been recovered. Settlements consisted of small houses as well as trapezoid longhouses. These settlements were sometimes open, sometimes surrounded by a defensive ditch.

Inhumation was in separate cemeteries, in the flexed position with apparently no preference for which side the deceased was laid out in.

Lengyel sites of the later period show signs of the use of copper in form of beads and hammered ribbons, marking the dawn of the Chalcholithic period in Europe.

It was associated with the cover-term Old Europe by Marija Gimbutas, though may have been undergone "kurganization" by the Proto-Indo-Europeans and become integrated into the successor Globular Amphora culture.

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