Gumelnița–Karanovo culture

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Gumelnița–Karanovo culture
The Gumelniţa–Karanovo VI culture is Neolithic (5th millennium BC) culture named after the Gumelniţa site on the left (Romanian) bank of the Danube.
PeriodNeolithic Europe
Datesc. 4700 BC – c. 3950 BC
Preceded byStarčevo culture

The Gumelniţa–Karanovo VI culture was a Neolithic culture of the 5th millennium BC, named after the Gumelniţa site on the left (Romanian) bank of the Danube.


The enthroned "Lady of Pazardžik" of the Karanovo VI culture (c. 4500 BC)
Ceramic container cover
Modern reproduction of Gumelnita ceramics

At its full extent the culture extended along the Black Sea coast to central Bulgaria and into Thrace. The aggregate "Kodjadermen-Gumelnita-Karanovo VI" evolved out of the earlier Boian, Marita and Karanovo V cultures. In the East it was supplanted by Cernavodă I in the early 4th millennium BC.


One of the most flourishing civilizations from the last half of the 5th millenium [sic] BC is (next to the Ariuşd Cucuteni – Tripolie complex) Gumelniţa Culture... absolute chronology, still under discussion, according to the latest calibrated data, assigns this culture (as mentioned above) to the limits of the last half of the 5th millenium [sic] BC and maybe to early 4th millenium [sic] BC.

—Silvia Marinescu-Bîlcu, "Gumelniţa Culture"[1]

This matches exactly the view of Blagoje Govedarica (2004).[2]

The first periodization of Gumelnita culture was suggested by VI. Dumitrescu who split the civilization of Gumelniţa into two phases: A and B. Later on, Dinu V. Rosetti divided the civilization into Al, A2 and B1, B2.[3]

Gumelniţa A[edit]

With a centric evolution from geographic point of view, the intensity of the cultural trends decreased from the center towards peripheral area. Having a strong Boian background at the origins, mixed with Maritza elements, the Gumelnita culture lasted short of a millennium from the beginning of Chalcolithic to the start of the fourth millennium BC.[1]

Gumelniţa A1[edit]

4700-4350[4] Gumelnita-Karanovo VI-Kodjadermen is also aggregated with Varna culture, still are debates along historians considering the distinctive character of Varna culture.

Gumelniţa A2[edit]

4500-3950[4] The regional characteristics of A1 phase are diminished, and a more uniform characteristics is identified in discovered artifacts.

Gumelniţa B[edit]


Gumelnita Culture [5] Adiacent Culture 1 Adiacent Culture 2 Adiacent Culture 3
Gumelniţa A1 Precucuteni 3 Cucuteni A1 – A2 Varna 1
Gumelniţa A2 Cucuteni A3 the beginning of the Cernavoda 1 culture

The evolution of the Gumelniţa-Kodjadermen-Karanovo VI is ended on the north bank of the Danube after the arrival of Cernavoda cultures population.

The layers at Karanovo are employed as a chronological system for Balkans prehistory.


The Gumelniţa is remarkable by the richness of its anthropomorphic and zoomorphic representations. Some consider the achievements of prehistoric craftsmen to be true masterpieces.

The representation from Gumelnița art differ by other cultures by the following:

  • statuettes morphology characterised by expressivity, gesture and attitude.
  • modelling technique
  • arms positions on the belly, stretched laterally, in the position of the "thinker"
  • sex representation
  • decoration pattern

Seashell ornament is relatively common. At least some of the shellfish used come from the Aegean regions, for example the spondylas and the dentals.

As evidence from archaeology, thousands of artifacts from Neolithic Europe have been discovered, mostly in the form of female figurines. As a result a goddess theory has occurred. The leading historian was Marija Gimbutas, still this interpretation is a subject of great controversy in archaeology due to her many inferences about the symbols on artifacts.[6]

The analysis of the finds uncovered by archaeological excavations revealed a few characteristics of the Gumelniţa objects of art, likely to lead to a few main trends of the spiritual life investigation.

Thus, the prevalence of a female character is clear, as it represents 34% of all the anthropomorphic representations. That might represent a deity, the term having a general significance, of worship, without being able to specify under the current stage of the researches which is the nature and status of this deity. The male representations are very few, about 1%, while about 10% are the asexual representations, therefore with no sign (breasts, sexual triangle) which might point to the sex of the statuette.
—Gumelniţa Anthropomorphic and Zoomorphic Objects of Art by Radian Romus Andreescu[7]

Technological developments[edit]

Gumelniţa culture has some sign of work specialisation:

...we do not have enough data on the internal organization of the community, but next to the dwellings themselves, arranged or not in a certain order, we encounter workshop-dwellings for processing lithic material, bones, horns, ornaments, statuettes, etc.).

—Gumelniţa Culture by Silvia Marinescu-Bîlcu

Danube Script[edit]

During the Middle Copper Age, the Danube script appears in three horizons: The Karanovo VI–Gumelniţa–Kodžadermen cultural complex (mainly in Bulgaria, but also in Romania), the Cucuteni A3-A4–Trypillya B (in Ukraine), and Coțofeni I (in Serbia). The first, rates 68.6% of the frequencies; the second, rates 24.2%; and the third, rates 7.6%.[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "A "Lost" Civilization: GUMELNIŢA". Retrieved 6 April 2016.
  2. ^ Blagoje Govedarica, Zepterträger - Herrscher der Steppen; Die frühen Ockergräber des älteren Äneolitikums im karpatenbalkanischen Gebiet und im Steppenraum Südost- u Osteuropas. Mainz: Zabern, 2004, in German
  4. ^ a b "Cultural Landscapes in the lower Danube area. Experimenting tell settlements" (PDF). Documenta Praehistorica. Dragos Gheorghiu Centre of Research: National University of Arts - Bucharest Romania. XXXV. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 6 April 2016. UDK 903.4(4-014)"631/634"
  5. ^ [1][dead link]
  6. ^ Collins, Gloria. "Will the "Great Goddess" resurface?: Reflections in Neolithic Europe". Austin, Texas: University of Texas at Austin. Archived from the original on 12 October 1999. Retrieved 1 December 2009This site was a student brief done for a class assignmentCS1 maint: postscript (link)
  7. ^ "A "Lost" Civilization: Gumelnita". Retrieved 6 April 2016.


  • Stefan Hiller, Vassil Nikolov (eds.), Karanovo III. Beiträge zum Neolithikum in Südosteuropa Österreichisch-Bulgarische Ausgrabungen und Forschungen in Karanovo, Band III, Vienna (2000), ISBN 3-901232-19-2.

External links[edit]