Bronz timpuriu (Post-Coţofeni)

Besenstrich and textile decoration horizon

Chronology: EBA III

Distribution: Banat, Oltenia (Gornea-Orleşti), west Transylvania (Iernut), east Transylvania (Zoltan), Muntenia (Tei, Bungetu phase)

Between the groups of the early Bronze Age II and the groups of the middle Bronze Age (Corneşti-Crvenka, Verbicioara, Tei, Ciomortan, Wietenberg), we find a horizon in the Banat, in Oltenia, west Muntenia and Transylvania which is characterized solely by a decoration made up of commonly occuring Besenstrich (”broom swipe”), honeycombe and textile impressions on pottery (Cavruc 1997, 97). This horizon is called Gornea-Orleşti (parallel to Gornea-Vodneac) in the Banat and in Oltenia and Iernut in west Transylvania according to characteristic locations (distribution: Ciugudean 1998, map 3). In east Transylvania, single finds and the finds from Zoltan belong to this horizon. In Muntenia, the Bungetu phase of the Tei culture (which is refuted by Leahu) can be attributed (Chicideanu 1977; Roman 1986, 31; Leahu 1992; Cavruc 1997, 97). The existence of this horizon in Muntenia is still discussed (Schuster 1998, 28f.).

The state of our sources for the Besenstrich horizon is exceptionally bad. This is true for Iernut (Ciugudean 1997 and 1998; Popa 1998) as well as for Gornea-Orleşti (cf. e. g. Petre-Govora 1988). Research enabling us to find out more about settlement structures were only conducted in the Banat (Gogâltan 1995, 58). A description of the treatment of the dead cannot be achieved due to the lack of graves; the highly fragmented pottery makes it difficult to classify the vessels. The only typical elements are the Besenstrich decoration and textile impressions. Wholly preserved vessels are extremely rare (e. g. Foeni – “Cimitirul ortodox” (Gogâltan 1995, 68 fig. 5,1-3)). The fragments also show incisions, impressions and applied decorations as well as an increase of pedestalled forms. Our knowledge of other finds corresponds to what we know about the pottery. However, the typical early Bronze Age repertoire seems to exist. In Zoltan, e. g., several clay axes, a zoomorphic figurine and a wheel model were found (Cavruc 1997, 115 fig. 5). In Foeni, a big pyramidal loom-weight and “Glutdeckel” point to the cultures of the middle Bronze Age (Gogâltan 1995, 73 fig. 10,7-8).

In terms of stratigraphy, the horizon is at least secure in respect to younger cultures which supports its otherwise debatable separation. In Zoltan it is superimposed by a layer containing Ciomortan elements dating to the earliest middle Bronze Age (Cavruc 1997). Moreover, pottery fragments decorated with small triangular impressions were found there. They remind us of the second phase of the Nir culture (ibid., 125 fig. 15,7). Further stratified finds which would enable us to place the group in relation to other early Bronze Age cultures do not exist in the centre region. Especially important is, however, the stratigraphy from Ostrovul Corbului. Here, the Gornea-Orleşti horizon, about 40-70 cm thick and existent throughout the sector B, does not superimpose a Glina layer but a layer containing cups with two handles. They are attributed to the Beba Veche-Pitvaros phase (early Mureş culture) according to Roman and, following him, Gogâltan. Later, however, Roman attributed them to the phase Vecina-Bubanj III. The Gornea-Orleşti layer is superimposed by a middle Bronze Age layer resembling the finds from the Visag-laz type (Gogâltan 1995, 58ff.; Gogâltan 1996; Gogâltan 1999a, 382; Roman 1988; Roman 1996, 55ff. and 63f.).

With the pottery’s main features mentioned above, Ciugudean postulates two phases for Iernut: an older phase where pottery is decorated with irregular Besenstrich and without textile impressions; and a younger phase with textile impressions and a finer Besenstrich (Ciugudean 1997, 10). A similar division into two phases (BT IIIa and IIIb) was created by Popa (Popa 1998, 85). In Foeni in the Banat, two settlement layers can be discerned, and actually even elsewhere there are noticeable differences in the find material of the locations; this might be due to a regional – and maybe chronological – grouping (Gogâltan 1995, 57f.). Gumă classifies this material into two phases – Foeni-Ocnele-Mari and Gornea Orleşti – (Gumă 1997), which is parallel to Gogâltan’s phases BT IIIa and BT IIIb (Gogâltan 1999a, 382). This whole chronological discussion about the Besenstrich decoration was questioned lately by Rotea, if only for the begin of the Wietenberg culture (Rotea 2000, 31).

Because of the decoration of the vessels, the Besenstrich groups can be compared firstly with the early Bronze Age cultures of east Hungary: Nagyrév, Nyírseg and, above all, Hatvan. The distribution of the characteristics supposedly resulted from the west to the east (Ciugudean 1997, 10; Gogâltan 1999a, 382) which should be visible from the confinement of the textile impression to west Romania (Popa 1998, 55 fig. 2). In the east, the horizon is related chronologically to the Năeni-Odaia-Turcului group, for it succeeds likewise the Glina group and can be attributed to the same inter-regional context concerning the find material (Băjenaru 1996). In west Transylvania the Iernut horizon is succeeded immediately by the second phase of the Wietenberg culture (Ciugudean 1998), in east Transylvania it is succeeded first by the Ciomortan group (Székely 1997). In Muntenia and Oltenia, the horizon is anyway associated with the oldest phases of the Tei and Verbicioara cultures (Cavruc 1997, 97; Gogâltan 1995, 58); they represent the chronological successors. In the Banat, the Besenstrich groups are succeeded by the Corneşti-Crvenka group of the Vatin culture or – according to Serbian researchers – the Verbicioara culture (Gogâltan 1999 and 1999a).

© 2007-2009 Matthias Thomas
translated by Valeska Becker
How to copy texts: Impressum.

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