Bronz timpuriu (Post-Coţofeni)


Chronology: EBA II-III

Distribution: Oltenia, west Muntenia

The group was named after the tell Glina close to Bucharest after excavations were conducted by I. Nestor in 1926. It was recognized and defined as a new culture in the associated publication (cf. Băjenaru 1995, 185). In the course of researches, it was often combined with its northern neighbour, the Schneckenberg group, to one culture (cf. Schuster 1998, 26). The separation, however, has become accepted in Romanian research (ibid.). This is due to the fact that the existence of a separate Schneckenberg group is denied altogether by some archaeologists; the finds from the south-east Transylvanian regions are attributed to the Glina group or the newly discovered Năeni and Jigodin groups (Vulpe 1991; Băjenaru 2003). The name Glina III which is often used is due to the succession of the layers at the eponymous location where the third layer was noted as the early Bronze Age layer. Today, however, most researchers use the term Glina culture (Schuster 1995, 129). Cr. Schuster is especially important to mention for the research of the Glina group because of his numerous articles.

The Glina group is distributed in almost all of Wallachia (eastern border: Mostiştea), in parts of south-east Transylvania (still discussed, cf. above) and, in its younger phase, in parts of north Bulgaria (Schuster 1995, 129). In Wallachia alone, about 350 locations are known (Schuster/Morintz 2006, 43f.); however, only very few are excavated. Whether there are also finds from the Glina culture in the eastern Banat is uncertain. While M. Gumă argues for the existence of some Glina elements (Gumă 1997), Fl. Gogâltan argues against this (Gogâltan 1999a, 380).

R. Băjenaru attributes only one grave to the culture: the exceptional burial in the settlement of Căscioarele (Băjenaru 1995, 185) which, however, is not assigned to the Glina culture by Schuster (Schuster 2003, 112). In literature some other locations are attributed to the Glina culture (partly also in the Catalogue of Graves). These are graves which cannot be dated exactly due to heterogenous or missing characteristic grave goods; or locations where it is still discussed whether they belong to Glina, Schneckenberg, Năeni or Odaia-Turcului and whose cultural affiliation changes depending on the author. Good examples for this difficulty are the tumuli from Verbiţa. Although typical Glina pottery was found in them, some researchers tend to attribute them to the Yamnaya culture due to the find of a silver hair ring and the burial rites. We also have to mention that many graves that are lacking grave goods were attributed to the Glina or the Schneckenberg groups since both of them were known early on in research while other smaller early Bronze Age cultures were still unknown. According to Schuster who lists some of these graves, the only certain burial attributable to the Glina group is the inhumation of an individual in a crouched position lying on the left side from Bucureşti – “Fundeni Zidurii între Vii” (Schuster 2003, 112ff.). Strictly spoken, however, there is not a single certain Glina grave (Schuster/Morintz 2006, 44ff.).

Among the more than 300 locations are about 130 settlements which lie always close to rivers or lakes (also on islands). Nearly all of them are located on elevations, i. e. terraces or hills and also abandoned tells. Furthermore, there are also hill settlements (Schuster 1995, 131). Fortifications are hardly ever recorded (Băjenaru 1995); they are known, e. g., from Odaia Turcului, Crivăţ or Orbeasca de Sus (Schuster 2000, 365f.). Schuster notices an increasing shifting during the chronological development and with it, an expansion of the culture to the west (Schuster 1995, 130). The inner classification of the settlements is hardly researched, but everything points to small villages with few houses standing close together. These houses can be subdivided into two types: with or without a dug-out pit under the house. Inside all houses, tools, pottery fragments and animal bones (also shells and snail shells) were found. The composition of the animal bones (especially gregarious animals; dog bones) and the small size of the settlements point to a stockbreeding way of life (Schuster 2000, 362) and to a “aussergewöhnliche Mobilität der Glina-Gemeinschaften” (Schuster 2003, 113).

The pottery can be divided into a dark fine ware which is almost always undecorated (bowls and little jugs) and a coarse ware which occurs more often. This latter ware is coloured unevenly in gray to red and the clay is grogged with gravel and crushed pottery fragments. The vessels are mostly large and decorated with knobs and horizontal applied bands at the rim. A special type we have to mention consists of Runcuri type pottery decorated with white encrusted motifs. With it we can identify cultural relations with Transylvania (esp. Jigodin) and the Carpathian Basin (Vučedol ff.; Băjenaru 2003a). Copper artefacts are represented by flat axes (and also their moulds) and Dumbrăvioara and Veselinovo type axes with shaft holes. Furthermore we find small tools (awls et cetera) and one dagger which supposedly points to south-eastern influences. Typical early Bronze Age finds are also arrow heads with a concave base, zoomorphic figurines, clay axes, wheel models and curved knives. Especially important due to the frequency of the types in the successive middle Bronze Age cultures are a portable hearth from Căscioarele, clay lids and quite a few clay cart models (Schuster 1996, 117). Good tables of these types can be found in P. Roman’s book (Roman 1976). However, many of the types have been dealt with separately in the course of time, e. g. the stone tools or the figurines (Schuster 1998a und 1998b). An inner classification of the culture is elusive due to the uniformity of the material. Still the culture was subdivided into four phases (Schuster 1995, 129). The existing vertical stratigraphies, e. g. in Odaia Turcului (jud. Dâmboviţa), Năeni-Zănoaga (jud. Buzău), Ostrovul Corbului (jud. Mehedinţi), Braneţ (jud. Olt) or Verbicioara (jud. Dolj) are of no real help in this respect (Băjenaru 2003a, 15); however, they do help with an extern chronological classification. In Braneţ, three Glina layers are lying over two Coţofeni culture layers (Băjenaru 2003, 141 rem. 3); in Verbicioara, one Glina layer is located between layers of the Coţofeni and the Verbicioara culture (Tasić 1984, 84). Especially important are the stratigraphies in Năeni and Odaia Turcului. With these, the Năeni resp. Odaia-Turcului-Gruppe could be defined.

We assume that the Glina group whose origin is still unknown but is connected with Cernavodă II might have emerged in Muntenia. In this context, the finds connected to the Zimnicea-Mlăjet type which are foreigners in the Coţofeni regions seem to play a certain role. From Muntenia the group spreads to the west, into the Coţofeni area which supposedly is connected to influences by the direct eastern neighbour, the Yamnaya culture (Schuster 2000). This shift to the west leads to a longer development of the Coţofeni culture in the west, in Transylvania as well as in Wallachia, where it is succeeded quickly, even before the emergence of the Glina culture, by the Zimnicea-Mlăjet and the Zăbala groups. Due to this contemporaneousness of younger Coţofeni periods in the west with older Glina phases in the east, Coţofeni III pottery fragments in Glina find ensembles are stratigraphically no problem. R. Băjenaru argues againts this classical sequence since he refutes a contemporaneousness of Glina and Coţofeni (Băjenaru 2003a, 17).

It is still unknown whether Zăbala is succeded by Schneckenberg A or by Glina in south-east Transylvania. However, we can assume that the oldest Glina finds (Glina I) are older than Schneckenberg A (Schuster 2000, 361). This is still being discussed and closely connected to the Năeni-Odaia-Turcului question. Vulpe und Băjenaru who question the existence of the Schneckenberg group identify the Schneckenberg A finds with Glina (Vulpe 1991 and 2001, 423) and place the whole Glina culture in Muntenia chronologically before the Năeni-(=Schneckenberg-B)-Odaia-Turcului-group (Băjenaru 1995, 186 and 2003) because of the stratigraphy in Odaia Turcului. In Oltenia, however, the Glina culture is succeeded even before the begin of the middle Bronze Age (which is represented by the Verbicioara culture) by the “textile and Besenstrich horizon”, i.e. the Gornea-Orleşti group (=Gornea-Vodneac), of the early Bronze Age III.

Since the Glina group is the best researched culture in the Romanian early Bronze Age, it is used often for comparisons with other cultures and embedded into the south-east European cultural network comprised of the Pontic steppe, Anatolia, the Aegean and the Carpathian Basin. Still, when we deal with the Glina group we have to ask how far we can go with such comparisons, regarding the state of research. In terms of absolute chronology, the Glina group can be dated to in between 2650 and 2400 BC, but these dates are gained from comparisons with other cultures (Băjenaru 1998a).

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

Back to top