Bronz timpuriu (Post-Coţofeni)


Chronology: EBA I-II

Distribution: south-east Transylvania

The Schneckenberg group was defined earliest among early Bronze Age cultures in Romania; it was even covered in a monograph. The name derives from the settlement of Braşov – “Dealul Melcilor” (German: Schneckenberg) (Prox 1941). Often it is mentioned in one breath with the Glina (III) group. This association is, however, more and more doubted in modern research (cf. Schuster 1998, 26). Some researchers even question the existence of the Schneckenberg group altogether (Vulpe 1991; Băjenaru 2003). A while ago, the formerly western facies was separated from the Schneckenberg group (Ciugudean 1997, 7).

The settlements belonging to the group are all located in hilly places, however, up to now only one house was excavated. It was built directly on the rock which was levelled with clay and limestone blocks prior to the construction (Cuciulata). Indeed also in Sf. Gheorghe – “Őrkő”, some rectangular houses with a clay floor were excavated (Székely 1997, 37ff.) but the settlement belongs to the phase Schneckenberg B. It is still discussed whether this phase does not actually belong to the Năeni group (Ciugudean 1997, 8). The people of the Schneckenberg group buried their dead in stone crates where they were laid down in a crouched position, equipped with vessels. Examples for typical stone crates are the graves from Mediaş (Blăjan 1989), although they are located in the Târnava-Mică valley and therefore at the western periphery of the distribution, where Schneckenberg mixes with late Coţofeni (Ciugudean 1995, 143).

The pottery is made up mostly of jugs, bowls with a funnel-shaped rim and amphora-shaped vessels. The decoration consists mainly of knobs (pressed out from the inside) and applied bands but also, in the younger phase, of incised lines and single cord impressions. Especially worth mentioning in terms of frequency in the Carpathian middle Bronze Age is the model of a cart found in Cuciulata (Petrescu-Dîmboviţa 1974, 279 fig. 2,2). Typical representatives for the stone and flint industry are, beside axes, arrow heads with a concave base and curved knives. Simpler tools such as awls were made from bone while animal teeth and shells were used for making jewellery. Among the few metal objects, we find daggers, needles and axes with a shaft-hole (type Dumbrăvioara) which were partly made already from tin bronze.

In terms of the chronological placement of the Schneckenberg group, various theories exist which are all closely connected to the relations to the Wallachian Glina group. After the old classification into three phases was abandonded after the excavations in Cuciulata (Ciugudean 1995, 144), the group is subdivided into two phases today (e. g. Machnik 1985; Roman 1986). The older phase A is said to be contemporary to Coţofeni II-III and Glina II, dating to the early Bronze Age Ib-c and succeeding the Zăbala group (Schuster 1998, 26). Phase B was synchronised with Glina III by Roman and placed into the early Bronze Age II. Székely confirms this approach and sees Schneckenberg B as parallel with Jigodin and Coţofeni III, but places the group in whole before the older Monteoru culture, due to the stratigraphy in Odaia Turcului (Székely 2002). The parallels to Coţofeni result from the fact that the Coţofeni culture ends with phase I only in south-east Transylvania and Muntenia. In the west, the following phases are contemporaneous with Zimnicea-Mlăjet finds, Zăbala and Schneckenberg. The Schneckenberg group is furthermore said to spread to the west, like the Glina group, where it superimposes the Coţofeni culture (Machnik 1985). This is supposedly recognizable with the appearance of the central Transylvanian stone crate graves (Roman 1986, 55). Schneckenberg is succeeded by the Besenstrichhorizont, marked by the finds from Zoltan (Cavruc 1997).

According to this chronological classification and according to Schuster, Glina people penetrated into the Burzenland and are hence responsible for the genesis of the Schneckenberg group, whereas Schneckenberg expansions to the south led to the formation of the Năeni group (Schuster 1998, 26f.). Ever since the excavation of the grave from Sânmartin-Ciuc, the Kugelamphoren (globular amphorae) culture is also named in connection with the genesis of the Schneckenberg culture (Székely 2002). The border between Glina and Schneckenberg would be well-defined (Schuster 1998, 26f.) and Schneckenberg B would be contemporaneous with Năeni (Székely 2002). H. Ciugudean follows Roman’s chronology, like Schuster and Székely (Ciugudean 1998 and 2000). However, he makes the case that maybe a large part of the Schneckenberg group was younger than formerly supposed (Ciugudean 1997, 8) and that maybe it could still be classified into three phases (Ciugudean 1995, 144). A. Vulpe and R. Băjenaru go even further. They deny the existence of an independent Schneckenberg group altogether after the discovery of finds from the Năeni and Odaia Turcului types (Vulpe 1991; Băjenaru 1998 and 2003) because all Schneckenberg locations, in themselves problematic in terms of a critical assessment of the sources, contain either Năeni-, Glina- or Jigodin materials. Vulpe now only uses the mixed term Năeni-Schneckenberg B, meaning those finds that succeed the Glina group (= Schneckenberg A) in south-east Transylvania (Vulpe 2001, 423).

According to the open questions concerning the inner classifications in terms of space, time and chronology, the synchronization with other cultures (Monteoru, Kostolac, Vučedol, Makó, Somogyvár-Vinkovci, Ezero, Nova Zagora, Troy, EH et cetera) varies quite a lot, depending on the different authors. Without answering all the intern questions, we cannot attempt such synchronizations until the state of research has profoundly improved.

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

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