Bronz timpuriu (Post-Coţofeni)


Chronology: EBA I

Distribution: Muntenia

The Zimnicea-Mlăjet group was named after the cemetery of Zimnicea, jud. Teleorman, and the burials from Mlăjet, jud. Buzău. According to Roman’s chronology, it is the oldest early Bronze Age culture of Romania (Roman 1986). Commonly the finds are not combined to a real cultural group although this would be possible and in fact this was done with similarly poorly represented groups like Zăbala (cf. e. g. Schuster 2003). In literature the finds are often referred to as type Zimnicea-Mlăjet-Sânzieni-Turia.

The finds are distributed only in Muntenia (Motzoi-Chicideanu/Olteanu 2000, 25 fig. 10) and neighbouring north Bulgaria (Schuster 2003, 109). All locations are made up of graves, the eponymous place Zimnicea is even a large cemetery with inhumations, which is highly unusual in the early Bronze Age (Alexandrescu 1974).

Correspondingly the treatment of the dead is relatively well-known. The dead were laid on their right sides in a crouched position, their heads to the west or south. They were placed in single graves dug into the soil with hardly any exceptions. Often the graves were covered with stone slabs. Exceptions to these rules are individuals lying on the left side in a crouched position, graves with two individuals in one grave pit and also some tumuli (e.g. in Tărnava), even maybe cremation burials (e. g. in Galiče). Anthropological analyses conducted in Zimnicea showed an average lifespan of 28 years (Schuster 2003, 109f.). The grave goods – and with them the whole spektrum of the Zimnicea-Mlăjet group – consist of pottery (askoi, amphorae, hanging vessels, jugs and bowls) and jewellery. The most important representatives of this last category are hair rings from the Zimnicea type whose origin is supposed to be located in the south. They can be found all over south-east Europe between east Ukraine and east Hungary (Motzoi-Chicideanu/Olteanu 2000). Lumps of ochre are also common, a piece of flint and a bone awl are single finds (Alexandrescu 1974, 83). Whether a stone axe found on the area of the Zimnicea cemetery belongs to the culture is uncertain (ibid., 92).

In terms of chronology the group dates to the beginning of the early Bronze Age, which is also underlined by connections with pottery to Cernavodă II, Coţofeni and Ezerovo II (Roman 1986, 30 and Schuster 2003, 110). Since there are graves that can be interpreted by means of vertical stratigraphies, an inner classification of the culture should be possible, however, it has not been conducted up to today. Due to the lack of settlements, the finds of the Zimnicea-Mlăjet group are seen as an expression of a mobile, non-sedentary population whose ethnic heterogenity can be assumed because of the disparate treatment of the dead (ibid.). The Zăbala group is viewed as a result of the group’s expansion to south-east Transylvania – because of orebodies in this area (Székely 2002). In Muntenia, the Glina group succeeds the Zimnicea-Mlăjet group.

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

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