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Added December 15, 1999. Updated January 11, 2009, 19:14 hours.

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The Lengyel Culture Sphere

 

Version 2.20

 

By

Maximilian O. Baldia

(Copy Right © 1992-January 11, 2009. All rights reserved)

 

 


List of Figures

Map of Europe

Map of North and part of Central Europe

Location of the Lengyel type-site

The Lengyel site distribution

Graph of C14 dates

Enclosure/Rondel

Lengyel painted pottery from Poland  

Burial clusters

 


Introduction

The purpose of this text is to provide a general overview of the culture and is intended as a resource for students and teachers of European Archaeology.

Location

The type-site is located in the town of Lengyel in Tolna county, Hungary. Between 1882 and 1888 the cleric Mór Wosinsky excavated a large number of artifacts, primarily from 90 graves  found in the vicinity of the  Lengyel enclosure. Based on the recovered pottery, Oswald Menghin of the University of Vienna introduced the term Lengyel culture in the 1920’s.[1]

Lengyel is really a widespread interaction sphere, rather than a narrowly defined unified culture. The interaction sphere is centered about the western Central European part of the Danube River, with all its tributaries. The Lengyel distribution overlaps with the Tisza culture and the Stroke-Ornamented Pottery (STK). Lengyel pottery occurs in western Hungary, the Czech and Slovak Republics, Austria, Poland and some parts of the former Yugoslavia. For the last mentioned region, the Sopot culture should be included in the Lengyel interaction sphere. Lengyel pottery style similarities even appear in parts of Germany and Switzerland. Subgroups are the Austrian/Moravian Painted Ware I, Austrian/Moravian Painted Ware II, Aichbühl, Jordanów/Jordanov/Jordansmühl, Schussenried, Gatersleben,  etc.

Chronology

The poor state of dating of eastern Central European prehistoric assemblages results in questionable dating of Lengyel. The few dates available to me indicate that many of them are useless, because their standard deviation often ranges from ±150 to ±300 uncalibrated radiocarbon years. Furthermore, even in a single site, the dates can have an extremely broad range. The problem is illustrated at the site of Oslonski in Poland. There the pooled probability graph of twenty-four C14 dates  suggests a range from ca. 4900 to 3400 cal BC (Grygiel, Ryszard and Bogucki 1997 Fig. 8).

 

Calibration of the better Lengyel 14C dates currently available to me, imply that Lengyel becomes recognizable around 5000 cal BC. Its demise occurs between around 4000 cal BC. This is roughly in agreement with the Stadler’s analysis of 68 dates ranging of 4900-4300 cal BC[2] and the Austrian Late or Epi-Lenyel dates of 4250-3950 cal BC.[3]

 

The end of Lengyel is perhaps most problematical. Ulrich Fischer (personal communication) questions the late end of Lengyel as proposed by Midgley, who lists four dates, suggesting contact between Brześć Kujawski group and the East Group of the Funnel Beaker culture, between 4300-3750 BC (Midgley 1992:501).[4] However, a late dating is supported by several other Polish archeologists, e.g. Jankowska, who following L. Czerniak, suggests 3800-3600 BC for the Late Brześć Kujawski Lengyel (Jankowska 1999?). M. Šmíd also supports a coexistence of Late Lengyel and Early Funnel Beaker culture/Baalberge pottery, based on excavations in Central Moravia, Czech Republic.

 

In my opinion, it is likely that a transitional phase exists that leads from Lengyel to the TRB South Group around 4000 cal BC. I attribute the dating problem not only to difficulties in the existing pottery typology (cf. Jankowska 1999?), but also to climatic conditions and consequent stratigraphic problems, as well as concomitant wiggles in the radiocarbon curve. A close examination of the microstratigraphy and the careful collection of context specific, independently datable material is need. 

Economy

In general, Lengyel continued the agricultural practices of the LBK, but some sites indicate a greater reliance on hunting (cf. Milisauskas 1978:142). I believe, that this may be the result of a relatively rapid drop in temperature after the LBK and should be especially noticeable after perhaps 4700 cal. BC (Baldia in prep.).

For Lower Austria, the evolution of Neolithic cultures and their relationships, including long distance trade, are outlined in Ruttkay 1983 (cf. Höckmann 1984).

Pottery

Some of the early Lengyel pottery is painted. However utilitarian pots and later Lengyel ceramics are not painted.

 

In Poland, Lengyel pottery was generally made from clay tempered with fine-grained sand. The rather thick walls ..., with a matte, easily rubbed (slightly burnished?) surface, often show signs of ... (poor firing), as variegated spots have been left (Kulczycka-Leciejewiczowa 1970:62). The Lengyel mixes with the STK culture, which also developed from the LBK (ibid.). The Samborzec Group of the upper Vistula River, which has strong LBK roots, “gradually” abandoned the STK ornaments in favor of the shapes and ornamentation of the Lengyel and Tisza types (Kulczycka-Leciejewiczowa 1970:71). Lengyel settlements of the Upper Oderpassed on their cultural heritage to the local groups that emerged here - the Ocice group and ... the Jordanów group.” On the Middle and Upper Oder, the Góra group developed. In Kujavia and Pałuki the Brześć Kujawski groups crystallized.

 

To the south, the Austrian/Moravian Painted Ware is a regional variant of Lengyel painted pottery. It is thought to arrive this region from farther east around 4700 cal BC. However, Austrian dates are among the oldest, suggesting a concomitant beginning throughout the Lengyel around 5000 cal. BC.

 

To the west, i.e. in southern Central Germany, similarities between Lengyel and local pottery are detectable in Gatersleben and early Jordnsmühl/Jordanów pottery of the later Lengyel. In southern Germany and northeastern Switzerland similarities are reported after 4300 cal BC. The similarities are found in Mönchshöfen, Aichbühl, and early Pfyn pottery (cf. Hafner and Suter 2001 Fig. 8).  Again, I attribute these changes to increased human interaction, related to climatic changes.

Houses

The longhouses are derived from the LBK. Not surprisingly, the architecture is similar throughout the former LBK area, which is occupied not only by Lengyel, but also by the Hinkelstein, STK, Rössen etc.. The new architecture abandons the triple segmentation of the LBK houses and there is a change from a primarily rectangular to a primarily trapezoidal floor plan.  Some houses have a porch-like extension at the wider or distal end. The Lengyel houses are of sturdy construction, that appears to use deeper bedding trenches for the posts. This may mean the need for stronger construction (cf. Bogucki 1988:67:68). In my opinion, the changes in architecture may be a technological adaptation to the sudden decline in climatic conditions following the warm period that ended with the demise of the LBK. I suspect that the longhouses are replaced by smaller rectangular houses by ca. 4300/4200 cal BC (Baldia in press).

Enclosures

Enclosures, known as “rondels,” are surrounded by one or more circular ditches with causeways, as exemplified by the two earthworks at Falkenstein, Austria. Most of the circular to oval ditches enclosures are documented in the Austria, Czech Republic, Hungary and the Slovak Republic. However, at least one irregular rectilinear enclosures is reported from Moravia, Czech Republic (Podborský et al. 1993:135 Fig. 77). The entrances or causeways into the rondels are thought to have celestial orientations Pásztor et al. 2008.

 

Table 1. Lengyel Rondels

 

Altruppersdorf

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Falkensten

Austria

Lenneis et al 1995

Friebritz 1

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Gauderndorf

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Glaubendorf 2

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Gnadendorf

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Hornsburg (2)

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Hornsburg (3)

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Immendorf

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Kamegg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Karnabrunn

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Kleinrötz

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Michelstetten

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Moosbierbaum

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Mühlbach am Manhartsberg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Oberthern

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Ölkam

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Plank am Kamp

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Porrau

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Pranhartsberg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Pranhartsberg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Puch

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Rosenburg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Schletz

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Simonsfeld

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Steinabrunn

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Stiefern

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Strögen

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Velm

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Würnitz-Hornsburg

Austria

Pásztor et al. 2008

Bylany

Czech Republic, Bohemia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Lochenice

Czech Republic, Bohemia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Bĕhařovice

Czech Republic, Moravia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Tešĕtice-Kyjovice

Czech Republic, Moravia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Vedrovice

Czech Republic, Moravia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Nĕmčičky

Czech Republic, Moravia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Rašovice

Czech Republic, Moravia

Pásztor et al. 2008

Nagykanizsa- Palin

Hungary

Pásztor et al. 2008

Hungary

Pásztor et al. 2008

Sormás-Törökföldek

Hungary

Pásztor et al. 2008

Sormás-Törökföldek II

Hungary

Pásztor et al. 2008

Sormás-Törökföldek-I

Hungary

Pásztor et al. 2008

Bučany

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Cifer-Pác

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Horné Otrokovce

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Podhorany-Mechenice

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Ružindol-Borová

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Šurany

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Svodin 1

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Svodin 2

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Žitavce

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Žlkovce

Slovak Republic

Pásztor et al. 2008

Murr, Lkr. Freising

Germany

Schwarz 2006

Atting-Rinkam, Lkr. Straubing-Bogen

Germany

Schwarz 2006

Riekofen, Lkr. Regensburg

Germany

Schwarz 2006

Bergheim, Lkr. Neuburg-Schrobenhausen

Germany

Schwarz 2006

 

Burials

The burial practices of the Later LBK seem to have been continued. Flexed interment in a burial pit (e.g. Podborský et al. 1993 Fig. 78) are most common. Burial clusters have been excavated in Friebritz, Austria. Rare cremation burials have been documented (Farkaš 1999?), just as they occur in the LBK. The flexed interments are sometimes adorned with copper adornments (Grigyel and Bogucki 1997).

Copper

Lengyel used copper in form of cylindrical beads, cold-hammered copper ribbons, including ribbons with their ends curled into spirals (e.g. Grigyel and Bogucki 1997). However copper occurs only in the “classical” phase (e.g. Grigyel and Bogucki 1997).



 


 

References and Credits

Baldia, M. O.

1995                A Spatial Analysis of Megalithic Tombs. Vol. 1-2. Ph. D. Dissertation. Southern Methodist University.

 

In press           Monumental Questions: Prehistoric Megaliths, Mounds and Enclosures of Central and Northern Europe. In David Calado, Maximilian O. Baldia, Matt Boulanger (Eds.), Monumental Questions: Prehistoric Megaliths, Mounds and Enclosures. Actes du XVème Congrès UISPP, Lisbon 2006 (Book information tentative).

 

Bogucki, Peter

1988                Forest Farmers and Stock Breeders: Early Agriculture and its Consequences in North-Central Europe. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

 

Jankowska, Dobrochna

1999?              Z badań nad osadnictwem poźńowstęgowym w Wielkopolsce. (Zur Forschung der spätbandkeramischen Besiedlung in Großpolen. http://www.phil.muni.cz/archeo/sbornikm4/farkas.html (Accessed July 28, 2001).

 

Farkaš, Zdeněk

1999?              K otázke žiarového pohrebného rítu ĺudu s lengyelskou kultúrou v období mladého neolit. (Frage des Brandbestattungsritus beim Volk mit Lengyel–Kultur im Verlauf des Jungneolithikums.) (http://www.phil.muni.cz/archeo/sbornikm4/farkas.html (Accessed July 27, 2001).

 

Grygiel, Ryszard and Peter Bogucki

1997                Early Farmers in North-Central Europe: 1989-1994 Excavations at Oslonki, Poland. Journal of Field Archaeology 24/2, 1997:161-178.

 

Hafner, Albert and Peter Suter

2001                 Das Neolithikum im 4. Jahrtausend v. Chr.: Tradition, Einflüsse und Entwicklung. Archäeologische Informationenen 24/2, 2001:291-309. Deutsche Gesellschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte e. V., Bonn.

 

Höckmann, O.

1984                Book review: Elisabeth Ruttkay, Das Neolithikum in Niederösterreich. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte, 12, Östereichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Wien, 1983. In Germania, 62/1, Frankfurt, 1984:83-66.

 

Kulczycka-Leciejewiczowa, A.

1970                The Linear and Stroked Pottery cultures. In Wiślański, T. (Ed.) The Neolithic in Poland. Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej, Polskiej Akademii Nauk Wrocław, Warszawa, Krakow, Wroclaw, Warszawa and Krakow, 1970:1-75.

 

Lenneis, E., C. Neugebauer-Maresch, E. Ruttkay

1995                Jungsteinzeit im Osten Österreichs. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- u. Frühgeschichte 17. Niederösterreichisches Pressehaus u. Verlagsgesellschaft, St. Pölten – Wien.

 

Midgley, Magdalena S.

1992                TRB Culture: The First Farmers of the North European Plain. Edinburgh University Press, Edinburgh.

 

Neugebauer-Maresch, C.

1995                Mittelneolithikum: Die Bemaltkeramik. In Lenneis, E., C. Neugebauer-Maresch, E. Ruttkay, Jungsteinzeit im Osten Österreichs. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- u. Frühgeschichte 17. Niederösterreichisches Pressehaus u. Verlagsgesellschaft, St. Pölten – Wien. 1995:57-107.

 

Pásztor, Emília, Judit P. Barna, and Curt Roslund

2008                The Orientation of Rondels of the Neolithic Lengyel Culture in Central Europe. Antiquity 82, 2008:910–924.

 

Podborský, Vladimír, et al.

1993                Pravěké Dějiny Moravy. Vlastivěda Moravská Země a Lid, Nová Řada 3. Muzejní a vlastivědna společnost, Brno.

 

Ruttkay, Elisabeth

1983                Das Neolithikum in Niederösterreich. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- und Frühgeschichte, 12, Österreichische Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Ur- und Frühgeschichte, Wien.

 

1997                Das Idol mit Vogelgesicht vom Höpfenbühel bei Melk: Beiträge zur jüngeren Lengyel-Kultur in Ostösterreich. SPFFBU M2, ročník 1997. http://www.phil.muni.cz/archeo/uam/htm/buttons_htm/oddeleni_archeologie/sbornik/m4_1999/ruttkay.html (Accessed January 11, 2009)

 

Ruttkay, Elizabeth and Christian Mayer

1995                Spätneolitikum. In Lenneis, E., C. Neugebauer-Maresch, E. Ruttkay,            Jungsteinzeit im Osten Österreichs. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- u. Frühgeschichte 17. Niederösterreichisches Pressehaus u. Verlagsgesellschaft, St. Pölten – Wien. 1995:108-209.

 

Stadler, Peter

1995                Ein Beitrag zur Absolutchronologie des Neolithikums in Österreich auf Grund der 14C-Daten. In Lenneis, E., C. Neugebauer-Maresch, E. Ruttkay,            Jungsteinzeit im Osten Österreichs. Forschungsberichte zur Ur- u. Frühgeschichte 17. Niederösterreichisches Pressehaus u. Verlagsgesellschaft, St. Pölten – Wien. 1995:210-224.

 

Monika Schwarz

2006                Donau Archaeologie: Die Münchshöfener Kultur. http://www.donau-archaeologie.de/doku.php/kulturen/munchshofen (Accessed January 11, 2009).

 

Wiślański, T. (Ed.)

1970                The Neolithic in Poland. Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej, Polskiej Akademii Nauk Wrocław, Warszawa, Krakow 1970b:178-231.

 

 

 

 

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Please send comments or questions to Max Baldia.

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Neugebauer-Maresch 1995

[2] Stadler 1995 Fig. 5, Table 1-2 (7 dates from sites in Falkenstein, Lower Austria).

[3] Stadler 1995 Fig. 6, Table 1-2 (5 dates, 1 from Pitten, the rest from the lake dwelling site Kutschacher See, Lower Austria).

[4] OxCal v2.18:

Broniewice Bln-1313 : 5060±60BP = 68.2% confidence 3960BC (1.00) 3780BC; 95.4% confidence 3990BC (0. 94) 3770BC, 3750BC (0.06) 3700BC.

Krusza Zamkowa Bln-1811 : 5330±65BP = 68.2% confidence 4300BC (0.04) 4290BC, 4250BC (0.96) 4040BC; 95.4% confidence 4340BC (1.00) 4000BC.

Brzesc Kujavski Lod-165 : 5370±180BP = 68.2% confidence 4450BC (0.02) 4430BC, 4370BC (0.98) 3990BC; 95.4% confidence 4700BC (1.00) 3750BC.

Brzesc Kujavski Lod-163 : 5130±160BP = 68.2% confidence 4250BC (1.00) 3700BC; 95.4% confidence 4350BC (1.00) 3600BC.

SUM = 68.2% confidence 4300BC (1.00) 3750BC; 95.4% confidence 4500BC (1.00) 3650BC.