Cucuteni culture

Cucuteni culture

The Cucuteni culture, better known in the countries of the former Soviet Union as Trypillian culture or Tripolie culture, is a late Neolithic archaeological culture that flourished between ca. 5500 BC and 2750 BC in the Dniester-Dnieper region of modern-day Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine.


The culture was named after Cucuteni, Iaşi county, Romania, where the first objects associated with this culture were discovered. In 1884, Archaeologist Vicenty Khvoika uncovered the first of close to one hundred Trypillian settlements and excavations started in 1909. [Andrew Wilson, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000, pg. 25] In 1897, similar objects were excavated in Trypillia (Трипiлля; Russian: "Tripolye"), Kiev Governorate, Ukraine. As a result, the culture has been known in Soviet, Russian, and Ukrainian publications as "Tripolie culture" or "Tripolian culture". A compromise name is "Cucuteni-Trypillia".


As of 2003, about 2000 sites of Cucuteni-Trypillian culture have been identified in Romania, Ukraine, and Moldova. J.P. Mallory reports that the

culture is attested from well over a thousand sites in the form of everything from small villages to vast settlements comprised of hundreds of dwellings surrounded by multiple ditches [Mallory (1997).]
It was centered on the middle to upper Dniester River (in the present-day Republic of Moldova) with an extension in the northeast to as far as the Dnieper.

The Largest Cities

*Talianki with up to 15,000 inhabitants and covered a area of 450 ha and 2700 houses, 3700 BC.
*Dobrovody up to 10,000 inhabitants and covered a area of 2,5 square km and fortified 3800 BC.
*Maydanets up to 10,000 inhabitants, area 250 ha, 1575 houses, 3700 BC.


The largest collection of artifacts from the Cucuteni-Trypollia culture can be found in museums in Russia, Ukraine, and Romania, including the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and the Museum of History & Archaeology in Piatra Neamţ.

The Cucuteni-Tripolye culture has been called the first urban culture in Europe. The Trypollia settlements were usually located on a plateau, fortified with earthworks and ditches. The earliest villages consisted of ten to fifteen households. In their heyday, settlements expanded to include several hundred large adobe huts, sometimes with two stories. These houses were typically warmed by an oven and had round windows. The huts had furnaces used to create pottery, which the Trypillians are most known for.

Agriculture is attested to, as well as livestock-raising, mainly consisting of cattle, but goats/sheep and swine are also evidenced. Wild game is a regular part of the faunal remains. The pottery is connected to the Linear Pottery culture. Copper was extensively imported from the Balkans. Extant figurines excavated at the Cucuteni sites are thought to represent religious artefacts, but their meaning or uses is still unknown.

As time progressed the Trypillians began creating better weapons using stronger metals, and the effort put into pottery became less noticeable.

The Trypillians noticeably began fortifying their cities, where there was once no need for fortification or weapons. The sudden dissapearance of many trypillian villages lead archaeologists to believe they were conquered and assimilated into another culture.



Andrew Wilson, The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation, New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 2000.

J. P. Mallory, "Tripolye Culture", "Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture", Fitzroy Dearborn, 1997.

ee also

*Prehistoric Romania
*Vinča culture
*Yamna culture
*Neolithic Europe

External links

* [ Cucuteni Museum and some reconstructions]
* [ Cucuteni culture]
* [ Dacian Museum]
* [ Tripillian civilization homepage]
* [] Трипільська культура в Україні» з колекції «Платар» Platar Collection

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