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Linear Pottery Culture
Linear Pottery Cultures are an important group of Central European Neolithic cultures that are the extension in this area of the earlier Balcanic cultures. Their main charcteristic is the decorative style of their pottery.
The expansion northwards of the early Neolithic culture of Starcevo-Köros produces a local variant reaching the upper Tisza that may have well been produced by the contact with native epi-Paleolithic groups. This small group starts a new tradition of pottery, substituting the paintings of the Balcanic cultures by engravings. These peoples, whose remains are anyhow scarce, prefer to settle in fluvial terraces and the proximities of rivers. As within their southern neighbours many sculptures of women have been found.
At he start of the 5th milennium BCE, two derivated cultures will form at the Tiszan and mid-Danubian basins: these are the Eastern and Western Linear Pottery Cultures.
Eastern Linear Pottery:
This culture is basically the extension in the 5th milennium of the earlier culture of Starcevo-Köros, and extends basically by its northern territory (eastern Hungary and northern Rumania), after having lost the southern part of their lands to the invading culture of Vinca-Turdas .
Despite its clear Balcanic foundations, at least the pottery is transformed by the proto-Linnear facies of the upper Tisza, substituting painting by engraving, hence the name.
Western Linear Pottery
This culture appears in Moravia and western Slovakia also c. 5000 BCE and is as well largely owing to the culture of Starcevo-Köros. Nevertheless the differences are more acute than in the other groups: burials are made outside villages, in large cementeries, accompanying them with some pottery and food. Though occasional, we witness here, for the fist time in European prehistory, some cremation tombs. Another original ritual is the placing of tools in one of the pole-holes of each new house. Sheep-herding is largely substituted by that of cows. And, though they also have sheep, pigs and goats, not many remains of dogs have been found. To the already known cereals and legumes they add a new crop: flax. Besides, some unclear modification to their building techniques makes that their villages don't form anymore the typical tells of Near Eastern and Balcanic habitations.
From their original region in the middle Danub this culture expands, either through migration or assimilation, to large areas of Central Europe, colonizing the upper Danube and Rhin, as well as Bohemia before 4500 BCE. After that, they expand mainly northwards into the rest of Germany and parts of Poland, reaching also regions of northern France, Belgium and the Nederlands. An eastern branch will reach both Moldavias and parts of western Ukraine. A prolongation of this branch in Vallachia (culture of Boian ) will show great dynamism.
Anyhow, with expansion comes diversification and reaching the 4th milennium, the culture of Western Linnear Pottery breaks apart in several facies that soon develope into independent cultures. These are:
ˇ Culture of Rössen : in most of Germany and nearby western areas.
ˇ Culture of the Stroked Pottery : in Bohemia, Poland and parts of eastern Germany.
ˇ Culture of pre-Cucuteni : in Moldavia and western Ukraine.
ˇ Culture of Boian-Maritza : in Vallachia first (Boian) but soon assimilating the nearby Bulgarian regions (Maritza).
All these groups and their descendants are considered to belong to a unified cultural area, known as Danubian Neolithic.
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