The Trypillans

Archived item , not written by me.

The most ancient civilisation we know is Sumerian. It existed in the second half of the fourth millennium BC. Scholars call the years which preceded the Sumerians “prehistory,” and there are no material or written records believed to exist during this period. However, there was some oblique scarce knowledge passed by the Sumerians that they had come to Mesopotamia and Egypt most probably from the region of the Caspian Sea, because they refer to a city-state called Arrata in that area.

The early Sumerians brought with them a culture more complex and diverse that that of the locals. They cultivated land, used a wheel, had a domesticated horse, a potter’s wheel and perhaps even had writing, since it appeared shortly after they settled in Mesopotamia. Moreover, no traces of its origin have been found among local residents.

Many scholars agree that there should have been some developed pre-Sumerian civilisation. Little was known about such civilisations during the middle of the last century, although the Trypillian culture had already been discovered on the territory of modern Ukraine, it has not been referred to as “pre-Sumerian.”
By the end of the 19th century, in the steppe region of Ukraine, Vikenty Khvoyka, a Ukrainian archaeologist of Czech origin, found traces of an unknown ancient culture later named Trypillian , after the place of discovery. This year, the Ukrainian community celebrates the 110th anniversary of Khvoyka’s discovery, and today we possess thousands of artifacts. We know many facts about our remote ancestors who lived in the area now occupied by Ukraine and other Eastern European countries between 4,000 and 7,000 years ago.

Many fundamental scientific works studying the material culture of those times have appeared since. One of them is “Trypillian Civilisation”, compiled by researcher Mikhail Videyko. The title of his work is not accidental, as it was not a local separate culture of some tribe or a group of tribes, but a genuine civilisation. What other name can we apply to a society which lasted more than 5,000 years, domesticated horses, ploughed their land using tools and bulls, grew wheat and barley, bred cattle, invented and successfully used the wheel, processed copper and bronze, and was inhabited by between 400,000 and 2 million people? It was the most numerous and powerful civilisation of the ancient world – or at least it is believed to have been such.
Trypillians (historians sometimes call them “ploughmen”) lived in huge settlements, agriculturally based cities inhabited by as many as 20,000 people – which seems incredible, given the time. The settlements covered up to 25 square kilometers, and were composed of one- and two-story houses. There were public buildings as well, and they may have covered as much as 1,000 square meters.
After building and occupying a settlement for between 50 and 80 years, the residents set them afire and moved on, having exhausted the environmental resources. Because the Trypillians destroyed their cities, few relics were left behind for today’s archaeologists.

As we were first learning about the ancient Trypillians during the early 20th century, the first evidence was also emerging that the Trypillians who lived on Ukrainian soil were related to the Sumerians of Mesopotamia.
Anatoly Kyfishyn made the first solid connection between the two cultures when he deciphered pictograms on the so-called Stone Tomb in the south of Ukraine. These pictograms, chiseled into the walls of this unique artifact dating from 12,000 to 3,000 BC were samples of the early Sumerian writing. Ceramics created by the ancient Trypillians also bore Sumerian script, leaving no doubt that Sumerian writing originated with the Trypillyan civilisation. The pictograms on the Stone Tomb clarify the origin of inscriptions made during the 12th to third millennium BC. So Sumerian writing, the first writing in the history of mankind, is a product of the development of a human civilisation that for many thousands of years thrived in Europe and the Middle East.
As soon as similarities between the two forms of writing became known, previous contradictions were explained.
First, it became clear who brought a developed culture to the land between the Tigris and Euphrates. Second, scholars managed to discover traces of mass migration from Trypillia (also known as Koukoutenya) to the Middle East. The migration to Mesopotamia was probably due to climatic changes and demographic factors such as overpopulation, as the ancient technology of land cultivation and cattle-breeding required favorable climatic conditions and huge expanses of land. Finally, it was determined that the large Sumerian cities, including Ur, Uruk and Djamjet-Nasra were reflection of the huge Trypillian agrocities. Pre-Sumerians brought city-states and social structures characteristic of Trypillians to Mesopotamia. This structure, void of social, ethnic and tribal antagonisms, explains the extraordinary stability of both Sumerian and Trypillyan societies over long periods of time.
Today, scholars are trying to explain the disappearance of the Trypillian civilisation after 3,000 years.

The latest date puts smelted copper use to 5,500 BC in the Balkans


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