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P r o b l e m s in R e s e a r c h H i s t o r y
Several rather incoherent facts have caused the research of cult finds to slowly lose credit over the last two decades. Since figural representations, house models, small clay altarpieces and anthropomorphic vessels have belonged to the category of interesting small finds, they often have been studied independently, neglecting all surrounding other finds and archaeological phenomena. Such works deal with cult objects as mere curiosities of art history. Without a standard method of description and interpretation, these works can never help us get closer to understanding how cult objects were used and for what they were prepared. Interpretations of cult objects have both offered a large scope for commonplaces and ill-based, adventurous ideas of prehistoric religion. As a result, when publishing a cult object, any interpretation can be neglected or restricted to some general remarks (such as "used in the course of some fertility cult", or "agrarian rite"). Or, the opposite can occur, with ritual customs and Neolithic goddesses and gods described in detail. In both cases, there is hardly any connection established between the finds themselves and the main theses of historians of religion. Meanwhile, prehistoric archaeology itself followed a totally different development. At a time when prehistory is becoming more and more incorporated into different fields of natural sciences, both traditional descriptive typology and unverified obscure ideas have lost much credit. It is thus no wonder that several archaeologists have turned their back on any kind of cult material. For them, there is no perspective to deal with such objects today. However, this attitude can also be ill-based and almost as harmful as the illegitimate favor cult objects sometimes enjoy. We are not so rich in information about the Neolithic and Chalcolithic periods that we can afford to neglect any source of material. In a period when almost everything is decomposited except some stone, bone or baked clay objects, cult objects form a very important source group. Therefore, we must combine the results gained from very different methods. Fortunately, in the last years a new tendency seems to have emerged, giving new air to this otherwise exhausted topic. New analyses have set up cult objects as one part of a whole material assemblage. In doing so, they have gained a much broader view of interpretation. As P. Ucko recently summerized, "...what we must insist on asking is that archaeologists should (1) avoid the constricting nature of assumed monolithic classificatory categories, and (2) conscientiously continue to attempt to match the details of the uncovered material culture to the implications of any interpretation profferred by them. What is certain is that interpretations can go much 'further' now than in the 1950s and 1960s. After all, we are in the era of multiple meanings..." (HAMILTON ET AL. 1996: 304). In the following pages, I would like to add to this problem by combining the traditional typological approach with context analyses in order to interpret a certain cult object type. In prehistoric research, human and animal representations have always been treated differently. All forms of zoomorphic figurines have often been put into one category, although they apparently belong to several subtypes. Firstly, we have animal figurines which are formed in a realistic way, so that it is apparent to which species it belongs (e.g. the fox representation from the Gumelnita culture, DUMITRESCU 1968: Fig. 103). However, some other finds are similarly realistically formed animal figures or heads which have been applied to obviously non-realistic bodies. Many kinds of zoomorphic altarpieces can be arranged in this category (e.g. the deer shaped altarpiece from Muldava, Karanovo I culture - TODOROVA - VAJSOV 1993: Fig. 146, or from the Eneolithic period: Jasa Tepe - TODOROVA 1978: PI. 1/1; Koshilovtsi - Eneolit SSSR: PI. 87/4) (Figs. 1, 2). Secondly, any three dimensional sculpture representing animals that cannot be identified as a certain species
are normally considered to be coarse representations that reflect the puny talent of the prehistoric potter. On the other hand, we must face the enormous literature dealing with human, mostly female figurines, which are researched quite separately from animal figurines. Here, the fact is disregarded that many heads are not typically female, and not even human, but rather zoomorphic, not to speak of definitely mixed creatures with a female body and an animal head or mask, often being a typical representation for certain animal species. M. Gimbutas is one of the few exceptions. In her works, she collected a series of such representations. Unfortunately, these figurines are not processed thoroughly and then interpreted on the basis of the analysis. Instead, they are used to fit into a previously-created concept. As it is known, this concept is based on the omnipotent nature of the "Old European" Great Goddess. This female power had different aspects: including those of animals, symbolized by a feature the represented animal species supposedly had. Such aspects are represented - according to M. Gimbutas - with the help of the mixed creatures like figurines with duck head, owl eyes, snake, frog or ram positions, forms or heads (GIMBUTAS 1989). These aspects of the "Magna Mater" are supposed to influence the life of the whole society and to rule over all beings in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic. Meanwhile, they helped these civilizations to keep the peaceful golden era flourishing. Relating to this concept, Gimbutas elaborated her theory of the East European Kurgan invasion of lndoeuropean tribes and she also used this theory to name the causes for the end of "Old European civilizations". Namely, the power of tribes honoring almost exclusively male gods were supposed to destroy all the harmonic and peaceful development of the matriarchal South East European Neolithic. Apart from the modern political allusions reflected in this idea (GIMBUTAS 1989: 318-20, but especially 319); this would be a process, partly reflected in the vanishing of figurines and other cult objects at the beginning of the Bronze Age. Thus, the above mentioned representations are used for verifying an ideological preconception. They are not an attempt to interpret the figurines themselves. That said, I note the brilliance of M. Gimbutas on the subject of East European prehistory, and segments of her theories on (pre)historic processes and cultural changes in this area. Still, I must point out that the interpretation of mixed female and animal figurines remains arbitrary when background analyses are absent. I should like to demonstrate the problem of this interpretation by beginning with an imaginary animal figure with good parallel forms of human heads and transitory beings. By comparing these finds, I would like to note the possible connection and the complicated relations between animal and human representations in the Neolithic and Chalcolithic of South East Europe.
An E x a m p l e for C o n n e c t i o n s b e t w e e n an I m a g i n a r y A n i m a l F i g u r e Type and Other Z o o m o r p h i c R e p r e s e n t a t i o n s on Cult Objects
I will start with a peculiar clay animal figure found in 1993 during an excavation of an extended settlement of the youngest Lengyel culture in Transdanubia (For a summary of typological parallels and the origins of this object, found in Zalaszentbalazs, see BANFFY 1998) (Fig. 3). The 5,7 cm high and 9,3 cm long figure is flat. It depicts a double-headed animal with one body, the second head being attached to the place where the tail should be, causing the heads to look at each other symmetrically. The fore and hind legs of the animal are made of one piece of clay each, and the animal's genital organs are emphatically depicted in the middle of its belly. On the heads, the eyes and the mouths are not shown, but the ears appear in the form of small round applications on both sides of the heads. Although the tops of the heads are somewhat damaged, the pairs of horns in the form of divided vertical protrusions are clearly visible, indicating that it must be either a ram or a he-goat. The object is not a three dimensional sculpture standing on its own, but was used as a lid handle. This is not a unique find for the late Neolithic Moravian painted ware-Lengyel cultural circle. In fact, it is typical of the Western distributional area of the culture. In South Western Slovakia, the early classical Lengyel site Santovka is well-known for its rich cultic assemblage (PAVUK 1981, 1994).
Notes on the Connection between Human and Zoomorphic Representations in the Neolithic
Among the animal representations (i.e. zoomorphic small clay altarpieces), two-headed symmetrical types also occur (PAVUK 1981: Fig. 63; PAVUK 1994: Fig. 5a-d) (Fig. 4). Another example of this type was found in Bosovice, Moravia (PODBORSKY 1989: 184, Fig. 5/1) (Fig. 5). From the early Lengyel site of Falkenstein-Schanzboden in lower Austria, a piece almost identical to the Zalaszentbalazs object was round and is also a lid handle (NEUGEBAUER - MARESCH 1995: 71, Fig. 29/4). A good parallel piece comes from Santovka (PAVUK 1994: Fig. 4/4) (Fig. 6). Zoomorphic lid handles are fairly common in the Eastern Lengyel circle as well. From the vicinity of Zengovarkony and Moragy, private collectors have found numerous fragments of such objects i DOMBAY I960: P1.31/9,11). One of the fragments is a simplified form of the double-headed type under discussion. Zoomorphic lid handles also occur in the fortified tell and also in the horizontal settlement of Polgar-Csoszhalom, which seems to have been a kind of interaction and mediation center between the late Lengyel and the Eastern Hungarian Tiszapolgar cultures (RACZKY ET AL. 1994: 234; RACZKY KovAcs - ANDERS 1997). This is because it, too, is typical of the Tiszapolgar culture (KUTZIAN 1963: P1.84/la, 89/2a, 90/la; KUTZIAN 1972: 133). From the Eastern Hungarian late Neolithic settlement of Kenezlo, two other zoomorphic lid handles have been found (MAKKAY 1959: 128). It is thus obvious that the unusual type of two-headed zoomorphic representations were widely used, not only in the huge Lengyel-Moravian painted ware circle, but also in its neighbouring cultures, too. This makes it all the more interesting as a means of revealing something about its possible archetype, its origin. In general, zoomorphic figurines in South Eastern Europe are common from the beginning of the Early Neolithic, i.e. the Koros-Starcevo-Karanovo I circle to the end of the Chalcolithic and sporadically until the time of different cultures of the Early Bronze Age (as, for example, the Somogyvar-Vinkovci, Glina 3-Schneckenberg or the Hatvan cultures). This plastique can appear in the form of small clay animal figures as well as applied parts of animal figures on different clay objects, such as heads on the bellies or handles of vessels. While some animal representations can be called more-or-less realistic - a dog, bull, deer or bear figure - a certain percentage of the so-called "oil lamps" or rather miniature clay altarpieces are also formed either as a complete animal figure (PAVUK 1994: Fig. 5/2), with two deep depressions in the middle of its back or, even more frequently, as triangular and rectangular altarpieces with three or four animal heads on their edges (Fig. 7). The richness of these animal representations is stunning and only a few concluding works have tried to define them (in Hungary, J. Makkay wrote a synthesis of mostly stray finds, probably coming from several different periods - MAKKAY 1959). From the character of the above zoomorphic figures, it follows that the people preparing these animals must have set out from observation of real animals. In our case, however, contrasted to the naturalistic features of the heads and the genital organs, the representation contradicts any real experience. The double nature of the Zalaszentbalazs animal provides great reason for speculation. Namely, it must in part be considered a realistic representation, as there are some indications of its species and gender. Yet, it remains a fictional creature. This sort of representation seems to be a prototype in the whole Lengyel-Moravian painted world, occurring not only in its original form, but also as a more or less reduced subtype, where the two heads appear in two peaky knobs (cf. a piece from Tolna county, under publication by I. Zalai-Gaal). We must seek the antecedent of this figure type elsewhere, and not among the naturalistic zoomorphic round plastique. The next parallels for our animal head types can still be found in animal heads applied on the edges of geometric altarpieces. Animal heads turning back to look at each other first appear in a great quantity in the Koros and Starcevo cultures, both in the form of realistic heads and in reduced form. A good example for the first head type is from Kaniska lva, where a rectangular clay altarpiece with four animal heads was found, belonging to the Linear C/Spiraloid A period of the Starcevo culture (MINICHREITER 1992: PI. 5 - the object is dated by T. Tezak-Gregl somewhat younger: TEZAK - GREGL 1991: Fig. 6/1) or one find from Obessenyo (Dudestii Vechi), a triangular altarpiece with three animal heads (KUTZIAN 1944: PI. 47/19). The famous rectangular altarpiece from Lanycsok with four heads might be a transitional form, as they all have eyes and noses. Still, it is hard to decide whether they are
human or animal heads (KALICZ 1 9 9 0 : PI. 1 1 ) (Fig. 8). This piece has a fairly close parallel in a retarded Starcevo millieu of Porodin: a rectangular altarpiece with two heads, although they rather seem to be those of birds (GRBIC 1 9 6 0 : Fig. 2 4 9 ) (Fig. 9). The heads may occur in the form of small peaks on the edges in the Early Neolithic already (MINICHREITER 1 9 9 2 : PI. 2 / 1 ) . The immediate Starcevo-inheritor was the Vinca culture, which influenced the middle and late Neolithic development of the region. Without its direct and also indirect cultural effects, the figural plastique of both the Linear Pottery culture and the Lengyel culture would most probably have developed differently. The archaeological background of these processes are more or less clear (DIMITRIJEVIC 1 9 7 9 :
3 4 4 - 5 ; T E Z A K - GREGL 1 9 9 3 ) .
With full knowledge of these facts, it is not peculiar that the best parallels for Lengyel-Moravian painted ware double-headed animals can be found in Vinca assemblages. The mediation of the discussed animal figure-type through the Vinca culture is clear. Nevertheless, we do not only have to look for possible earlier representations of two-headed imaginary animals, but we must also attempt to declare how it came into contact with the Lengyel lids. First of all, strikingly similar representations are known among Vinca finds, including two capriovidlike heads that turn back to each other and share a common body. Some of these figures look almost identical to those of the Lengyel and Moravian painted ware cultures. However, these figures are not lid handles or fragments of other objects, but are free-standing. Some of them are considered amulets. In fact some of these objects - but not all of them - are vertically perforated through a round hole in the middle. This can be regarded as a secondary utilization of the obligatory depression (TASIC 1 9 7 3 : PL 2 7 / 9 3 - 9 7 , 9 9 , PL 2 8 / 9 8 , 1 0 0 - 1 0 3 , PL 2 9 / 1 0 4 - 1 0 9 , in a specially elaborate variant: PL 3 3 / 1 2 7 ) (Figs. 10, 11). This type also exists in reduced form, in which the animal heads are represented in the form of peaky knobs (TASIC 1 9 7 3 : PL 1 2 / 3 8 - 4 3 , PL 1 8 / 6 1 , PI. 2 8 / 1 0 0 ) (Fig. 12). This object-type occurred frequently in the North Eastern, Banatian area of the Vinca culture (e.g. inTordos, collected by Zs. Torma: ROSKA 1 9 4 1 : PL 1 3 7 / 1 , 2 ; LAZAROVICI - DRASOVEAN 1 9 9 1 : 2 0 7 - 2 0 8 , Cat. 1 4 7 , 1 4 8 or in Zorlent: LAZAROVICI 1 9 7 9 : PI. 21/A,D,E,F, 2 2 / F ; some of these figures appear with clearly represented animal heads and with two knobs resembling female breasts) (Fig. 13). It is important to mention that some miniature clay "horns of consecration" - e.g. in Ruse belonging to the Gumelnita culture, coeval with the late Vinca period - may also relate to the reduced double-headed "amulets" (These finds are called horns of consecration by GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 2 : 9 3 , Fig. 4 9 ) . We cannot venture to guess what "amulets" meant in a Neolithic context. However, there is a feature appearing on most of these figures that can help us. It is a small circular hole appearing on the middle of the animal's back and is clearly observable on most figures. Certainly, this roundish impression makes no sense, even when we take the "amulet" interpretation into account, since the "holes" are not always real perforations through which the figure could have been hung. Numerous pieces which are not perforated still possess the round depression in the middle of their backs (cf. Figs. 10, 12). Consequently, not only the custom of applying animal heads on the edges of altarpieces, but also the holes in the middle of their upper surfaces are common features of both altarpieces and our animal figures. These altarpieces always had these roundish holes in the middle of their upper surface, which probably - as I argue elsewhere - originally contained some grains or other solid organic material offered in the course of domestic cult activities (BANFFY 1 9 9 7 : Chapters 6.3 and 7 ) . Therefore, the holes on the double-headed figurines must be senseless imitations of altarpieces, and may have been perforated through this depression secondarily, in order to use them for secondary purposes as hanging "amulets". The possible connection between the two-headed animals of the Lengyel-Moravian painted ware culture and the altarpieces can be reconstructed in the following way. As mentioned before, geometric and zoomorphic clay altarpieces were used in settlements from the time agriculture began. Parts of zoomorphic altarpieces were not prepared in the form of a naturalistic animal, with a hole in the back, but rather as a mixture between geometric and zoomorphic pieces. Often this took the form of triangular or rectangular bodies with three or four animal heads on the corners. From the side, the rectangular altarpieces look very similar to a two-headed animal figure, and indeed, another subtype of
Notes on the Connection between Human and Zoomorphic Representations in the Neolithic
this appears again in the form of an animal body, with a depression in the middle of its back and with two heads looking in opposite directions. Consequently, the double-headed animal can from this point also be unreal. Thus, we can reconstruct the probable antecedents or prototypes of our imaginary animal figure. In other words, the connection between the altarpieces and the double-headed lid handle type. It might as well be called the two-dimensional variant of the rectangular altarpiece-type with four animal heads on its corner. On the other hand, the idea of placing animal figures on lids might not have been uncommon late Neolithic and early Chalcolithic customs. Zoomorphic lids are typical and frequent in the whole Vinca distribution area. Conic lids with handles were generally in use in all cultures of the Carpathian Basin and also in the Balkans. The handle is sometimes a whole standing animal (e.g. in Gorni Pasarel, PETKOV 1957: 291-4) (Fig. 14) and sometimes, like in the Aszod settlement of the Lengyel culture and in the Gumelnita-Karanovo VI cultures, even house models. The two periods of regions where house models as lid handles occur cannot be associated with each other in a direct way (this is also the opinion of N. KALICZ - KALICZ 1976), but both of them did in fact have connections to the long-existing Vinca culture, which may have been the missing link that created a bridge between Northern Hungary and the Balkan peninsula from the beginning of the late Neolithic and the early Chalcolithic periods. It is important to note that animal figures as lid handles made for use with vessels of special importance have also been found in much later times. They have been interpreted as young manifestations of an ancient South East European tradition. In an exhibition catalogue on Greek geometric pottery created by the Philosophy Faculty at Prague University, some pyxes were published with four perforations, with fitting lids perforated in the same way. Two of these small vessels had handles in the form of standing animals. Both have been interpreted as watching and protecting the content of the pyxes (BOUZEK - CTVRTNIKOVA 1992: 2 and Figs. 3, 4, 7). At this point, it has hopefully become clear that the figure of double headed animals in the Lengyel culture developed slowly from zoomorphic altarpieces. The Vinca culture had a direct influence, while the substantial amount of altarpieces from the South East European Neolithic also had a broad impact. Thus, we can establish a certain connection between the double-headed ram or he-goat figurines of the Lengyel culture and other forms of cult objects, especially zoomorphic altarpieces.
Transitions B e t w e e n Z o o m o r p h i c and H u m a n R e p r e s e n t a t i o n s
The representations discussed above - including lid handles, amulets and altarpieces - do not only occur in zoomorphic form. The same types can also have heads that are hard to be identified as being animal or human. Clear human heads are also known. Our next step should be to make an effort to distinguish the variants occurring in human and animal figurines or heads. To do so, I will examine forms and variants of human, zoomorphic and transitory representations on the same Neolithic and Chalcolithic clay objects. Zoomorphic altarpieces or animal heads applied on altarpieces. Here, I must mention the deerformed altarpiece from Muldava, Bulgaria, early Neolithic, Karanovo I culture (DETEV 1968: Fig. 26; TODOROVA - VAJSOV 1993: cf. Fig. 1) as well as one of the zoomorphic altarpieces from the Lengyel settlement of Santovka, Slovakia (PAVUK 1994: Fig. 5/2a-c, cf. Fig. 7). Another example of a clear representation of a ram head comes from the late Vinca site of Rudna Glava (JOVANOVIC 1985: Fig. 8) (Fig. 15). In these cases, the animal figure or head is formed realistically enough that the species of the animal can be ascertained. Zoomorphic but not realistic. Almost all Vinca amulets and most animal figures of the abovementioned Lengyel-Moravian painted animal heads belong to this category. A parallel piece came from Rudna Glava. This time, the piece has two ram heads applied on the two sides of the altarpiece (JOVANOVIC 1985: Fig. 27) (Fig. 16). Another example for this is the house model with two animal heads from the late Neolithic Vadastra II (MATEESCU 1962: Fig. 2) (Fig. 17). Two others appear on a
similar object from the middle Neolithic, retarded Starcevo settlement of Porodin (GRBIC 1960: PI. 34/f, cf. Fig. 9) and a triangular altarpiece (with three heads) from another late Vinca site, Predionica
(GALOVIC 1959: Fig. 76/4) (Fig. 18).
Human heads in the place of animal heads. A good example among the discussed Vinca "amulets" comes from the eponymous site (STANKOVIC 1986: Fig. 8/12) (Fig. 19). Another form of a head protruding from a house model comes from Porodin, but this head is clearly human (GRBIC 1960: Fig. 34/1). The house model from Gradesnitsa has three human heads applied over the entrance, instead of the usual bucrania or other types of animal heads (NIKOLOV 1974: Fig. 65) (Fig. 20). Apart from the above discussed zoomorphic lid handles, there are also several examples of a human head used as lid handle. A find from Balbunar, Bulgaria must also be mentioned (MQCOV 1926/27: 267, Fig. 97/b), as must one from the Tisza culture settlement of Veszto (HEGEDUS - MAKKAY 1987: Fig. 16). Mixtures or transitory representations build a fairly large group.
Dubious mixtures. The rectangular altarpiece from the already-mentioned Lanycsok has four heads on its corners (KALICZ 1990: Fig. 3a-c, cf. fig 8). It is impossible to determine whether they are human or zoomorphic representations. The only sign that they might be human is a vertical line incised in the front side of the altarpiece, which can possibly be interpreted as a female genital organ. This would turn the scale in favour of a human interpretation of the heads. Similarly, on the early Vinca house models from Tordos, the head looks as human as zoomorphic (ROSKA 1941: Fig. 104/7, 104/10) (Fig. 21). The two heads of the Trusesti altar, both having human and animal characteristics, also belong to this category (PETRESCU-DTMBOVITA 1963: 172-86; DUMTRESCU 1968: Fig. 82) (Fig. 22). I must also mention the enormously large group of "stick-heads" here, mostly from the earlier phases of Neolithic. On these heads it is impossible to observe any human or characteristically zoomorphic features. These figurines are restricted to represent living creatures. The peculiar mixed figure of a bird-like creature standing on human legs comes from the Lengyel settlement of Aszod, Northern Hungary (KALICZ 1985: Fig. 75) (Fig. 23). "Monster heads" with no sign of human or animal faces, but represented through fearful features, are also worthy of note. The best examples of such figurines come from Zengovarkony, Western Hungary. Several pieces come from Tiszafured-Majoros, the Middle Tisza region and one comes from Sipintzi, Ukraine (DOMBAY 1960: Fig. 87/1, 6, 8; K\LICZ 1979-80: 6/1 and 7/la-c; GIMBUTAS 1982: 46, Fig. 13, 14). Zoomorphic figurine with human head. In terms of lid handles, the zoomorphic figurine with a human face from Gorni Pasarel is important to mention (PETKOV 1957: Fig. l a - b , cf. Fig. 17). Such representations occur in a large number in the Vinca culture: one from the eponymous site of Vinca, and two examples from Valac must be noted (VASIC 1932-36: 24; GIMBUTAS 1982: Fig. 237, 238). Vinca "amulets" can also have a human face: such an example is known from Crnokalacka Bara (TASIC - TOMIC 1969: Fig. 14/5, 14/8) (Fig. 24). Human figurine with animal head. A female figurine from the Sesklo culture, from Meg. Vrysi appears with a bird's head (GIMBUTAS 1982: Fig. 83-84) (Fig. 25). Another middle Neolithic example comes from Parta. The large altar forming two fiat figurines is a close parallel to that of Trusesti, (cf. Fig. 22), but here, the human bodies - a pregnant woman and a man - have bull heads (LAZAROVICI 1989: Fig. 19 1, 2). A standing human figurine from Porodin has an animal head, possibly that of a dog or a bear (GIMBUTAS 1982: Fig. 188). Late Vinca figurines often appear with animal heads, mostly with those of birds, like some figurines from Divostin (BOGDANOVICH 1990: Fig. 8). The already-mentioned female busts on Banatian two-headed animal figurines can also be ranged here - LAZAROVICI 1979 (PI. 21/D/5, E/5-7,10,11, cf. Fig. 13). The double-headedform, discussed in the first part of this paper, is not exclusively typical for animal representations. Again, the Vinca amulet from the eponymous site, and a double-headed human figurine with animal heads from Rast can be seen as transitory forms within this culture (VASIC 1932-36: Fig. 323; GIMBUTAS 1982: Fig. 86) (Fig. 26). They also occur in clear human forms, as the "twin" figurines from Gomolava indicate (BRUKNER - JOVANOVIC - TASIC 1974: PI. 8/20; PETROVIC 1986: Fig. 1) (Fig. 27).
Notes on the Connection between Human and Zoomorphic Representations in the Neolithic
the reduced representations from late Vinca assemblages also belong to this category (TASIC 1 9 7 3 : PL 1 2 ) . Somewhat later, some two-headed human representations, e.g. the headless figurines from the Chalcolithic Rachmani culture (WEISSHAAR 1 9 8 9 : PI. 1 2 3 / 3 ) and those in the late Chalcolithic Baden culture (KALICZ 1 9 8 1 ; TASIC 1 9 9 5 ) may also have roots in Vinca traditions. Masked representations. Figurines carrying different masks not only spread in the Vinca culture, but also in Middle Europe in areas where the Linear Pottery culture proliferated. This tradition was followed also by the Linear Pottery-inheritor, the Tisza culture, a northern neighbour of the Vinca culture. In other southeast European cultures, like the early Chalcolithic Gumelnita, many figurines have heads with perforations on the sides, perhaps used to attach masks. Most probably, it was essential that the real face of the figurine remained hidden. The stylised outer form had an abstract meaning which cannot be understood from the representation itself (LEVI-STRAUSS 1 9 7 7 : 1 3 1 - 2 ) . It is possible that this meaning changed from time to time and that this change was expressed through masks or other facial appliications. The applications were likely fastened with the help of the perforations on the edges of the faces. Animal masks are extremely common on human Vinca figurines (e.g. TASIC - TOMIC 1 9 6 9 : PL 10, 1 1 ) ; and human masks are also sometimes attached to animal bodies (like the find from Fafos II, GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 2 : Fig. 2 3 7 ) (Fig. 28). The variability of the face character- and through this the variability of the meaning - can be observed on the headless figurine from Liubcova-Ornita, who holds her mask under her arm (LUCA - DRAGOMIR 1 9 8 7 : 3 6 , Fig. 4 ) (Fig. 29). All Vinca masked figurines are mute, as they are represented without any mouths. From the examples enumerated here, it becomes evident that Neolithic and Chalcolithic cult material can equally occur with clear human traits as well as with atypical, transitional and zoomorphic forms. Setting out from the representation itself, therefore, we cannot draw a sharp line between human and zoomorphic figurines.
The A r c h a e o l o g i c a l Context
Now let us see whether this sharp line exist in the use of human and zoomorphic representations. This can be discussed with the help of different examples where the objects were found among well cbserved and described archaeological contexts. It is obivous that the enormous amount of human and animal figurines, small clay altarpieces, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic vessels and house models occur entirely mixed up in Neolithic and Chalcolithic southeast European excavations. In other words, no definite provenances are described as typical places or contexts for only house models or those for female figurines etc. In the following, some examples are mentioned for human, zoomorphic or transitional representations occurring in well observed and described archaeological assemblages
(See in a detailed analysis: BANFFY 1 9 9 0 - 9 1 : Chapters 1 . 1 , 3 and 4 ) .
In the case that cult objects were lying in a large number inside a building, excavators are often busy interpreting the building as a "sanctuary". Neolithic buildings with one or two rooms used for domestic purposes and with a third one containing cult objects can, with difficulty, be called "sanctuaries". The terms used in the literature are alternately "shrine" and "sanctuary". I opt for the former, admitting that this point is arguable. The expression "temple", however, suggested by M. Gimbutas, cannot be used to identify these buildings. The word "temple" is rooted in the Greek word "temenos" and refers to the antique, non-Christian sacred buildings and places that served for worshipping and other religious activities. They therefore, contrast with domestic houses, which served daily purposes. In my opinion, non-domestic buildings in Neolithic settlements should best be identified as communal buildings than
"sanctuaries" (BANFFY 1 9 9 4 : 4 2 - 3 ) .
Such a "sanctuary" from Parta (Romanian Banat), belongs to the Szakalhat period, somewhat preceding the late Neolithic Tisza culture (LAZAROVICI 1 9 8 9 ) . The building in its renewed phase had three rooms and its dimensions resembled most those of an average building of the Szakalhat period. A clay bull's head was applied above the entrance, while the already mentioned, almost life-sized combined sculpture of a man and a woman were standing behind it. The man's head depicts a bull, and
although the woman's head is missing, a pregnant belly clearly indicates she is female. The sculpture can be regarded a close parallel to the late Neolithic "altar" of Trusesti (PETRESCU-DIMBOVITA 1963: 172-186, cf. Fig. 22). According to the first description of the excavator, A. Radunceva, the "sacral" buildings at the Chalcolithic site Dolnoslav (Bulgaria), contained more than seven hundred human and zoomorphic figurines (GENOV - RADUNCEVA 1985; RADUNCEVA 1991). The common occurrence of snakes and human figurines with heads similar to snakes in the "sanctuary" model of Sabatinovka II, Cucuteni culture, is a further example for zoomorphic and human representations standing in close connection (GIMBUTAS 1982: 73, Fig. 25-26). In other cases, cult assemblages were found inside houses that were identified as domestic buildings. The number of these is fairly high. Earlier, I was able to collect 426 figurines, 74 anthropomorphic vessels and 272 small clay altarpieces from such assemblages. Although this may seem like a large number, it represents no more than 5 % of the entire published material (BANFFY 1990-91: 209). In cases where the circumstances of the discovery were accurately recorded, it is clear that the finds were most frequently lying either at a certain part, mostly in a remote corner within the house, or right next to the fireplace. Many of them contained both human and animal figurines, or applications of these. For example, in the early Neolithic house at the site Szolnok-Szanda (Hungary, Koros culture), fragments of a clay altarpiece forming a bull's head were found near a human figurine in a cult assemblage (KALICZ - RACZKY 1981: 5-6, PI. 1). In the middle Neolithic site at Tsangli, another figurine with a human body and a zoomorphic head was found with several human figurines (WACE - THOMPSON 1912: 120, Fig. 69). Also in the famous cult assemblage from Platia Magula Zarkou, clay figurines probably representing the members of a family and also a mixed, four-legged creature with a bird's nose were found inside a house model buried under a fireplace (GALLIS 1985: 20-4; GALLIS 1996: 542, Fig. 6). In the late Vinca culture at Jakovo, a closed cult assemblage was found in a cult corner. In it, a figurine together with another double-headed figurine was placed close to a life-size bucranium (JOVANOVIC - GLISIC 1960: Fig. 18). The assemblage found at Valac belongs to the late Vinca culture. At this site, it became possible to reconstruct a whole cult inventory from the numerous human and zoomorphic figurines (HOCKMANN 1968: 73—4, PI. 25). The double-headed figurine from Rachmani - found in the northern corner of a house - belongs to the dubious mixed-beings category (WACE - THOMPSON 1912: 52, Fig. 28/t; WEISSHA^R 1989: Fig. 169/7). I do not wish to choose among the enormous amount of pits belonging to dwelling houses in the settlement and which contained both human and animal representations. Still, I will offer one example that fits: the double headed zoomorphic lid handle from the Lengyel settlement of Zalaszentbalazs. It also comes from a refuse pit, as does a head of a female figurine. The distinction can also be challenged on the basis of the quality of the human and animal representations, but no difference can be observed between finely elaborated and coarsely made pieces (BANFFY 1990-91: 203). Both types can equally have primarily cultic associations and they can occur in refuse pits, and be mixed up with the household garbage.
In each case mentioned, we find Neolithic and Chalcolithic cult objects occurring with human heads, animal heads, and in mixtures of both consciously formed duos (containing clear human and animal parts) and more unidentifiable mixtures. Sometimes, the dubiousness appears intentional, making it appear that exactly the double nature of these figurines was important. Returning to the lid handles, the altarpieces and - in a broader sense - to all so-called Neolithic cult finds, we find that many carry the traces of use on their surface. On the piece from Zalaszentbalazs, e.g., one ear is broken on both of the heads, the horns are damaged and the roughly smoothed body surface is worn. This shows that these objects were not passive ornaments, but objects of real use, even if this consumption stood out of food producing and other aspects of every-day-life. Judging from the considerable amount of objects found, they must have been produced, utilized and thrown away regularly. Without willing to force any traditional symbolic meanings concerning the ram
Notes on the Connection between Human and Zoomorphic Representations in the Neolithic
and he-goat, we must mention that both of these animal figures stand for "the initial impulse through which the potential becomes actual. They are also related to dawn and spring, and generally to the beginning of any cycle, process or creation" (CIRLOT 1 9 7 1 : 1 8 - 9 ) . M. Gimbutas also regards the he-goat as "symbol of cyclic time", although she does not give her sources (GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 9 : 3 2 3 ) . This imaginary animal cannot be compared to unicorns, griffins, basilisks, minotaurs or other fabulous participants of the "magic zoo", although some ways of representations suggest that mixed creatures may have existed before the Bronze Age (COSTELLO 1 9 7 9 : 2 7 - 9 ) . The double-headed animals may not be related to these imaginary beasts. Considering the nature of coeval anthropomorphic, female Vinca figurines, it is apparent that they often both looked realistic (pregnancy, jewels, hair etc.) and unreal (exaggerated eyes, nose, no mouth, mask, bird's head etc.) concurrently. This also suggests that the dividing lines between realism and imagination cannot be drawn sharply, placing the latter wholly out of everyday experience. Stylized outer forms may have had a recondite meaning which cannot be inteipreted from the representation itself. The idea of a representation might be much more important. For us, who do not know much about the abstract meaning and the religious system it belonged to, the imaginary animal figure appears much more expressive. In other words, it seems to be a more intensive representation than a realistic animal. Perhaps having two heads attached to a he-goat or ram figure made it a stronger male animal figure. Similarly, an ambiguous figurine that was half human and half animal was probably thought to have more effective power in mediating between the real and the imaginary spheres. This is exactly the aspect which is common with transitory or mixed representations. Namely, the mediating role between human and zoomorphic spheres of life may have appeared in the representation of figurines with both human and zoomorphic, both realistic and imaginary characters. This may have also meant the connection between two worlds, the physical sphere, and the hidden principle, which was apparently an equally important reality in the Neolithic. In contrast to the negative result in searching a distinct borderline between human and animal representations, however, it is of essential importance to record that all these finds were almost hundred percently used within settlements. Some of them were found inside dwelling houses together with other types of cult objects. Most came from pits - some from bothroi, but the overwhelming majority from refuse pits, like the Zalaszentbalazs lid handle. To sum up, we cannot sharply distinguish the interpretation of human and zoomorphic figurines. However, the fact that almost the entire amount of Neolithic cult objects comes from settlements and specifically from inside domestic houses and pits surrounding these houses, is a point that can aid us greatly. The real scene of Neolithic cult activities must have taken place inside domestic houses, and not in "sanctuaries". Recently, a settlement was unearthed in Macedonia, which seems to reinforce the assumption of cult corners in dwelling houses and communal buildings instead of "sanctuaries". The domestic houses of the site Madjari consisted of finds of every day activities, and also cult objects grouped in one corner of the houses. In the middle, a larger building was erected that may have served other puiposes, and did not contain the typical cult objects of the settlement (SANEV 1 9 8 8 ; LASOTA MOSKALEVSKA - SANEV 1 9 8 9 ) . This means that most of these rituals must have been a family affair, rather than a communal activity. At this point, I must confess that current knowledge of Neolithic cult activities is still rather scant. It is possible to try to reconstruct some elements of the Neolithic ritual. Firstly, the objects were undoubtedly used. We do not know where they were used, how or exactly which objects were used when or what the essence of the activities were. We can try to reconstruct some elements of these activities, but we must always remain technical and avoiding to make guesses about their exact religious content. This seems to be more constructive than fitting the sporadically-known elements into a previouslymade system. First of all, this lower, technical level employs archaeological methods in a coherent way. Secondly, the reconstruction of the activity allows for certain changes in the religious background, which in fact may have altered through the long centuries of the Neolithic and Chalcolithic. And finally, this more rigorous approach may offer a larger scope for further research, in the hope of a better understanding of these objects in the future.
Sources of Illustrations
Fig. Fig. Fig.
1. 2. 3.
Muldava (Bulgaria) (TODOROVA - VAJSOV 1 9 9 3 ) Jasa Tepe (Bulgaria) (TODOROVA 1 9 7 8 ) Zalaszentbalazs (Hungary) (BANFFY 1 9 9 8 ) Santovka (Slovakia) (PAVUK 1 9 9 4 ) Bosovice (Czech Republic) (PODBORSKY 1 9 8 9 ) Santovka (Slovakia) (PAVUK 1 9 9 4 ) Santovka (Slovakia) (PAVUK 1 9 9 4 ) Lanycsok (Hungary) (KALICZ 1 9 9 0 ) Porodin (Yugoslavia) (GRBIC 1 9 6 0 ) Jakovo/Kormadin (Yugoslavia) (TASIC 1 9 7 3 ) Crkvine (Yugoslavia) (TASIC 1 9 7 3 ) Jakovo/Kormadin (Yugoslavia) (TASIC 1 9 7 3 ) Zorlent (Romania) (LAZAROVICI 1 9 7 9 ) GorniPasarel (Bulgaria) (GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 2 ) Rudna Glava (Yugoslavia) (JOVANOVIC 1 9 8 5 ) Rudna Glava (Yugoslavia) (JOVANOVIC 1 9 8 5 ) Vadastra II (Romania) (MATEESCU 1 9 6 2 ) Predionica (Yugoslavia) (GALOVIC 1 9 5 9 ) Vinca (Yugoslavia) (STANKOVIC 1 9 8 6 ) Gradesnica (Bulgaria) (NIKOLOV 1 9 7 4 ) Tordos (Romania) (ROSKA 1 9 4 1 ) Tru§e§ti (Romania) (DUMITRESCU 1 9 6 8 ) Aszod (Hungary) (KALICZ 1 9 8 5 ) Crnokalacka Bara (Yugoslavia) (TASIC - TOMIC 1 9 6 9 ) Megali Vrysi (Greece) (GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 2 ) Vinca (Yugoslavia) (GIMBUTAS 1 9 8 2 ) Gomolava (Yugoslavia) (PETROVIC 1 9 8 6 ) Fafos II/Kosovska Mitrovica (Yugoslavia) (GIMBUTAS 1
Liubcova-Ornita (Romania) (LUCA - DRAGOMIR 1 9 8 7 )
Fig. 4 . Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig. Fig.
5. 6. 7. 8. 9.
Fig. 10. Fig. 1 1 . Fig. 12. Fig. 1 3 . Fig. 14. Fig. 15. Fig. 16. Fig. 17. Fig. 18. Fig. 19. Fig. 2 0 . Fig. 2 1 . Fig. 2 2 . Fig. 2 3 . Fig. 2 4 . Fig. 2 5 . Fig. 2 6 . Fig. 2 7 . Fig. 2 8 . Fig. 2 9 .
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