NEW VIEWS ON THE RELATIONS OF THE AEGEAN AND THE NORTH BALKANS

WE have been treated to many variants of the thesis that brings some or all the elements of neolithic culture in Greece from a little-known region north of the Balkans. Recently two versions1 have appeared that surpass their forerunners in profundity and erudition. After intensive study in the principal Greek Museums and visits to Serbia and Hungary, Dr. Frankfort has come to the conclusion that there was a great influx of people 2 from the Danube basin across the Balkans and into Greece about the end of the First (Thessalian) Neolithic Period. This Danubian invasion would have been in a sense a counterpart of one from farther east that brought the obviously intrusive Dimini culture to eastern Thessaly. The clearest proof of their advent that his Danubians have left consists in certain types of carboniferouspottery. But, of course, carboniferouswares are characteristicof the earliest cultural layers in the whole east Mediterraneanregion from the Hellespont to Upper Egypt.3 Dr. Frankfort himself admits this generally accepted proposition as fully as Mr. Forsdyke. He even goes so far as to advance evidence for the existence of a similar tradition in Thessaly itself, coeval with, and perhaps even prior to, the classical neolithic red ware of the First Period. Plainly then black carboniferous pottery per se does not have to be brought from the Danube valley to reach the Aegean area. Considerthen the distribution of the fabrics our author singles out from the mass of black wares as intrusively Danubian in Greece. They are not, like Dimini ware and its Corinthiananalogues, concentrated in and confinedto regions peculiarly exposed to penetration from the north. On the contrary, the types upon which Dr. Frankfort insists, burnish-decorated,ribbed, knobbed and whitepainted wares, are commonest in the sheltered valleys of Phocis and Boeotia. Central Greece is hardly where we should expect to find northern invaders congregated; on the other hand, it is a region where an old tradition might persist longer than elsewhere. And the black wares there might be due to just such a survival. For there is no local stratigraphical authority for the proposal, made by the present writer in 19154 and accepted only with due reserve by Dr.
1 Frankfort, Studies in the Early Pottery of the Near East, ii.; Matz, Friihkretische Siegel. 2 Frankfort, op. cit., p. 42. 3 Even in the very earliest culture of Egypt found at Badari, black carboniferous pottery occurs, and the classical Predynastic black-topped ware is partly carboniferous, as Lucas has recently shown, J.R.A.I., LIX, p. 128. On the distribution of such wares cf. Forsdyke, B.M. Catalogue, Vases, I, i. p. x. 4 J.H.S., xxxv, p. 200. 255

But the distribution of both types north of the Balkans is quite limited. Frankfort and I use the term). Vrsac and Szeged. Frankfort.6 If it were to symbolise Danubians we should have to postulate their influence not only in Malta but even in Spain. and in Moravia copper and spools that can be paralleled at Troy. Conversely the rippled wares of neolithic Crete and the burnishdecorated wares of Syria at least disclose tendencies in the original Mediterranean ceramic tradition from which our specialised varieties might have developed. too. of. Osijek. course not Danubian in the sense in which Dr. lie on the Upper Alt. hatched or punctured.g. where the finds from Middle Danube sites are concentrated. on a culture which might well be proto-Mediterraneanin origin but could only by the wildest stretch of the imagination be termed Danubian. north of the Balkans. The variety found in Thessaly and Central Greece characterised by the application of flattened pellets to the vasesurface is really uncommon in the Middle Danube basin and does not occur at all farther north. (Erosd is. Ribbed ware does eventually reach Central Hungary (Lengyel and Bodrog5 keresztur) and even Czechoslovakia. nor yet among the material from Tordos and other stations in the Maros valley at Cluj (Kolozsvar). Actually the fabric in question seems in all probability to be Anatolian in origin. At Lengyel. iii. At Hagia Marina Dr. 6 There are good examples in Siret's collection at Hererias. the only places I know. where black polished pottery decorated with linear patterns in thin white paint occurs. Indeed. to put the black wares at Hagia Marinaand Orchomenoslater than the red fabrics. where the ware is associated with the ' Black Earth ' culture of Erosd. does not cite a single sherd from any Danubian site. Hence the Central Greek black wares might be regardedas a legacy from a common east Mediterraneantradition. The finds are at Szekszard and Budapest respectively. Frankfort adduces a fifth ware which has for him a Danubian ancestry. the idea that they are developments of a general common tradition is materially strengthened. Dr. I have not seen a trace of it in the Museumsof Zagreb. G. 5 Both sites belonging principally to my Danubian II Period as defined in The Danube in Prehistory. v. Belgrade. There is no doubt whatever of the identity of the burnish-decoratedand ribbed fabrics from Central Greece and from Vinca in Serbia. Frankfort himself contrasts the latter with his Danubian. while the other demonstrably spreads slowly northwards. is illogical. The former is confined to Serbia. To label as Danubian fabrics one of which only just crossesthe Balkans. my Period II-in other words.256 V. Liverpool Annals. Since the very wares under discussion appear also in Anatolia at Yortan and Boz Euyuk. But while at Vinca it appears already in the earliest strata. It is decorated with incised ribbons. Tridacna shells) appear about the same time. at the more northern sites it appears in a phase that must be equated rather with the Middle strata at Vinca. for Maltese sherds cf. Worst of all is the case of the white-painted ware. and even there is far from common. The case of knobbed ware is still worse. . pl. it spreads gradually northward. On the contrary it enjoyed a wide popularity in the western Mediterraneanas far west as Almeria. CHTTLDE Frankfort. Turn now to the wares themselves. new southern imports (e. Dr. elsewhere lavish of references.

7 and they and their decoration often 7 Brunton and Caton-Thompson. p. Prehistoric Egypt.remote date to explain their presence in Crete. and the analogous wares have a wide distribution between the Balkans and the Sudeten in quite early times. context at Knossos. But why stop here ? There are black wares decorated with ribbon patterns in Egypt from Badarian (i. p. So our author has to invoke trade down the Adriatic at that. Pottery Corpus. N. The Badarian Civilisation. and below. But then there are still more Danubian-lookingsherds in a good neolithic FIG. 260.e. .RELATIONS OF THE AEGEAN AND THE NORTH BALKANS 257 In this case the Danubian similarities are really close.-MAP SHOWING SITES MENTIONED. 1. earliest Predynastic) times onwards. Petrie. 23.

not more than one per cent. lvii. p. Neither in the lower levels of Vinca nor at Csoka. for there is not the least ground for assuming Danubian influence on Predynastic Egypt.. 13 Wiener Prdhist.' But since his Studies were composed. In the Danubian II phase we find both types represented by a couple of examples each from Lengyel and cemeteries along the Tisza. therefore. CHTTL)E approximate quite as closely to Danubian patterns as do the Phocian and Cretan.8 In none of these cases. from Lengyel. It is. In fact absence of handles is a feature of all the earliest Danubian ceramics. iv. Ztschr. then.g. the cornerperforations-these stray objects agree exactly with the stone paint-pots so common in the Early Minoan tombs of Crete. 51-4. In it the excavator shows conclusively that the oldest datable specimens of the type on the European mainland belong to a complex that is wholly Anatolian in character. i. 115 and 132. xiii. xxvii. x. Tordos or Klakari. fig. 8. i. p. Liv. size and even details of construction-e. Wiener Prdhist. II. 331.15 8 e. 9 B. Tridacna gigantea.ll Certainly both types occur in the Danube valley. Vaulted Tombs of Mesard.S. (185) Schranil.258 V. 11 Pp. of the Danubian II vessels are thus equipped. nor indeed for supposing that any culture possessed of pottery existed at all in the Danube valley at the remote epoch to which the earliest agricultural settlements on the Nile go back. B6hmens und Mdhrens. pp. the lug alone was known to these early potters. Lengyel. Pis. 12. . As to forms. this first hesitating appearancein the Middle Danube valley coincides with the advent of fresh southern imports represented by Mediterranean or Red Sea 13 shells and of objects unmistakably imitating Aegean models.A. but they appear late. 10 Evans. 3 (Cassis saburon). 9. 37. G. P1.g. XLIV. Fig. Ztschr. 10.12 Though the chances of handlefragments being preserved are disproportionately great. Nos. still less on the gourd-shaped vases of Danubian I in Austria and Czechoslovakia. 3. Wien. In the case of the white-painted ware and the ribbon wares of Predynastic Egypt it is absolutely excluded. Heurtley's report on Vardaroftsa9 has appeared. anthr. p. VII. in Cyprus and in the neolithic layers at Knossos 10we encounter forms that might have sprung from the same (wooden) prototype and that so confirm its Anatolian affinities deduced from its context in Macedonia. Palace. at first sporadically and in a very significant context. Let us note too that cognate designs are by no means unknown east of the Aegean in Anatolia and Syria. 12 Wosinsky. Frankfort relies principally on the 'raking handles. Annals.is a true handle to be found. 15 Xanthudides. 73. Dr. Of the latter I should like to mention cubical or parallelopiped-shapedblocks of clay with one or two round cups excavated in the centre and perforations in the corners. Pls. III. Ges.. 3.. is a Danubian origin as against a derivation from the native east Mediterraneantradition a necessary postulate. pl. X.14 In shape. On the other hand. 14 Mitt. All the datable specimens from the Danube valley that approximate even remotely to our types are attributable to an advanced stage of the local Bronze Age comparable at earliest with the B Period in Macedonia. Moreover. I. surprisingto find the high-handled cup and the tankard cited by Frankfort as Danubian forms. Vorgeschichte (Sitzungsberichte). 1. Archceologia Hungarica. 7.

op. cit. 21 Civilisation of Greece in the Bronze Age. Moreover.20where Danubian influence is scarcely thinkable. P1. II. cit. 18 Childe. (1925) P1.they meet us already fully developed in Danubian II without any obvious local antecedents. cit. The discoveries at Mallia show the motive flourishing on stone and metal work at a time when it was quite rare on pots. P1. Dr. Frankfort rightly insists on the way these motives at all periods luxuriate on the vases north of the Balkans. Tankards.S. accordingly. whose influence in the Aegean will be mentioned again in the next paragraph. more reasonable to regard them as additional instances of that current of south-eastern influence which is so clearly manifested in other objects of the same date. Most Ancient East. A. Dr. In fact these patterns are inspired by wood-carving. our author has concentrated his attention too much on the vases. At the same time Hall21 has very shrewdly pointed out that a similar pattern was current among the Sumerian goldsmiths. 60. Frankfort's forms do indubitably illustrate relations between the Danube area and the eastern Mediterranean. 10. Frankfort adduces the spiral and fretwork patterns as proof of Danubian influence even on the Early Helladic and Early Cycladic cultures. op.g. The spiraland maeandercertainlyhave a strong claim to a Danubian pedigree. Fretwork patterns certainly occur early at Tordos and other kindred Danubian sites. Indeed. 17 16 Syria. But the same technique is applied occasionally to bell-beakers in Spain. Anatolia. Cappadocia and as far east as Susa. it is on stone.. LXXIII.but in a sense opposite to that which he postulates. Finally.-VOL. But perhaps in his estimate of the position of the spiral in Aegean art. T 20 19 .. therefore. though the finest products of their technique belong to the much later Slavonian culture and the full Bronze Age. ivory and metal that the running spiral is best represented E.16 Both in shape and design-notably the 'filled cross '-these agree with types found in larger numbers in Thessaly. It is. p. Later on both types certainly become quite common on the Middle Danube. a. add Childe. where they are certainly pre-Sargonic. The spread of Oriental metal typesspiral earrings with flattened ends as in the Royal tombs of Ur.. XXII. del Castillo Yurrita. La cultura del vaso campaniforme.'for example. But their shapes and the polished black or mottled fabric strongly suggest reinforced Anatolian influence. Schranil.. patterns derived therefrom are intelligible upon it without any appeal to the Danube basin. VI. are typical of the earliest Bronze Age culture at Perjamos and Oszentivan on the Lower Maros. Fig. P1. To the examples enumerated by Matz. 63. while in the Aegean area their role in ceramic decoration before Late Minoan times was very subordinate. op. J. L.H. As Cycladic pottery is profoundly influenced by wood-work. vi.17 The first tentative appearance of high-handled cups and tankards in the Danube valley. coincides with a spread of indubitably exotic products.RELATIONS OF THE AEGEAN AND THE NORTH BALKANS 259 In the same context I might cite the simultaneous appearance in limited numbers and over a restricted area-not farther north than southern Moraviaof clay stamps or pintaderas.18 knot-headed pins as in Troy II and ingot torques as at Byblos 19-confirms that impression.

adduced by Frankfort.' 24 Now this pattern appears. CHTIT)E in Early and Middle Aegean times.g. the motive belonged not so much to the repertory of the vase-painter as to the goldsmith. Xanthudides. Now Dr. 1904.26 Precisely similar imitations continued to be incised on gourd-shaped vessels of black carboniferousware in Nubia till Middle Kingdom times. Soc. as Matz himself points out. 106. Alt-Ithaka. 22 Cf. But this decoration is skeuomorphic in origin. ii. but. p. a peculiar attitude towards the round surface to be decorated. if we admit Danubians in Greece. fig. Schliz 25 concluded from a detailed study of the ceramic material that the Danubian spiral decorationwas sprung from such a band that is often actually seen encircling early Danubian vases. Cat. Vases. b. 10. 25 P. 26 Sophus Muller in Mem. 24 Expressed by lines radiating from the base or centre of the vessel. G. Nord. 3. A28. Matz comes unwittingly to our aid. iii.M. 23 Loc. By Period II at least a cultural current was flowing up the Danube valley. they betoken influence from the south-east. . a. Ath.f. Here he agrees with one of the leading authorities on Danubian pottery. 28 Z. P. for he too regards the spiral as a Danubian element in the Aegean. owing to an eminently excusable want of familiarity with the sadly scattered Hungarian material and a failure to appreciate chronological relations only very recently settled. a zigzag band encircling the vase. and Danubian intervention would be entirely superfluous. he has misinterpreted these. 1906. so that once again. in a mature form on a ribbon-ornamented vase from Predynastic Egypt. 1886. Antiqu. manifests itself. A52. 1920-25. Can the earlier agreements going back to Period I be interpreted in the same sense ? Our analysis of the distribution of burnish-decorated and ribbed wares would certainly favour that view. p. It was inspired originally by the sling of plaited grass in which the primitive gourd vase was carried. i. The alternative. Beilage 2. Pls. XV. 131. XI. etc. Mitt. Matz further contends that the Danubian running spiral belt is only a logical derivative of a simpler motive.. i. Evans.22 It may be that. 237. 51.E. e. can be accepted as unambiguous evidence of influence from the latter quarter upon the Aegean world. cit. He has drawn attention to a number of really significant agreements. Here Dr. To him it is one of the modes in which a specific mentality. In that case the derivation of the Aegean series from the older Sumerian models. but bent to wind up it like screw-threads. IV. we shall have to admit them in Egypt too. But the case of the spiral is crucial.Z. suggested by Hall. as we have demonstrated above conclusively in the case of the high-handled cups and tankards. The late Dr. A58. 342.. I.23 would seem certain. 27 B. Palace.. op. which looks simpler.. is to say that Danubians had an east Mediterraneanmentality. p. and from Yortan we have plentiful examples decorating equally gourd-like pots.Z.. p. Beilage 61.. Relations subsisted. The conclusions of the foregoing analysis are plain: not one of the ceramic parallels between the Aegean and the Danube region. in the Aegean world. but. cit. Another symptom of the same 'Danubian' attitude is the 'torsion motive. Dorpfeld.260 V. A18. 455..27 The gourd ancestry of Danubian pottery had been pointed out long ago by Schliz and Schuchhardt28 and recognised as evidence of southern origin.

our Danubians. by the Egyptian blackwarevase already cited.. through ignorance of manuring and fallowing. Naturally the colonisation of such areas would be a gradual process 29 accomplished. the simplest gourd types of carboniferous wares mark the crest of the first wave. occur 29 I have tried to explain it in more detail in Antiquity. in addition to the gourd pots. op. in Bohemia and Moravia on the north and in Nubia to the south. and south of the Little Carpathians virtually non-existent.for ornaments or amulets by all the Danubian peasants. Hence all the agreements between Aegean and Danubian fabrics can be satisfactorily explained on the assumption that both were descendants of a primitive east Mediterranean stock. by the use of the Mediterranean shell. its claim to the name " Danubian" is plainly undermined. For the same mentality that evoked the transformation has just been shown. in view of the extensive Anatolian penetration along the land route by Early Helladic times demonstrated by Heurtley. Hence the numerous peasant population. Early infiltrations into Macedonia and Mainland Greece from the same quarter would be a reasonable and. had to shift their settlements periodically as the soil became exhausted. agriculture began. 74. who occupied the 1oss lands so thickly by early neolithic times. The long mesolithic epoch is represented only by a minimal number of microliths. the true home of gourd pottery admittedly lies south of the Balkans. We must assume then that the neolithic population of the Danube valley came from the south-east. cit. Now that the " Danubian " spiral has been shown to be derived from a skeuomorphicpattern proper to gourd pottery. of a cross-section through that process after it had already advanced some way. Spondylus gaederopi. While the Aurignacian and early Solutrean phases are well represented even in Hungary and Transylvania. i. They would suffice to explain the resemblances at once to Danubian and to Anatolian wares noted on neolithic fabrics from sheltered corners of Greece and discussed in our first paragraphs. figurines just reach Moravia. 30 On these and their distribution in Asia Minor see Frankfort. The cultural movement up the Danube valley that we have demonstrated in Period II was merely a continuation of an earlier movement that brought the Danubians into the Danube basin. They can only have come from the south-east. When the archaeological record begins effectively.30black only inside and round the rim. a necessary postulate. immediately from Anatolia. we catch a glimpse. On the periphery.RELATIONS OF THE AEGEAN AND THE NORTH BALKANS 261 While gourds do harden to-day as far north as the Hungarian plain. not by a single migration but by a series of waves spreading from an as yet ill-defined centre. must have been for the most part immigrants. as the advance of primitive cultivators who. T2 . remains comparable to the Magdalenian of France are everywhere sparse. whence also the first settlers in Crete had come. it is generally agreed. to be at home in a primitive east Mediterranean complex. however. be maintained in view of Lucas' recent researches. his sharp contrast with Egyptian wares cannot. In south Central Europe an almost complete hiatus separates the upper palaeolithic from the neolithic occupations. from that wide region east of the Mediterraneanwhere. as it were. pp. 64. Nearer the centre particoloured fabrics. Proofs of such east Mediterraneanaffinities are provided.

32 It is plainly a methodological fallacy to treat peripheralregions like Hungary and Serbia as cradle-landswhence the whole culture emanated.. 31 Hubert Schmidt had already compared the latter with Egyptian black-topped ware in Z. 32 Because by this time the continuity of the carboniferous gourd-ware province had been interrupted by the advance of a more Oriental culture represented in Egypt by the Second Predynastic.E. Hence Vinca and Tordos. albeit not the farthest. The intrusion of Dimini culture into Greece presumably caused a similar but only temporary. interruption of continuity in Thrace. CHILDE. . etc. 1903. so well illustrated in Vardaroftsa A. 460. Within a still more circumscribedarea we have the ribbed and burnish-decorated wares. cut-away necks.262 RELATIONS OF THE AEGEAN AND THE NORTH BALKANS sporadically as far north as Vinca. as far back as we can trace them. are outposts. Oradea Mareand Tordos. And close on their heels follow the pure Anatolian types with true handles. V. G. p.31and then throughout Asia Minor to Egypt. of an immense cultural province whose frontiers once reached Upper Egypt.f. They fall into their right place and their complex relations with the Aegean world become intelligible once the original focus be displaced to the south-east as here proposed.. long spouts.

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