The Hamangia Culture emerged during the Neolithic period, dating from approximately 5250 to 4550 BCE. It was mainly situated in present-day Eastern Romania and Eastern Bulgaria, particularly along the western coast of the Black Sea. This culture is notable for its advanced pottery techniques, artistic creations, and well-organized settlements.
Among the significant achievements of the Hamangia Culture were their innovations in pottery, which showcased intricate designs and the use of various materials, including clay and limestone. The characteristic pottery of this culture includes vessels with complex geometric motifs based on spiral design. Forms consist of cups and cylindrical glasses, most with thin walls, adorned with dots, straight parallel lines, and zigzags, making Hamangia pottery very original.
In addition to pottery, the Hamangia Culture is known for its remarkable figurines, particularly the famous clay statues “The Thinker” and “The Sitting Woman,” discovered at the Cernavodă site in Romania. These figurines demonstrate a high level of artistic skill and provide valuable insights into the culture’s social and religious beliefs.
Archaeological findings related to the Hamangia Culture have been discovered throughout Bulgaria, with significant sites in the eastern and southeastern regions, such as Durankulak, Varna, and Devnya. Excavations have uncovered pottery, tools, figurines, and remains of dwellings, offering a comprehensive view of this ancient culture’s daily life, artistic expressions, and architectural styles. Settlements consist of rectangular houses with one or two rooms, built from wattle, sometimes with stone foundations (as in Durankulak). They are typically arranged on a rectangular grid and can form small narratives. Settlements are located along the coast, on lake shores, on lower and middle river terraces, and sometimes in caves.
Interactions With Other Cultures
The Hamangia Culture interacted with other contemporary cultures in the region, such as the Boian, Gumelnița-Karanovo VI, and Varna. This interaction fostered an exchange of ideas, knowledge, and technological advancements, contributing to the development of complex societies during the Neolithic period in the Balkans. The expanding Boian Culture absorbed the Hamangia Culture during its transition to the Gumelnița Culture. It is believed to have resulted from a recent settlement of people from Anatolia, unlike neighboring cultures that seem to stem from earlier Neolithic settlements.
The Hamangia Culture played a significant role in the Neolithic development of the Balkans, particularly in Eastern Bulgaria. Its advanced pottery techniques, artistic expressions, and well-organized settlements provide a comprehensive understanding of this ancient culture and its interactions with neighboring societies.