The Starčevo Culture, also known as Starcevo-Körös-Criș Culture, was an early Neolithic culture that existed in the North-West region of today’s Bulgaria, as well as parts of modern-day Serbia, Croatia, Hungary, and Romania. It dates back to approximately 6200-4500 BC and is considered one of the earliest Neolithic cultures (First Temperate Neolithic, Old Europe) in the Balkans and Central Europe.
The Starcevo Culture is characterized by its distinctive pottery, which features geometric patterns and linear designs. The people of this culture were predominantly agriculturalists, growing crops and raising livestock. They lived in tiny, rectangular houses made of mud-brick, wattle, and daub with thatched roofs. Additionally, they practiced weaving and made various tools and ornaments from stone, bone, and antler.
Interactions With Other Cultures
The Starcevo Culture developed alongside different Neolithic cultures in the region, such as the Vinča, Karanovo, and Hamangia cultures. Interactions between these cultures likely involved the exchange of ideas, technologies, and resources, contributing to the overall development and expansion of Neolithic societies in the Balkans.
Significant Archeological Findings
Notable Starcevo Culture archaeological sites in Bulgaria include Kovachevo and Karanovo, where discoveries of pottery, figurines, and tools have provided valuable insights into the lives and practices of the people. Pottery from Starcevo is characterized by its simple forms and decorative motifs, often featuring red or white painted designs. Figurines, mainly of female shapes, suggest a connection to fertility rituals or a possible mother goddess cult.
The Starcevo Culture was an early Neolithic culture in the Balkans that significantly developed the region’s prehistory. Its interactions with neighboring cultures fostered the exchange of ideas and resources, while archaeological findings shed light on their daily lives and cultural practices.
Starcevo Culture Naming
The Starčevo culture is often referred to by different names based on geographic areas and cultural variations. The full name sometimes used for this culture is the Starčevo–Kőrös–Criş complex, which covers its expanse over several regions.
- The Starčevo Culture is a term mainly used in Serbia and parts of Croatia and Bosnia.
- Kőrös is the term often used in Hungary.
- The Criş Culture, or Criş River Culture, is a term used in Romania, derived from the Criş River that flows through western Romania.
Each name refers to the same broad cultural group, with variations reflecting local differences within the overall cultural complex. It’s important to understand that archaeological culture names often reflect the location of the initial or most significant finds rather than rigidly defined cultural or ethnic boundaries.
In the context of the Neolithic and Eneolithic (or Copper Age), Starcevo Culture, together with the Cucuteni-Trypillia Culture, and the Vinča culture, are sometimes referred to as “Danube River Cultures”. During the Bronze Age, important cultures such as the Vučedol Culture emerged in the Danube River basin region. And in the Iron Age, the region was home to the Hallstatt and La Tène Cultures, precursors to the Celtic civilization.