Female Figurine from Eggendorf am Walde (Höbarthmuseum; Horn)

Female Figurine from Eggendorf am Walde, Lower Austria, found during the 1930ies and displayed in the Höbarth Museum at Horn. It is dated to the early Lengyel “culture” at about 4500 BC. The figurine art of the Lengyel complex included numerous animal and human representations: standing or seated females with atrophic head, marked pubis and raised arms (adorants?). Undoubtedly the most famous preserved anthropomorphic statuette of the Lengyel Culture is the “Venus of Falkenstein”, which was painted with black and read colors. Such figurines were often found in the context of rondels and cemeteries which sometimes included animal burials as well. Similar female figurines from the Lengyel complex are known from Untermixnitz in Lower Austria, Langenzersdorf near Vienna and Střelice u Jevišovic in Southern Moravia.

In Central Europe the Lengyel complex was the main successor of the Linear Pottery Culture (LBK) and the Stichbandkeramik. The Lengyel phenomenon flourished during ca. 4800–4300 BC during the Middle Neolithic. It involved locations in western Hungary, Slovak and Czech Republics, Austria and Poland. The eponymous site Lengyel, where from 1882 to 1888 about 90 graves were studied lies in central Hungary in Tolna. The name of the culture was introduced in the early 1920s by Oswald Menghin.

Several phases of the Lengyel are commonly recognized:  the polychrome, dichromatic and unpainted phase. The Painted Lengyel is defined by the presence of white, red, and yellow crusted wares dating to the early 4th millennium; and the Unpainted Lengyel defined by the presence of knobbed and incised pottery dating to the second half of the 4th millennium BC. The culture is characterized by pottery in a variety of forms including bowls, small amphorae, biconical vessels, and pedestalled bowls. Settlements include open sites as well as some large ditched enclosures such as Hluboke Mašûky. All have trapezoidal timber-framed houses. Burials were found in flat cemeteries or within settlements. In the burials of the Lengyel culture the corpses were usually placed in a flexed position on the side. Less frequently the corpses were cremated.

One characteristic feature of the Lengyel culture are “rondels”.With minor differences, the Neolithic earthworks called rondels share a common plan: circular with entrance causeways. First rondels in Central Europe appear during the early fifth millennium BC, during the LBK, but the highest uniformity in their architectural design is shown by those of the Lengyel culture. Their principal features are the single or multiple circular ditches, broken by two or more openings (causeways), which provide entrances to the inner space. The arrangement of the causeways is often symmetrical. Generally there are no traces of structures within the enclosure, or if there are, the buildings avoid the centrepoint.  Rondels are assumed to be multi-purpose , with a preference for a ritual interpretation since in most cases the ditches and causeways show few defensive properties. The case for a ritual function is also strengthened by small figurines unearthed close to or in the rondels. Recently, after having reviewed the orientation of 51 of these rondels, Emılia Pasztor strongly voted for an astronomical interpretation. After her, “rondels may have been the expression of a solar cult, an idea which receives some corroboration from patterns on contemporary pottery”.

Suggested Reading:

http://antiquity.ac.uk/ant/082/ant0820910.htm

http://www.wac6.org/livesite/posters/poster_files/WAC_055_Pasztor.pdf

http://www.huscarl.at/wissenschaft47.php

http://www.urgeschichte.at/news/venus-von-falkenstein

http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/H%C3%B6barthmuseum

 

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