SCOPE OF THE THESIS: The scope of the thesis in geographical terms is concerned with
the region east of the Rhine as far as the Dniester basin;it discusses the
earliest agricultural settlements as far north as the lower Rhine,and the
middle courses of the Elbe,Oder and Vistula rivers,and,for comparative purposes,as
far south as central Greece and south -west Anatolia.The study is
concentrated,however,in the basin of the river Danube and its tributaries
which flow from the Alps and the Carpathians.
Chronological,;,the thesis begins with the earliest development
of agriculture in the Near East and ends with the beginning of metallurgy
in the Carpathian area,that is from approximately 7500 b.c. to 3500 b.c.;
however,the study is concerned especially with the earliest agricultural
communities of south -east and central Europe, and the immediate subsequent
development of these, so that chronologically it is concentrated in the
period 4500 - 3800 b.c.
TOPOGRAPHICAL DESCRIPTION: The river Danube rises in the western Alps,i , the region of
south -west Germany known as Wurtternburg;it flows eastwards through a relatively
narrow valley until the "Vienna Gates ", when it is joined by the
large river Morava which flows from the western Carpathians;in its middle
course, the Danube, and its tributary the Tisza, have made an important
lowland basin separating the Alps from the Carpathian :ountains.The middle
course of the river is separated from the lower course by the narrow gorge
ruade by the hard underlying rocks at the "Iron Gates ".Still flowing eastwards,
the Danube separates the eastern Carpathians from the Balkan. range
of mountains of Bulgaria and YuL;oslavia,and flows through a marshy delta
into the Black Sea.
The underlying deposits for much of the length of the Danube
valley and that of its tributaries consist of wind -blown loess, deposited
under periglacial conditions during the late glacial and immediate post - glacial period;leess deposits also occur in the basins of the large rivers,
such as the Brut,Dniester, and southern Bug, which flow from the northern
edge of the Carpathians to an 7: 11lack Sea,aud in the upper basins of the
riversouch as the Elbe,Oder and Vistula,which flow from the northern edge
of the Carpathians to the Baltic and the North Sea.(Butzer, 1965, fig.80).
Loess deposits do not occur south of the Danube basia;except for one or
two large r. ivers 3 such as the Maritsa and Struma in south Bulgaria, aa±d the
Vardar in south Yugoslavia, and the narrow coastal plain of the Aegean coast,
most of south -east _urope(the Balkan peninsular)consists of high bare dry
The middle Danube valley, which is the part referred to the most
frequently in this study, consists of a wide loess plain west of its right
bank known as the Pannonian Plain or Little Hungarian Plain,and a larger loess
plain east of its tributary the Tisza, known as the Great Hungarian Plain
(Alfòld);between the Tisza and the Danube, there is an alluvial area which
was hardly settled in the period with which this study is concerned.
THE NATURAL ENVIRONMENT IN CENTRAL EUROPE: In Europe, east cf the Alps, during the period 5000 - 3000 b.c.,
that is in the Atlantic climatic period(pollen zone VIT a), it is possible
to distinguish two basic ecological regions with differing climates,geology,
The two regions are divided roughly by the Danube below its bend
at Osijek in north Yugoslavia:the central European, north of the Danube,
having a temperate, humid climate;
the south -east Turopean, south of the Danube,
having a sub -tropical, Mediterranean ?humid to sub- humid climate;
a transitional regional in between.
The loess lowlands form one of the conspicuous characteristics of
the geology of the central European temperate region whereas loess is markedly
absent in south -east Europe.Soaaae of the central European loess is still
covered with the rich, fertile, basic chernozem soil;during the Atlantic
climatic period, when the climate was rather wetter than modern times, and
the forest covering was largely preserved, the distribution of chernozem soil
must have been very much greater,as is indicated on many prehistoric sites of
'xcept for the narrow coastal belt of sub -tropical woodland of the
Mediterranean coast, and the high mountain flora, the natural vegetation of
Europe is deciduous and mixed forest;but, because of the differing climatic
and geological background, the density and dominant species of vegetation
vary with each region.
On the loess lands of temperate central Europe although during the
Atlantic climatic Periód the climate was warmer and wetter than at present,
the soil was very permeable, and, in sore' of the drier basins, such as the
Great Hungarian P1aii(Alföld) and the Bohemian- Moravian plain,the loess soils
would have supported open oak woodland ;in the moister loess basins, however,
the natural vegetation would have been thicker oak woodland grading to forest.
(Butzer, 1965,446 -447).
The difference between the two .ecological regions, especially the
Mediterranean woodland and the temperate woodland of the drier loess basins,
would not have been so great as to discourage or impede colonisation from one region to the other ;rather the contrary,in fact:the temperate woodlands must
have seemed to colonists from the Mediterranean region to be a natural continuation
of their native woodlands,with rich soil underneath.
The difference,as Butzer remarks, is "im degree rather than in kind;
especially with increasing latitude.(Butzer, 1965, 449).The winters of temperate
Europe,even in the Atlantic cli matic period,were definitely colder than
those further south,the summers were wtter,and the hours of sunshine per annum
Thus, some form of conscious or unconscious adaptation and response
to the natural environment of temperate Europe was inevitable for colonists
whose economy and material culture had been developed in a more southern
HISTORY OF RESEARCH IN THE PROBLEMS OF THE EARLY PREHISTORY OF CENTRAL AND SOUTH-EAST EUROPE: The first and only prehistory specifically of the Danube valley was written by V.Gordon Childe in 19291this consisted of a synthesis of the material
found in the regions described above, and their interpretation in human terms,
or, as the Americans prefer it,in terms of human dynardics.Such a synthesis has
not been attempted since,even though the mass of material and hypotheses which
accompany it must have increased a hundredfold since then.(Childe,1929).
The various "Chronologies" of Vladimir Milojcié do synthesise the
material of this region to a certain extent, and chronologically correlate the
material of each area;but they could hardly be called prehistory, since very
few aspects of the material culture,besides pottery and other tangible features,
are referred to, and there is very little interpretation of the material in
human terma.(Milojcic, 1949 a.;1959 e, 68 -84).
Although there have been monographs published concerning specific
cultures, such as the Starcevo and Vinca cultures, these have all been based on
a detailed analysis of one region rather than a detailed analysis of the material
of all regions of the culture.(e.g.Garaganin, M.,1951 ;Garaganin D.,1954).
Before these problems and their significance can be understood,
however, it is necessary to provide the background in an analysis of the
Linear Pottery culture itself.For the sake of complete*ess,it has been thought
more satisfactory to include the Linear Pottery cultures of all regions and
phases in this analysis,so that the problems.may be seen in the true perspective
of their relative position in the earlier prehistory of central and south
The first two parts of the'study describe the features of the
material culture of the Linear Pottery cultures as a whole 's in their `suropean
setting,and especially in relation to their prototypes in south -east Europe
and their adaptation in temperate central Europe.
The third part brings together all these features, and arranges
then historically with reference to the internal development of the Linear
Pottery cultures in time and space,and their relationships with each other and
with neighbouring cultures ;this part maybe said to describe the dynamics of the
Linear Pottery populations.
The fourth part represents the original purpose of the thesis,for
which, in effect, the first three parts are the preparatory basis ;this is to
analyse the long -term effect of the Linear Pottery cultures on the subsequent
developments of the later neolithic and even copper -using cultures of southeast
The last two parts are obviously based on specific material from a large number of sites ;it would clearly be unnecessarily laborious, len_gthy,and
of little value to describe this material in detail: ;the text consists of
putting forward the main trends in development and content of the material
culture ;the actual source of evidence is- expressed in chart form and catalogues
at the end of each chapter,and by illustrations and distribution maps at the
. end of the text.