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Some regards concerning the Monteoru culture 



            In spite of huge archaeological information from settlements and cemeteries there are some unsolved problems concerning the Monteoru culture. About half a century ago the beginnings of Monteoru culture represented by the layer Ic4, in the hilly region of northern Walachia had been considered as contemporaneous with the Glina culture from the plain region. Two decades later some scholars tried to identify the "Odaia Turcului" group as a new archaeological phenomenon before Monteoru culture and after the Glina culture. But actually the finds from the settlement Odaia Turcului are identical with those from the level Ic4-1/2 from Sarata Monteoru as could be see in the published materials from the eponymous site, the confusion becoming clear. The stratigraphical observations made in the last years in Naeni-Zanoaga settlement confirmed the same fact adding, as a new element, an older level, called Zanoaga Ia-b on whom bottom were discovered several potsherds with analogies in the ware of so called Zabala type as in Glina pottery. Very significant is also the fact that the whole coarse pottery belonging to the levels Zanoaga Ia-b and Zanoaga IIa-b (= Ic4-1/2) was made from a mixture of clay mixed with crumbled shells like in the Late Tripolje area. In several settlements from the hilly region of northern Walachia were discovered potsherds of Cucuteni B type some times mixed with so called Cernavoda I potsherds. The area in which this kind of pottery was discovered is superposed by the area of early Monteoru (Ic4-1/2 type) from the river Dâmbovita till the middle Siret, at Poiana. An odd group with similar pottery is the so called "Edinet culture" at about 250 km farther toward NE on the left bank of Prut. In the same region with early Monteoru discoveries from long time are known several slab-cist graves, in some of whom were discovered askos like cups. This kind of cups has similarities in the Zimnicea pottery. The slab-cist graves from northeastern Walachia are in good relation with the similar tombs belonging to the Globular Amphorae Culture discovered in north Moldavia. Considering the radiocarbon dating for Late Tripolje, Zimnicea and Globular Amphorae cultures is possible to outline a terminus post quem for the beginning of Monteoru culture at about 3000 BC. Radiocarbon dates for catacomb graves, Mnogovalikovaja and Noua cultures are also used to outline a general frame for an absolute chronology of Monteoru culture in five intervals as follow: A - between 3000-2500 BC, in which the Monteoru culture has made its appearance as we could see in the levels Zanoaga Ia-b. It is the time with some relations with Zimnicea area and late Jamnaja barrow tombs. Toward the end of this interval one could observe relations - flint arrowheads, some stone implements - with the catacomb graves. B - 2500-2200 BC is the time in which the Monteoru pottery is changed in a significant way expressed in the new style called Ic4-3/Ic3. Two 14C dates for levels Ic3 and Ic2 provided from Sarata Monteoru settlements, however contradictorily, state de placement of both data in this span of time. It seems that soon after 2500 BC the Monteoru communities began to have exchange relations with the area of Mnogovalikovaja culture as could be seen in the cemetery from Cândesti. C - 2200-1900 BC, just on the beginning of this interval can be placed a skeleton grave with a bronze collar and a Ic1 type two handled cup from Cârlomanesti, the whole interval corresponding with the periods Reinecke A1 and 2 from Central Europe. After a short time corresponding to the so called phases Ic1-Ib, in the Monteoru area appears the style/phase Ia followed, in the last part of the interval, by the phase/style IIa. D - 1900-1600 BC is the interval characterized for the Monteoru culture by the pottery style IIa and perhaps the first part of which some scholars called phase IIb. E - After 1600 BC is the time during which in the former eastern area of Monteoru culture appears Noua culture as expressed in the cemetery from Balintesti-Cionagi and the first level from Gârbovat settlement.. In the same time in hilly region of Walachia the Monteoru communities survived as could be seen in the last level from Naeni-Zanoaga -Cetatea 1 where typical IIb pottery appear mixed with Noua elements.

    The present chronological frame, which is just an outline, have to be compared with archaeological materials provided by close finds in relations with good stratigraphical sequences, the wished results should been a more satisfactory definition for each Monteoru phase as for the whole culture.