Consideraţii asupra unei posibile tipologii funcţionale a formelor ceramice cucuteniene specifice fazei A

  • George Bodi (Author)
  • Loredana Solcan (Author)

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Considerations on a Possible Functional Typology of Pottery Shapes Specific to Cucuteni A

The present article is dedicated to the investigation of the possible link between forms and functions of ceramic pots, on the basis of ethnographic analogies. Although the ethnographic material is too limited to allow statistical tests, the validity of the theories this study is based on is certified through identified and used analytical-design parameters, which are supported by cross-cultural observations. Ceramic vessels are designed and manufactured for a particular function, the characteristic morphological parameters being determined by a practical analysis of stability, durability and operational efficiency of the pot. Although this type of analysis cannot accurately determine the utility of a pot originating from an archaeological context, it may allow the establishment of general functional classes, which may constitute an independent set of data to be combined with other evidence of everyday practices of prehistoric populations. By starting from ethnographic data, we examined published inventories of pottery shapes from a series of Cucuteni A settlements; and we were able to identify the possible functions for six specific forms. We thus established, within the group bowls/pots for serving food, two categories: individual and family-size vessels. The function of long-term storage of solid goods can be achieved by two forms of pots: bellied pots and pear-shaped pots, whereas for short-term storage, pots with bellied body and low relief neck are likely to have been used. Cups served to store liquids for a short term, whereas pots with high neck and bellied body could be used both for long-term storage of liquids, as well as for their transportation. For an illustration of the possible applications of this approach to the study of pottery, we chose the settlements of Hăbăşeşti, Drăguşeni, Truşeşti and Târpeşti. After the comparison of the entire ceramic inventory specific to each settlement, we consider that the first three settlements are characterized by a large number of vessels, covering the full range of functionality. The settlement of Târpeşti, however, seems to be characterized by a relative poverty of the ceramic inventory, and we can point out the lack of family-size vessels for serving and eating food, as well as the scarcity of long-term storage containers for liquids and solids. By corroborating these data with those derived from the planimetry of the settlements, we believe that we can argue their division into two functional types. The first three settlements could thus be primary settlements, permanently inhabited by homogeneous communities. The settlement at Târpeşti, however, due to the relative poverty of the ceramic inventory, the small number of dwellings and the location of four of them outside the precincts marked by fortification, allow us to advance the idea that the settlement under discussion was inhabited by a heterogeneous community; the Târpeşti kind of habitation thus shows a rather secondary character. Our concluding remarks imply a high degree of speculation, but their main purpose is to show how the realization of a functional typology for ceramic shapes, in conjunction with a number of other specific data, can lead to a more accurate outlining of some aspects of the behavior of prehistoric communities.

Keywords: Cucuteni A, pottery, functional typology, ethnographic analogies