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The Butmir Culture

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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Topic: The Butmir Culture
    Posted: 08-Feb-2006 at 23:16
the BUTMIR culture



This is my first thread in this section and archeology is a field I know very little about. So, please bear with me - most of the information in this thread in this thread will be copied directly from other sources. The sources are Wikipedia, RootsWeb, The Institute for the Protection of Cultural-Historical and Natural Heritage of Sarajevo County, Ooparts.

The Butmir Culture was a culture in Butmir, near Ilida, Bosnia and Herzegovina, dating from the neolithic period.
Butmir is about 10 km west of downtown Sarajevo, and this neolithic culture is named after it. It is characterized by its unique pottery, and is one of the best researched European cultures from 2600-2400 BC.



Several sites, dating as far back as sixth millenium B.C., have been excavated in the region of central Bosnia - between rivers Bosna, Vrbas and Neretva.

The Butmir Culture was discovered in 1893, when Austrio-Hungarian authorities began construction on the agricultural college of the University of Sarajevo. Various traces of human settlement were found dating to the neolithic period. Digs were begun immediately, and lasted between 1893 to 1896.



Their findings were published in two volumes (1895 and 1898). In 20th century several other sites were discovered, and most important ones are: Obre (10 km east from Kakanj), Okoliste (10 km southeast from Kakanj), Nebo (15 km northeast from Turbe) and Lisicici(near Konjic). Archaelogical findings on these sites were dated from 5300-4200 years B.C. and it was confirmed by radiocarbonation.

Neolithic people lived in river valleys with fertile land, in rectangular, two-room houses of wooden construction, clay walls and straw roofs. One of the rooms had oval shaped stove built of clay on a branch construction.

Abundance of decorated pottery was found, as well as flint, bone and stone tools. Pottery decoration was mostly spiral, but other geometrical shapes were present as well. Area in front of the stove was wood covered, while space behind stove was probably used as working area. Pits beside stoves were used to collect ashes, possibly to wash cloth with it. Human figures found in central Bosnia are specific by neatly combed hair, long noses and were mouthless.



The finds caused a buzz among archeologists worldwide. They were largely responsible for the International Congress of Archeology and Antrophology being held in Sarajevo in August of 1894. The most impressive finds were the unique ceramics, which are now found in the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Certain characteristics of the Butmir pottery designs made some suggest a connection to the Minoan culture on Crete. Of course this was during the same time that some suggested Troy was found in the Neretva river valley, and overwhelming modern opinion is that the Butmir people were a unique culture of their own in the Sarajevo area.

The culture disappeared during the Bronze Age, most likely conquered by the Illyrians who settled the area at the time. The Illyrian tribe who occupied the area after them were the Daesitates.
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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2006 at 23:20
"Sometime it was safer to live on a hill, at other times in the valley. The neolithic inhabitants of the valley of Sarajevo first settled the plain of Butmir. Their interesting culture was based on the elements - earth, water, and fire. Simple transformation of basic substances brought them houses and food and vessels and ornaments.

There is no doubt that these figurines were shaped by people of extraordinary artistic culture by the standards of their time - but also satisfying the most refined tastes of the man of our time.

Watching these mysterious faces means trying to uncover thousands-of-years old secrets. Trying, and most likely not suceeding. One must satisfy ones' self with beauty, and the beauty is almost always in the secret."

- Ilidza District Board of Tourism brochure.
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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 08-Feb-2006 at 23:26
The section of the National Museum of Bosnia and Herzegovina dedicated to the Butmir Culture:






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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2006 at 00:53

The origins of the Butmir Culture can be seen from an established local form of the Late Starcevo Culture which originated further east, but influenced by another local culture called the Danilo-Hvar Culture, and by a painted pottery tradition from southern Italy.

Its demise by about 4200 BC was the result of cultural displacement further east caused by the first inroads of Kurgan peoples, which forced the possessors of the Vinca Culture of the central Balkans to be pushed further west into Hungary, Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia, becoming the Balaton-Lasinja Complex.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2006 at 05:03
Well, I have problems with both chronologies: the one that places Butmir (often grouped with other East-Adriatic cultures in the Hvar-Lisicici-Butmir complex) as contemporary of Minoans and the "long chronology" of Sharruking that brings everything back by one or two thousand years.

According to my data, Butmir and its relatives are descendant (local evolution) of Cardium Pottery, via the intermediate pahes of Danilo-Kakanji. It is influenced by Vinca but never replaced by this one or any derivate.

The Hvar-Lisicici-Butmir phase belongs to the Late Neolithic (4000-3500 BCE) and it evolves (wthout replacement) into what used to be called Nakovanska Kultura, which continues into Chalcolithic, till it is eventually repalced by Vucedol culture with the advenement of Bronze age.

I imagine that, unless chronologies have been reviewed, what happens is that the Nakovanska and even Vucedol artifacts are now called by local names in benefit of the new nationalist felings of the area (which fit badly in ancient times). It seems also a trend in these times to divide cultural complexes in smaller (often of one single site) units and call them "cultures".

If this is the case the artfacts that are shown as "Butmir" would belong maybe to Vucedol culture, which is the only logic thing, according to the dates.

The figurines look very "Cycladean" - what would also fit with the given chronology of the early Bronze age. Guess we therfore are before a Vucedolian facies of cycladean influences or a diferent culture that is not Vucedol nor Aegean but something local.


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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2006 at 05:23
Just for comparison. Some artifacts of chronologically related cultures:

Vucedol (centered in Slavonia):

   

Cycladic culture (Aegean):

 

Something from the Hvar (Hvar-Lisicici-Butmir) period (4000-3500 BCE):



You can see it's still clearly Printed-Cardium style...

Something from Vinca (centered in Serbia between 5000-3500):

 

Haven't found anything on Nakovanska (Adriatic Balcans in Chalcolithic) nor Bubanji-Hum (Serbia in Bronze age)

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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 09-Feb-2006 at 23:54

Butmir according to the article reproduced by Mila actually reflects the chronology of my sources.  According to my sources, late Vinca Balaton-Lasinja, is succeeded by Baden-Kostalac (c. 3400-2800 BC) which in turn was succeeded by Vucedol (c. 2800-2200 BC) in Bosnia.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10-Feb-2006 at 01:53
2600-2400 BC


That chronology is Bronze age! Am I missing something?

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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 04:03

According to calibrated carbon-dating, the results were the following for Vucedol itself:

Baden Phase

3338, 3307, 3213, 3235, 3203, 3177, 3163, 3134, 3112, 3110, 3034, 2915 BC.

Date ranges from 3338 to 2915 BC.

Vucedol Phase

2915, 2913, 2880, 2877, 2862, 2855, 2824, 2814, 2800, 2798, 2782, 2780, 2738, 2728, 2712, 2708, 2695, 2679, 2665, 2657, 2640, 2630, 2619 BC

Date ranges from 2915 to 2619 BC.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 04:42
Baden is not Vucedol...

And my dates are more "modern" (c. 2900-2400 for Baden)  - you know perfectly that there are diferent chronologies depending who's writing...

But, anyhow, how do you put together Butmir culture of the 5th milennium with 2600-2400 dates? That's not just a divergence of chronologies... but a totally diferent thing.

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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 12:23
Perhaps the same culture spanned many eras? It seems to me the Butmir Culture inhabited the valley of Sarajevo from the earliest times we can measure to the arrival of the Illyrians.
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 12:47
Originally posted by Mila

Perhaps the same culture spanned many eras? It seems to me the Butmir Culture inhabited the valley of Sarajevo from the earliest times we can measure to the arrival of the Illyrians.


That would be a recosntruction in the line I mentioned before: instead of counting cultures by regions, counting them by localities - but I don't support that system... unless it's strongly justified. It makes impossible to gather anything cohesive.

It's like saying that there's no "American" culture despite the many McDonalds and other characteristic findings, but that there is a New York culture, an Albany culture, a Boston  culture, a Pittsburg culture, etc.

It makes no sense to me. It's better to gather them in greater comprehensive and realistic cultures and the treat each site and facies as separate when needed.

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  Quote Mila Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 13:03
Oh I don't mean to say they're not a part of a wider group spread throughout this area of the Balkans and perhaps farther - it would be impossible they grew out of the soil in the Miljacka Valley, and odds are they didn't leave Africa thousands of years ago on their own and stay together, without any interaction with other humans, until settling here.

I just mean perhaps the timelines don't add up just because they were here for so long. It could be like saying, "No, the Americans didn't exist between 1900-2000, our relics are from 1700-1800!".
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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 16:10
I don't mean that either: I just want to make up my mind to what that museum is talking about. Their terminology seems confusing.

I am aware, as you know, that the Eastern Adriatic region (Dalmatia, Bosnia, Montenegro and coastal Albania) held a continuous local culture till it was apparently absorbed by the IE Vucedol influence in the early Bronze age (or maybe it wasn't - I wish I knew)

That region is at the origin of the European Mediterranean Neolithic of the Cardium Pottery, being home (the coasts) to a stirpe of sailor-fishermen that brought agriculture to Italy and parts of France and Spain.

Later it evolved on its own, keeping that Medterranean rooting and also being in connection with other Balcano-Danubian influences, in a time that the region was the richest and most developed part of Europe.

I just wanted to fit what the Museum shows with what I already know.

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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 11-Feb-2006 at 20:03

Baden is not Vucedol...

No, but Vucedol succeeds Baden. 

And my dates are more "modern" (c. 2900-2400 for Baden)  - you know perfectly that there are diferent chronologies depending who's writing...

And you know as well as I do that such chronologies depend on such calibrated dates.  Remember, calibrated dates are corrected dates, hence my data must be more "modern".

But, anyhow, how do you put together Butmir culture of the 5th milennium with 2600-2400 dates?

First of all, the article cited by Mila gives more than two sets of dates.  First it dates the culture "from the Neolithic Period".  It then gives the Butmir floruit as 2600-2400 BC (or does it?).   If you read it again there is room to interpret the sentence to mean that it is "one of the best researched European cultures" from those dates.  Those dates could be some break-off point to better documented cultures, howbeit but written quite clumsily.   Next is a caption of a Butmir artefact dated to "around 3500 BC".  It then gives the dating of several sites to "the 6th millennium BC".  Finally it gives the dating of those sites specifically as "from 5300-4200 years BC" which agrees exactly what I have for the floruit of the Butmir Culture. 

For the calibrated dates for the site of Obre during the Butmir culture, I have:

5206, 5190, 5151, 5150, 5058, 5056, 5032, 5029, 4998, 4958, 4949, 4937, 4917, 4907, 4900, 4870, 4869, 4837, 4835, 4821, 4817, 4803, 4799, 4784, 4780, 4774, 4772, 4759, 4728, 4673, 4660, 4648, 4632, 4624, 4590.

Date ranges from 5206 to 4590 for Obre (II) alone.

My source thus dates the Butmir Culture to (c. 5300-4200 BC), just like in the conclusion of the article.

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13-Feb-2006 at 07:29
Vucedol is IE-dominated, Baden is still 100% Danubian.

The datations don't seem to depend only calibrations but system of calibrations, etc. My dates are calibrated too, else they would be older than yours.

Anyhow, almost any time I find a serious site on any European prehistory issue, their dates correspond to those of mine. So guess your source has a systematic error. For example just a button: http://www.comp-archaeology.org/Central_European_Neolithic_C hronology.htm

  • Early Neolithic: 6400-5000 (identical to mine)
  • Middle Neolithic: 5000-4200 (mine: 5000-4000)
  • Late Neolithic: 4200-3200 (mine: 4000-3500)
  • Chalcolithic I: 3250-2750 (mine: 3500-3000)
  • Chalcolithic II: 2800-2400 (mine: 3000-2400)
  • Chalcolithic III: 2600-2000 (mine: 2400-1800)
(All dates are calibrated BC)

Look elsewhere, if you wish.

___

My source thus dates the Butmir Culture to (c. 5300-4200 BC), just like in the conclusion of the article.


I rad much more recentd dates of the second milennium. I must be missing something...

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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 15-Feb-2006 at 01:56

Vucedol is IE-dominated, Baden is still 100% Danubian.

No way!!!  Baden burials definitely show Kurgan elements.  Animal (including horse) and human sacrifice in ritual burials; models of four-wheeled carts; stratified burials of males surrounded by females and children.  In physical type, in addition to the local Mediterranean type from the Vinca substratum, also a steppe type.  Depending on distribution, the local Mediterranaean type was predominant, but in other locations, it was the steppe type which predominated.  Some areas were agricultural, others were pastoral.   Baden was a mixed culture.

The datations don't seem to depend only calibrations but system of calibrations, etc. My dates are calibrated too, else they would be older than yours.

Please explain "system of calibrations".  "Calibrations" merely mean a process of determining "true age" taking in both radiocarbon dating and dendrochronology into account.  "True age" dates are usually accurate to about a century. 

Anyhow, almost any time I find a serious site on any European prehistory issue, their dates correspond to those of mine. So guess your source has a systematic error. For example just a button: http://www.comp-archaeology.org/Central_European_Neolithic_C hronology.htm

  • Early Neolithic: 6400-5000 (identical to mine)
  • Middle Neolithic: 5000-4200 (mine: 5000-4000)
  • Late Neolithic: 4200-3200 (mine: 4000-3500)
  • Chalcolithic I: 3250-2750 (mine: 3500-3000)
  • Chalcolithic II: 2800-2400 (mine: 3000-2400)
  • Chalcolithic III: 2600-2000 (mine: 2400-1800)

(All dates are calibrated BC)

Nevertheless, the chronology I've adopted dates "Chalcolithic" (i.e. "Eneolithic") much earlier using calibrated dates.  My ultimate source is Stuiver and Reimer, Radiocarbon 28, 1022-1030, 1986.  It "is the internationally recommended calibration curve", (Mook, 1986).  It is obviously still being used based on the following site:

http://apar.archaeology.ro/so_artrjaeng.htm

 

 

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  Quote Maju Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 16-Feb-2006 at 22:00
Apart of the issue of Baden, to which I'll return later on when I have recopilated more info (I understand that Baden is a transforamtion of Lengyel and other cultures via Boleraz, which is not IE at all - though it's most mysterious)...

You can see that serious archaeologists don't use your reference. I am unable to determine why... maybe "my" archaeologists are all ignorants and you are right... or maybe it's just the other way around... or more possibly it's a difference of criteria that, I don't know you, but I am unable to clarify.

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  Quote Sharrukin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17-Feb-2006 at 01:30
I can at least agree that there may be criteria which each "school" uses which eludes the two of us.   At the very least, J.P. Mallory's The Encyclopedia of the Indo-Europeans uses the "long calibrated chronology". 
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