ARCHAEOLOGICAL PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION - ROMANIA
ROMANIAN JOURNAL of ARCHAEOLOGY
 
PROBLEMS OF THE LATE OTOMANI CULTURE IN TRANSYLVANIA1
Nikolaus G. O. BOROFFKA
Romanian version

Evolution from spirals to channeled-knob motives in the Otomani culture
Endnotes
Literatur

A first partition into phases for the Otomani culture was proposed by I. Ordentlich in 1970, valid on the territory of modern Romania2. His sequence was based on his own older work3, the studies by J. Hampel4, K. Horedt et al.5, A. Mozsolics6, I. Nestor7, D. Popescu8 and M. Roska9, as well as the stratigraphies from Otomani "Cetățuia", Otomani "Cetatea de pământ", Sălacea, Socodor, Tószeg, Vărșand and others. He concluded three phases (I-III), which he dated to the Early (I = Reinecke A1-A2), Middle (II = Reinecke B1-B2; transition II-III = Reinecke B2-C) and Late (III = Reinecke C-D) Bronze Age. I. Bóna later10 came to a similar tripartite chronology, using mostly hungarian finds. A short time after this T. Bader again treated the evolution of the Otomani culture in his dissertation on the Bronze Age in northwestern Romania11. In general he accepted the model of Ordentlich, but added a last phase, IV, which he dated to the Reinecke D period of the Bronze Age on account of connections to the groups of Berkesz-Demecser12, Egyek13 and Hajdúbagos14. This last stage has not been generally accepted and some of the finds attributed to this phase by Bader have now been placed in new cultural groups15. The understanding of the situation in the developed Middle Bronze Age and in the Late Bronze Age of western Romania and eastern Hungary has been further complicated by the proposal of the cultural groups Bădeni III-Deva16, Biharea17, Csorva18, Igrița19 and Pișcolt-Cehăluț20. Since most of these phases and "groups" have several common aspects I would like to follow just two details here, under special consideration of the transylvanian material21. On the one hand I mean an arcade and curve motive, that appears in the developed Otomani culture and, secondly, a certain kind of channeled knobs, which may also be explained from Otomani tradition.
The first decoration that is presented here consist of incised arches and curves, whose corners are filled with hatching. The ornament is mostly found on open bowls with an outward curved profile. The arches, with long points, usually begin on the shoulder of the vessel and stand in opposition to inverse curves on the lower part of the bowls (fig. 1; fig. 2). The rim is often drawn to four small lobes, such as are well known in the carpathian tumular culture and the Piliny- and Cruceni-Belegiš-cultures22. This fact already gives a chronological position in the stage Hänsel MD III (= Reinecke B2, Mozsolics B III/IV) or later. In the Otomani culture bowls with this arcade motive are known from phase III in the eponymous settlement of Otomani "Cetatea de pământ" (fig. 1, 1)23. Other examples from clear Otomani contexts have been found in Andrid A24, Békés25, Gáborján-Csapszékpart - layers II-III26, Tiream (fig. 2, 3) or Vărșand27. The ancestors of this decoration may be seen in isolated hatched arches or curve (sometimes in combination with spirals), which also appear on other pottery forms in older Otomani phases28, so that there can be no doubt concerning their origin in the Otomani culture. Further south, in the Mureș culture, fragments of imports are known from the latest layer at Pecica (fig. 2, 5)29, whose late date (Reinecke C-D) is among others, confirmed by the stratigraphical position and the combination with sherds decorated with small pits surrounded by dots30. Wether this type of bowl (including the specific decoration) was still used in phase IV of the Otomani culture does not become clear from these finds. This is indicated, however, by some imported examples in Transylvania, where fragments of this type have been discovered in contexts with Wietenberg C and D pottery31. I refer to the sites of Aiton "Locul lui Poțu" (fig. 1, 2-3), Ciceu-Corabia (fig. 1, 4. 7-9. 11; 2, 11), Derșida - layer 5 (fig. 2, 4), Deuș32, Deva33, Gilău (fig. 2, 6), Gârbău (fig. 2, 2. 7. 9), Lopadea Veche (fig. 2, 8), Măhăceni34, Mintiu Gherlii (fig. 1, 12), Nicula (fig. 1, 10), Straja "Fîntîna Barnii" (fig. 2, 10), Unirea (fig. 2, 1) and Viștea (fig. 1, 5-6). The beginning of the Wietenberg C stage, partly synchronous with Otomani III, should be sought at the transition from Reinecke B2 to C, while the Wietenberg D stage, parallel to Otomani IV and the Igrița-complex, exists well into the Reinecke D periode35. The bowls with arcade and curve decoration should then be dated into the stages III and IV of the Otomani culture and the time of Reinecke B2 until D (beginning?). This chronological position corresponds to the general view taken by the romanian archaeologists, but seems too late in comparison to the opinions in Hungary and Slowakia36. One possible explanation for this would be a survival of Otomani-forms in an area, where finds of the Tumulus culture hardly appear37, since the bowl type discussed here is spread only along the eastern and southern edge of the older Otomani distribution (fig. 7). We may also mention, that in some of the romanian sites, the late Otomani material is connected with vessels that clearly show influences of the Tumulus culture (fig. 4, 1a-b; 5, 1a-c)38.
The second aspect, I wish to treat on this ocassion is detemined by channeling and channeled knobs. The transylvanian material, which is my starting point, again comes from contexts with Wietenberg C and D pottery, partly the same contexts as the arcade-decorated bowls discussed above: Bădeni (fig. 3, 5)39, Chintelnic (fig. 3, 3; 5, 3-4), Cicău (fig. 4, 2), Ciceu-Corabia (fig. 4, 1a-b. 3-5. 7. 9. 11. 13), Cluj "Mănăștur"40, Cluj "Someșeni" (fig. 4, 6), Corpadea (fig. 3, 1), Cugir41, Deuș42, Deva (fig. 3, 2)43, Hunedoara (fig. 3, 8)44, Măhăceni45, Nicula (fig. 5, 8. 10. 12), Unirea46 and Viștea (fig. 3, 6-7. 9). The motive this time is not limited to bowls, but also appears on one-handled cups or larger vessels. The ornament evolved from older spiral-knobs of the Otomani culture. The development from spirals in phases I-II to spiral-knobs in phases II-III, knobs with channeled arches above in phase III (-IV) to knobs with channeled curves below in phase (III-) IV (fig. 6) may be followed logically47. In the actual distibution area of the Otomani culture such late channeled knobs may be found at Békés "Várdomb"48, Cehăluț49, Crasna50, Otomani "Cetatea de pământ"51, Pișcolt52 , Streda nad Bodrogom53, Suplacu de Barcău54, Tiszaalpár55 and Vărșand56. A separation of this pottery from the Otomani culture, as has been sometimes done in Hungary (and is sometimes still sustained) or results, even more unfounded, from the proposal of the Pișcolt-Cehăluț and Bădeni III-Deva groups, appears absolutely unnecessary and even creates the false image of interruptions in a continuous cultural development. Further south similar finds come from Sântana (fig. 5, 2a-b. 5)57 and the settlement of Susani "Deluț"58, where they are placed in the later part of the Bronze Age. The high foot of the bowl from Sântana is quite interesting in this respect, since it also has ancestors or analogies further north in Tiszafüred59, Streda nad Bodrogom60 and Šafarikovo61. The material from Egyek, Hajdúbagos and Berkesz-Demecser contains pottery identical to that discussed here62 and could perhaps be included in the late phase of the Otomani culture, that I consider characterised by the dominance of channeled decoration. For the dating of this phase, especially the knobs with channeled curves below, I may again point to the connection with late Wietenberg pottery and vessels with dot-surrounded pit ornaments. Some other elements of the pottery from the mentioned sites also indicate a late date, such as the horizontal channeling on the conical neck of larger vessels (fig. 4, 4. 10), that will become typical in the early Hallstatt period63. Contacts to the Tumulus culture (see above) and to the Piliny culture, as may be observed in the vessels from Ciumești - grave 6 and from Otomani "Cetatea de pământ"64, confirm the late position of these finds. The discoveries from Egyek, Hajdúbagos and Berkesz-Demecser are generally accepted as late65. Finally the chronological position is underlined by the bronze objects from Crasna66 and Suplacu de Barcău67.
Summarising, just the two elements discussed here demonstrate that the Otomani pottery continued its evolution during the Koszider period and probably even after that. Some details could have contributed to the formation of Final Bronze Age and Early Hallstatt phenomena68. Wether we name these finds as phase IV of the Otomani culture or with other denominations is only a question of terminology. Taking account of the fact that the evolution does not show any radical interruptions, it appears unnecessary and even misleading, to separate the material culturally.
In this respect finally the question may be raised, what exactly we mean archaeologically by "culture", "group", "aspect", "local group", "variant" etc. Two proposals are made by me: firstly we can avoid the problem by simply speaking of ceramic styles (especially since most "cultures" in eastern and south-eastern Europe are only defined by pottery); secondly we should take account of settlement forms, funerary habits, tools and weapons and possibly other aspects (as far as they are seizable spiritual-religious expressions, social structures etc.) when defining "cultures". Only if several of these elements come together and can be defined in a clear temporal and geographical space should we really use the term of "culture". In this order of ideas, isolated objects in foreign cultural surroundings (so-called imports/exports69) can not be used for the definition of the distribution of such cultures.




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Notes
1 The present article is the english version of a paper held at the archaeological conference: Die Otomani-Füzesabony-Kultur - Entwicklung, Chronologie, Wirtschaft. Dukla (Poland), 27-29 Nov. 1997. A part of the material published here could be documented during a research stay in Romania made possible by a Feodor-Lynen grant from the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation, whom I wish to thank for support.
2 Ordentlich 1970; Ordentlich 1970a.
3 Ordentlich 1963; Ordentlich 1965; Ordentlich 1966; Ordentlich 1968; Ordentlich 1969.
4 Hampel 1886.
5 Horedt et al. 1962.
6 Mozsolics 1952. See also Mozsolics 1943.
7 Nestor 1932, 89-92, 109-110.
8 Popescu 1944, 89-99.
9 Roska 1925; Roska 1928; Roska 1930; Roska 1935; Roska 1941. See also Roska 1942.
10 Bóna 1975, 121-170. BónaŽs book was written more than ten years before its publication (Bóna 1975, 7), but is still fundamental today, partly due to the large amount of material presented. Corresponding to the hungarian terminology, he treats the Otomani culture under the name of "Kultur der Spiralbuckelgefäße - Die Gyulavarsánd-Gruppe; Die Füzesabony-Gruppe" ("culture of spiral-knobs - the Gyulavarsánd group, the Füzesabony group"). Both groups could thus be considered as regional variants of one culture. Some confusion was created by the fact, that each of these two groups later was often treated as a separate culture (Bóna 1992, 26-29, 30-32) and an early phase was named, in Hungary, as "Ottomány-culture" (Bóna 1992, 29-30). The problem of the early Otomani/Ottomány culture was also taken up in Romania (Roman 1984; Roman/Németi 1986), but will not be discussed here. See also Bader 1998 and Müller 1999 for recent and comprehensive summaries on the Otomani culture, as well as David 1998 on tell settlements of the Carpathian Basin.
11 Bader 1978, 30-62.
12 Kovács 1967; Kemenczei 1984, 123-127.
13 Kovács 1964.
14 Kovács 1970.
15 I mainly refer to the so-called Pișcolt-Cehăluț group defined by Németi (1978). A part of the Otomani IV pottery (after Bader (B) 1978) was reused by Németi (N) 1978 for this new group: B pl. 31,1 = N fig. 6,7; B pl. 30,18 = N fig. 7,3; B pl. 30,14 = N fig. 7,5; B pl. 31,6 = N fig. 8,2; B pl. 30,19 = N fig. 10,8. See also Kacsó 1990.
16 Rotea 1994. The Bădeni III-Deva group is said to consist of a combination of elements from the last Wietenberg phase (stage D after Boroffka 1994a) and of the late Otomani culture. M. Rotea considers this combination as a new cultural group. See also Ciugudean 1997, 65-97; Ciugudean 1999.
17 Dumitrașcu/Emödi 1980; Dumitrașcu 1983.
18 Trogmayer 1963; Szabó 1996. Against the existence of a separate Csorva group: Boroffka 1994; Nebelsick 1994.
19 Emödi 1979; Emödi 1980; Chidioșan/Emödi 1981; Chidioșan/Emödi 1982; Ignat 1982; Andrițoiu 1983; Chidioșan/Emödi 1983; Kacsó 1990.
20 Németi 1978; Kacsó 1990. See also note 15.
21 A widely distributed ornament common to several of these groups is the small pit surrounded by dots, which has already been discussed by Boroffka (1994).
22 Some examples: Trogmayer 1975, pl. 14, gr. 168,2; 32, gr. 356,4; 34, gr. 388,1; Kovács 1975, pl. 1, gr. 3,3; 2, gr. 18,2; 6, gr. 76,2; 8, gr. 82,2; 10, gr. 104,1; 19, gr. 194,3; 21, gr. 214,2; 23, gr. 247,1; 25, gr. 262,1; 26, gr. 280,1; 28, gr. 294,1, gr. 300,2; Hänsel 1968, pl. 43,2; 48,10.
23 Another vessel is publishd by Bader 1978, pl. 25,10.
24 Bader 1978, pl. 25,9.
25 Banner/Bóna 1974, pl. 33,11; 36,9; 39,3; 40,9; 41,3.14.
26 Máthé 1988, pl. 41,5.
27 Bóna 1975, pl. 138,7 - similar also pl. 139, 10-12.
28 E.g. Banner/Bóna 1974, pl. 10,6; 13,13; 21,7; 45,8; Bader 1978, pl. 17,24-26; 18,5.16; Máthé 1988, pl. 29,2; 36,1; Schalk 1992, pl. 2,6; 15,4.
29 Further examples: Soroceanu 1991, pl. 28,5-6.13; 36,1; 39,6 - similar also pl. 28,9.11; 36,10-11.
30 Soroceanu 1991. On the dating of motives with small pits and surrounding dots see Boroffka 1994.
31 See generally Boroffka 1994a.
32 Lazarovici 1971, fig. 2, 4.6; 5, 1-2.
33 Andrițoiu 1992, pl. 61, 7 (attributed to the Igrița group, where this form however is not known: Chidioșan/Emödi 1982).
34 Ciugudean 1997, 65-97; Ciugudean 1999.
35 Boroffka 1993, 300-301; Boroffka 1994a, 285-288.
36 An afterlife of the Füzesabony-Gyulavarsánd culture in the Koszider period (Reinecke Bz. B-C) is however recently being considered in Hungary as well: Bóna 1992, 32-38 and chronological table p. 40-41. For the early end of the Otomani culture or the tell settlements in general (in spite of accepted cultural continuity) see David 1998 and Müller 1999, each with further literature.
37 Similar to the situation of the latest Wietenberg phase, which is spread only along the western edge of the Noua distribution (Boroffka 1994a).
38 Tumulus culture elements in Transylvania have repeatedly been remarked: Boroffka 1993, 300-301 with older literature in note 39.
39 Here cups were also found, that may be connected to the Tumulus culture: Lazarovici/Milea 1976, pl. 14,3; 16, 4.
40 Rotea 1994, pl. 6,1.5.
41 Unpublished material. I would like to thank Dr. B. Wanzek here for providing drawings.
42 Lazarovici 1971, fig. 3, 17.
43 Further material from various points in Deva was published by Andrițoiu 1992, pl. 61, 1-2.4-5.8 (ascribed to the Igrița group, where such forms are not known: Chidioșan/Emödi 1982).
44 Another vessel was illustrated by Roska (1942, 296 no. 6, fig. 357).
45 Ciugudean 1997, 65-97; Ciugudean 1999.
46 Roska 1942, 167 no. 122, fig. 201, 5.7.
47 This evolution has explicitly been described by Boroffka 1994, 266-268, but already becomes clear in the illustration of Bader (1978).
48 Banner/Bóna 1974, pl. I, 2.
49 Bader 1978, pl. 31, 17.
50 Unpublished material in the Muzeul de Istorie și Artă, Zalău. Only the bronzes from the settlement, underlining a Late Bronze Age date, have appeared in print: Lakó 1987.
51 Bader 1978, pl. 25, 12-16.
52 Bader 1978, pl. 31, 1-2.5.
53 Polla 1960, fig. 4; 8; 10; 12; 14; pl. 4, 4; 8, 1; 9, 3-4; 11, 3.6; 12, 5; 13, 3; 15, 11.5; 17, 6; 18, 3.6; 19, 2; 21, 1; 22, 3; 23, 5; 24, 4; 27, 3; 28, 3-4; 29, 1; 30, 4; 31, 3.6; 32, 3-4; 33, 4.
54 Ignat 1984.
55 Bóna/Nováki 1982, pl. 21, 6-10.
56 Bóna 1975, pl. 138, 4. Similar decoration also in Megyaszó (Bóna 1975, pl. 177, 1.5) and Egyek - Bodajcsoldal (Bóna 1975, pl. 191, 7.9).
57 For Sîntana see also Rusu et al. 1996 and Rusu et al. 1999.
58 Stratan/Vulpe 1977, pl. 27, 4.11-13.17.
59 Kovács 1975, pl. 33, grave 354, 3.
60 Polla 1960. See also note 53.
61 Furmánek 1977, pl. 17, 4.
62 Hänsel 1968, pl. 37, 17-18; Kovács 1970, fig. 4, 17; 7, 6; 8, 5.7; 9, 10.
63 The channeled knobs also continue, in hypertrophic form, into the Gáva culture. See for examples Horedt 1966; Foltiny 1968, fig. 3, 1-4.6; 4, 1; Kemenczei 1984, pl. 129, 1.16; 130, 1-2.7.12; 140, 1; 149, 10; Rusu et al. 1996; Szabó 1996, fig. 49, 1; Rusu et al. 1999. 64 Bader 1978, pl. 26,6.8. Bader mistakenly placed the two vessels in phase IV of the Otomani culture. A stemmed bowl with channeled decoration was found in the Piliny culture grave 25/59 at Šafarikovo: Furmánek 1977, pl. 17, 4.
65 Kovács 1964; Kovács 1967; Hänsel 1968, 146; Kovács 1970; Kemenczei 1984, 123-127.
66 Lakó 1987. An undecorated axe with disc of type B1, variant Ighiel (Vulpe 1970, 73, 76-77) from Crasna can date to the developed Middle Bronze Age, was in use later as well though, as is shown by an examples from Cruceni. The club headed pin with fishbone decoration from Crasna however can not be dated before Reinecke D (see ?íhovskę 1983, 33-36). The, unfortunately still unpublished, pottery from the site is preserved in the Muzeul de Istorie și Artă, Zalău.
67 Ignat 1984. In the houses 1 and 2 several bronze pins were found. Two club headed pins with fishbone ornament, like at Crasna (note 66) cannot be dated before Reinecke D. Two knotted pins of the Velemszentvid type, variant with small disc-head (?íhovskę 1983, 20-21, especially nos. 98-101) may even indicate a much later date.
68 See also Boroffka 1994.
69 The terms import and export are here used in the sense of cultural material which was found in a foreign cultural surrounding, outside its principal distribution area or vice versa. This does not automatically presume commerce, since these materials could also have been gifts, transported or produced by external marriages, in the case of vessels just simply as containers of perishable goods or can have arrived for various other reasons. They only show a contact between different regions at a given time. Very often the intermediate stations can not be identified, not to mention the actual purpose of the "im- or export".

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LITERATUR:
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