It is not surprising that Trypillya culture (Tripolie culture), or Cucuteni culture is a complete mystery for many people not only in the world but here in Ukraine to, though it is considered to be one of the most ancient agricultural cultures. It was opened not long ago. It is underexplored and arises more questions, contradictions and arguments than there are answers to them. We will try to prove that not only Romans and Greeks can be proud with the achievements which made their ancestors famous, that the important historical events occurred not only in their territory. The Ukrainian land can also tell many interesting things about the development of civilization on its territory starting since 5400-2700 B.C.
Ukrainian scientists believe that Trypillya civilization is one of the earliest centers of people development in the world. The first traces of Trypillya culture were found by Vikenty Khvoyka, archeologist from Kiev, in 1893. The original excavations were carried out in Kiev in Kirillovskaya Street. In 3 years the large finds were found not far from the village of Trypillya in Kiev region which gave the name to this culture. The origin of Trypillya culture is not known. Earlier it was considered to be the culture of the ancient Aryans or Slavs. Today the scientists suppose that the culture origin is not Indo-European, but they do not know which exactly origin it is. Trypillya culture is surprisingly similar to the culture of Aegean islands and some experts suggest that some time ago the land from Crete to the Dnieper River was a single territory from the culturological and ethnic point of view. Trypillya people is a conventional name, which unites the different tribes, ethnic groups and tribal settlements, which enriched Trypillya culture with their language, knowledge, technologies, traditions and beliefs within two thousand years.
Agriculture was considered to be the main activity of Trypillya people. It is not surprising taking into consideration the fertile black earth, and growing of grain crops, vegetables and fruits. Interestingly, that it was Trypillya people who were the first to grow cherry trees in the territory of Ukraine. The scientists say that Trypillya people produced more food products than they needed and it resulted in possibly the first in the world export to the other tribes and civilizations of that time. Cattle-breeding, weaving, useful arts, metal working was also flourishing. The pottery is of special consideration. Trypillya pottery had no match in Europe concerning the material quality and painting as evidenced by the finds found at time of the archeological excavations. The scientists find the full range of the ceramic pieces in every Trypillya house. Most often it includes the kitchen utensils which spent thousands of years under the ground, statuettes, jewelry with amazing ornaments and even today bright colors. The kitchen utensils were of high quality, made from the fine ceramic with the masterly ornaments and patterns, made by multicolored dye. The ornaments are perfect, they include the strange symbols and signs. May be already at that time the Trypillya people addressed to Gods for help. Some scientists concede that it was Trypillya culture which gave rise to the ancient ceramics appeared in 2000 B.C.
It is interesting, that the development of bronze is dated to the 3rd century B.C. The pieces made from bronze and found in Trypillya are dated to the 5th century B.C. Their level of processing quality is high and their technology differs from the technology of the further generations. The most unique invention ever is dated to this period too – the creation of the first in the world wheel, which was often painted on the ceramic figures of Trypillya people.
Trypillya people lived in the isolated farmstead (maximum for 15 families) and in the large settlements (from 150 up to 450 hectares), which were the unique event for that time. They were prototypes of the modern cities and even city-states, which did not exist in Egypt or Mesopotamia till the 4th century. Most probably Trypillya people possessed the technologies of maintenance, management and arrangement of such large cities. It is surprising that all cities had the same development plan – the streets were located by the rings, the houses were built very close to each other making something like a fortress. The distance between the rings was exactly 100 meters. There was a temple in the center of the city. There was one more miracle – the term of life of these Trypillya cities was exactly 70 years, after that they were destroyed by the fire for some unknown reasons.
The dwellings of Trypillya people were not the ordinary houses of the ancient people – they were real houses made from clay and wood. Trypillya people took care of inner design of their homes decorating the walls with the white or red color and ornaments. Though Trypillya culture is considered to be lost, we find Trypillya ornaments and signs on the kitchen utensils and jewelry of the next generations of Scythian and Greek civilization, on the embroidered shirts of modern Ukrainians, in the traditions of crop farming and cattle-breeding, in the ceremonies and beliefs.
Special attention was paid to religion in Trypillya. The figures found in Trypillya settlements indicate that the inhabitants worshiped the mother as a symbol of maternity and ground fertility, the bull as a symbol of richness, the snake as a symbol of dexterity and the dove as a symbol of sky. The pictures of sun, cross, waves, and rings are present almost in all ceramic pieces, which draw them together with the beliefs of the later Slavs, Celts, Scythians and ancient Greeks. And – time to surprise the Eastern people – even taking into consideration this similarity, Trypillya people were the first to use the famous Chinese sign Yin and Yan!!!
Most probably the population of Trypillya was not militant. Only a few dozens of arms (bows and arrowheads) were found at the whole settlement! Probably they did not have enemies at that time...
We also do not know the reason of this culture decline. The scientists suppose that it was caused by the climate changes, which made Trypillya people find the new lands to settle. According to the other theory Trypillya culture was absorbed and assimilated by the neighboring Yamna culture. It happened in 3500-3000 B.C...
The scientists have disputes about the language of Trypillya people, and if it had an impact on the modern Ukrainian language. Is there anything common between the Ukrainians and Trypillya people in their mentality? We are not the researchers, we do not know. May be you will be able to answer this question right now coming to Ukraine and visiting Trypillya, listening to the scientists and communicating with them.
There is a private historical archaeological museum “The Ancient Aratta – Ukraine” in the village of Trypillya. In the museum you would be able to see the material authentic pieces of Trypillya culture, everyday objects and instruments of labor of Trypillya culture time, which are illustrative of that time culture, reconstructed Trypillya house, enlarged Trypillya female statuettes and even objects of the 19th century which help to understand the impact of Trypillya culture on the popular art of Ukraine.
You can see the materials and objects of Trypillya culture in the Archeological Museum of the Institute of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine in Kiev, in Kiev regional Archeological Museum in Trypillya, in the Museum of Trypillya culture in Rzhischev city, in the National Historical Ethnographic Reserve in Pereyaslav-Khmelnitsky city, and in the National Museum of Ukraine in Kiev.
International ecological and cultural festival “Trypilske Kolo” (Trypillian Circle) is conducted annually not far from Trypillya village in the village of Balyko-Schuchinka (80 km from Kiev, 40 km from Trypillya village by Obukhovskaya highway). It is one of the largest festivals in Ukraine. The guests of the festival can visit different concerts of the famous Ukrainian stars and amateur groups from the different countries, art grounds, fire show, trade fair, Trypillya town, quest games, entertainment evens, dance school, cinema, play grounds and many other interesting things. To live there you can rent a tent, sleeping bag and ground pad or to stay at one of the hotels in Kanev or Rzhischev. You could buy the tickets in advance or right at the entry to the festival. The child ticket costs about 30 hrivnas and the adult ticket costs about 90 hrivnas per one day.
Regional Archeological Museum (the village of Trypillya) – Geroyev Trypillya street 12. Tel. 8-04472-33-2-99, working hours from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday-Friday and from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at weekend.
Ticket price: 2-5 hrivnas, excursions from 25 hrivnas.
The address of the private historical archaeological museum “The Ancient Aratta – Ukraine” in the village of Trypillya: Kiev region, Trypillya village, Rybolovetskata str. 1, tel.: +38 (044) 520 96 25, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., except Monday.
Trypillya is located 40 km off Kiev, you can drive by Р19 highway or take a minibus from Kiev.
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