The Hamangia Culture

MNIR n° 13783
Ceramic vase of the Hamangia culture
(origin : Hamangia).

Site eponym : Baia-Hamangia settlement discovered in 1953 along Lake Golovita, close to the coast of the black Sea, in the Romanian province of Dobrogea.
Dates : Middle Neolithic; probably the first Neolithic culture of southern origin to settle west of the Black Sea.
Geographic Setting : covering a geographic area from the contemporary province of Dobrogea to the right bank of the Danube in Muntenia and up to the northeast of Bulgaria.
Habitation : modest enough and not fortified, along the coast, at the edge of the lakeside regions, on the lower and middle ledges of the riverbank, sometimes in caves.
Material Means : Ceramics with carved decorations and anthropomorphic statuettes in terra cotta of exceptional artistic expression.
Funeral Rites : Burial of bodies, laid out face up as in contemporary burial.
The Hamangia is a Middle Neolithic culture in the north of the Balkans whose evolution began during the second half of the sixth millennium BC. It developed in Dobrogea, to the southeast of Muntania and to the northeast of Bulgaria. It originated in the northeast of the Mediterranean and apparently has a cultural heritage that includes the Vinca, Dudesti and Karanovo III cultures. The Hamangia culture is characterized by a strong stability, which hinders our perception of its geographic and chronological evolution.
This conservatism is particularly apparent in the continuity, over a long period, in the artifacts found in tombs. The clay statuary found there is of remarkable artist expression. Its relationship to neighboring cultures (Dudesti, Boian, Marita, Precucuteni, and Linear Ceramic) is rare and less significant. The more important discoveries have been accomplished at the Ceamurlia of Jos, Baia, Medgidia, Târgusor, Durankulak settlements and in the Cernavoda and Durankulak necropolis.
The Hamangia culture disappeared in the fifth millennium BC, when migrations brought new cultures into the region between the Balkans and Carpathians. Thus, the very dynamic Boian communities assimilated the Hamangia communities during their transition towards the Gumelnita culture. That assimilation contributed to the genesis of a transitional variant of the Gumelnita culture between the Black Sea and the Danube.
MNIR n° 11661, height. 18 cm.
Anthropomorphic statuette,
female, characteristic of the art of the Hamangia culture
(origin : Cernavoda, district Constantia, Romania) .