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#Exhibit of the Month

This unique amphora was found in 1984 during the excavations of the Şuri I settlement of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (5th-4th thousand BC), which existed in the Eneolithic era, in the mid-1st half of the 4th millennium BC, near the village of Şuri, Drochia District of the Republic of Moldova.

In the classifications of Cucuteni-Trypillian painted pottery, it belongs to a separate type distinguished by archaeologists, known in the special literature under various names: facial urns, amphorae with an ornament of the "owl face" type, amphorae with facial ornament, facial amphorae.

These names were given to the amphorae due to their peculiar ornament and their truncated-conical or rounded body that resembles the head of an owl (large circles on the sides of the handles are the eyes of a bird, and the handles are beaks), as well as due to attempts to hypothetically interpret the vessels as images of some two-faced or four-faced anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or ornithomorphic mythological creatures of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon.

For the first time, amphorae with facial ornament appear in pottery assemblages of the Cucuteni-Trypillia community at the beginning of the 4th millennium BC, during the period of its highest flourishing, and are present later, as a separate type of tableware, in each of the dwellings of the settlements of this culture for about 700 subsequent years, until its collapse and disappearance from the historical arena in the last quarter of the 4th millennium BC.

The origin of the facial amphorae goes back to the anthropomorphic two-faced vessels with a rounded or spheroconical body, equipped with 2 or 4 handles, depicting two female figures standing with their backs to each other, which were used by the Cucuteni-Trypillians for centuries and were widely used in religious practices, representing, as is commonly believed, the main female deity of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon - the Great Mother Goddess in her two different incarnations, who was also considered as the Deity of the Universe.

The study of vessels of this type indicates that, being a reflection of the cult of the Great Goddess and probably embodying cosmogonic ideas about the creation of the World from the elements and body parts of the Primordial Being (probably depicting this creature itself, possibly mixomorphic and like Aditi - the Divine Bull-Cow - androgynous), with their shape and ornament, the facial amphorae recreate the prevailing ideas of the Cucuteni-Trypillians about the structure of the Universe.

This is evidenced by the stylized features of anthropo- and zoomorphism, three-tier or two-tier division of the ornament vertically and four-tier division horizontally, the image of such cosmic universals as the Center and corners of the World, the Cosmic Mountain (Earth) and the Sky, the Tree of Life, the Sun, the Moon in various phases, etc. Often, images of animals, birds or their symbols are included in the ornamental system of the amphorae. There are also facial amphorae with two or four images of female deities with an indication of their particular characteristic functions. As with their prototypes, the anthropomorphic two-faced vessels, the most important ornamental zone in the facial amphorae is the space between the handles.

It is here that the ornament reflects one of the most significant themes of the Cucuteni-Trypillian religion, the theme of the connection between the Earth and Heaven.


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Chronological Axis


Iron Age and Antiquity

(last centuries of 2nd millennium B.C. – first centuries of 1st millennium A.D.)

The beginning of the Iron Age in the area between Prut and Dniester is considered in the pan-European context of “hallstattization” of material and spiritual culture of the population – phenomena, which started in the last centuries of the 2nd millennium B.C. and completed in the first centuries of the 1st millennium A.D.

The framework of the Iron Age includes several large periods. The first one is the period of Thracian Hallstatt represented by the cultures of Cisinau-Corlateni, Saharna-Solonceni-Cozia, and Soldanesti-Basarabi type. This period is characterized by the pottery ornamented with grooves and incisions. Bronze items were widespread. In the period of hallstattization of the East-Carpathian forest-steppe regions, in the steppe areas the nomadic cattle-breeders dominated (the Belozerca culture). The Cimmerians often penetrated in their environment (9th – 7th centuries B.C.). By the middle of the 7th century B.C. the Scythian tribes appear in the region.  Vestiges of their material culture can be found mainly in the funeral complexes.

The period of Hallstatt is important for the fact that it laid the foundation of the Getae-Dacian culture that existed in the 6th – 1st centuries B.C. The number of the archaeological sites attributed to the Getae at present amounts to 250. The Getae settlements and fortresses were fortified with ramparts and moats. Fortifications were found in different localities, of which Trebujeni, Butuceni, Saharna Mare and Saharna Mica, Stolniceni, and Mascati are the most representative ones. The predominant funeral rite was incineration. Material culture of the Getae includes pottery, tools and weapons made of bronze and iron, buckles, bracelets, mirrors, glass beads. Discoveries of coins and coin hoards testify to the existence of economic relations with the Greek world.

The presence of these cultural and economic contacts with the population of North-Pontic Greek colonies since the middle of the 1st millennium B.C. is supported by the discovery of imported items, such as amphorae, beautiful vessels, and gold jewellery, at the settlements and necropolises. Greek amphorae constitute the largest group of the imported items. They have allowed identifying of the production centres, which exported goods, especially wine and olive oil, to the region. The museum collection contains the amphorae produced in the Greek poleis of Chios, Lesbos, Samos, Thasos, Heraclea, Tauric Chersonese, Sinope, etc. The earliest objects date from the late 6th century B.C., and the latest ones date from the early 2nd century B.C.       

 A significant group of Greek artefacts consists of black-glazed vessels (kantharos, kylix, skyphos, bowl, fish-plate, lekythos). The earliest ones date from the late 5th century B.C. The red-figure pelike with representations of the Greek mythical personages found in the tumulus 1 from Manta, the golden necklace from the tumulus 5 from Dubasari, and the Olanesti hoard are the real pearls of the museum collection.  In the last centuries of the 1st millennium B.C., from the northwest Germanic tribes of the Bastarnians penetrate to the region. Since the 1st century B.C. from the east towards the Prut-Dniester area there was advancing a new wave of cattle-breeders – the Sarmatian tribes, which had many imported Roman objects in their material culture.  

The end of armed confrontations with the Roman Empire in 105 – 106 signified the acceleration of Romanization of the local population, the adoption of different forms of material culture and spiritual life. Vestiges of the free Dacians, investigated in the recent years, are significant in this sense. 

One of the most representative cultural and historical phenomena of the first centuries A.D. was the Santana de Mures – Chernyakhov culture. There are known hundreds of settlements and necropolises with a large variety of material: vessels of different shapes; gold and silver jewellery; bone, glass, bronze, and iron items.

With the bearers of this culture the era of the great migrations of peoples begins. After them came the Huns, Slavs, Hungarians, Pechenegs, Kumans, Mongols, which were staying in the territory for a long or short time. 

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Independent Moldova
Moldavian Soviet Socialist Republic
Bessarabia and MASSR between the Two World Wars
Bessarabia and Moldavian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in the Period between the Two World Wars
Revival of National Movement
Time of Reforms and their Consequences
Abolition of Autonomy. Bessarabia – a New Tsarist Colony
Period of Relative Autonomy of Bessarabia within the Russian Empire
Phanariot Regime
Golden Age of the Romanian Culture
Struggle for Maintaining of Independence of Moldova
Formation of Independent Medieval State of Moldova
Era of the
Great Nomad Migrations
Early Middle Ages
Iron Age and Antiquity
Bronze Age
Aeneolithic Age
Neolithic Age
Palaeolithic Age

  
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#Exhibit of the Month

This unique amphora was found in 1984 during the excavations of the Şuri I settlement of the Cucuteni-Trypillia culture (5th-4th thousand BC), which existed in the Eneolithic era, in the mid-1st half of the 4th millennium BC, near the village of Şuri, Drochia District of the Republic of Moldova. In the classifications of Cucuteni-Trypillian painted pottery, it belongs to a separate type distinguished by archaeologists, known in the special literature under various names: facial urns, amphorae with an ornament of the "owl face" type, amphorae with facial ornament, facial amphorae. These names were given to the amphorae due to their peculiar ornament and their truncated-conical or rounded body that resembles the head of an owl (large circles on the sides of the handles are the eyes of a bird, and the handles are beaks), as well as due to attempts to hypothetically interpret the vessels as images of some two-faced or four-faced anthropomorphic, zoomorphic or ornithomorphic mythological creatures of the Cucuteni-Trypillian pantheon...

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The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

 



The National Museum of History of Moldova takes place among the most significant museum institutions of the Republic of Moldova, in terms of both its collection and scientific reputation.
©2006-2021 National Museum of History of Moldova
Visit museum 31 August 1989 St., 121 A, MD 2012, Chisinau, Republic of Moldova
Phones:
Secretariat: +373 (22) 24-43-25
Department of Public Relations and Museum Education: +373 (22) 24-04-26
Fax: +373 (22) 24-43-69
E-mail: office@nationalmuseum.md
Technical Support: info@nationalmuseum.md
Web site administration and maintenance: Andrei EMILCIUC

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