CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

Fieldwork and excavation in the Ukraine: The Copper Age Mega-Site Maidanetske

The research collaboration of sub-project D1 sheds light on formation and decline processes of population agglomerations in Chalcolithic Cucuteni-Tripolye mega-sites. During August and September 2016, extensive fieldwork and excavation of the mega-site Maidanetske (ca. 3900–3600 BCE) took place in central Ukraine. 

Fieldwork and excavation of the mega-site MaidanetskeExcavation and documentation of the uncovered chalcolithic building structures in the mega-site Maidanetkse, Ukraine (photo: S. Jagiolla).

Geomagnetic prospections suggest ditch structures with superimposing by pits in the northern area of the settlement. A trench of 10 m length revealed a vertical stratigraphy composed of several features and containing material culture remains, which will help to clarify the chronological sequence of the structures and might contribute to establish an internal chronology of the site itself.

The excavation of and sample extraction from a so-called “mega-structure” (large building structures) was one highlight of the campaign. Due to their enormous dimensions as well as their central and separated positions along main traffic arteries, these structures indicate to have had special public functions. Further investigations and analyses of the collected sample archives are important aspects in the examination and evaluation of this and alike buildings.

Documented profiles and sampling of open spaces between the house ring structures and undeveloped inner settlement parcels provide sufficient material for palaeobotanical and geoarchaeological analyses. The results shall help to understand the purpose and utilization of open spaces and road-like structures in Cucuteni-Tripolye mega-sites.

Further geomagnetic prospection in the northern part of the area gained new information about a preceding settlement, constructed in similar spatial and structural patterns. Drilling surveys and sample collections in the surrounding wetlands now provide appropriate palynological archives to reconstruct prehistoric ecological conditions as well as the development of the mega-site and its impact on the natural environment.

Activities Oldenburger Graben LuftbildSampling of monoliths from a soil profile intercepting a house in trench 110, Maidanetske 2016 (photo: M. dal Corso).