CRC 1266 - Scales of Transformation

D1: Population Agglomerations at Tripolye-Cucuteni Mega-sites


Karte mit Untersuchungsgebieten
Fig. 1. The five geographic regions included in the D1 subproject (red: new regions added in Phase 2, graphics: K. Winter).

The subproject D1 investigates the phenomenon of Tripolye giant settlements in Ukraine, Moldavia and NE Romania in the period between 4300 and 3500 BCE (Fig. 1, regions A-C). These sites occurred simultaneously with large Uruk settlements in Mesopotamia and reached in prehistoric Europe almost unique dimensions of up to 200-320 ha, but collapsed again before 3500 BCE. 

Focused on key-sites in Maidanetske, Bilyii Kamin (Ukraine) and Stolniceni (Moldova), the first phase of the project was dedicated to the study of socio-economic developments of megasites in three test regions, in cooperation with partners from the High Anthropological School Chișinău, the Ukrainian Academy of Sciences Kiev, the Tripolje Museum Lehedzyne and the Roman-Germanic Commission Frankfurt a. M. 

The results include 

1) Important new findings on spatial organisation, demography and geographical distribution of Tripolje giant-settlements;

2) Clarification of chronological trajectories at both the intra-site level of giant-settlements and the regional level;

3) the exemplary study of different categories of features and materials, including botanical and faunal remains and obtaining of valuable new data on the function and economic base of Tripolye settlements;

4) Reconstruction of socio-political trajectories on the basis of a specific type of public buildings;

5 Placing of these developments into a broader environmental frame based on botanical and soil records and modelled landscape reconstructions.

In the second phase of SFB 1266, we are expanding the scope of our investigation both spatially and temporally (Fig. 1, new regions D-E), in order to understand better both emergence and decline of the Tripolye phenomenon. In order to explore macro-level interactions at the beginning of the Tripolye sequence, we will include Chalcolithic Gulmeniţa societies in the lower Danube basin as an alternative line of development into our study. Furthermore, we are investigating transformations at the end of the sequence of Tripolye large settlements, including the emergence of dispersed settlement forms and representation in graves and burial mounds.


Research activities 2020-2024





Prof. Dr. Hans-Rudolf Bork

Institut for Ecosystem Research

Olshausenstraße 75, R. 107
Phone: +49 431 880-3953
Telefax: +49 431 880-4083

Subprojects C2, D1 and F2


Dr. Marta Dal Corso

Institute of Pre- and Protohistoric Archaeology

Olshausenstr. 80-h, R. 02
Phone: +49 431 880-6580
Telefax: +49 431 880-7300

Subproject D1

New Publications