EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION EXPLORATORY WORKSHOP
EARLY SYMBOLIC SYSTEMS OF COMMUNICATION IN SOUTHEASTERN EUROPE
KARLOVO, BULGARIA, 14-20 APRIL 2002, SUMMARIES, p. 2
EUROPEAN SCIENCE FOUNDATION

PREHISTORY FOUNDATION
Sacred Symbols on Neolithic Cult Objects from the Balkans

Gheorge Lazarovici

University "Eftimie Murgu" in Resita &
National Historical Museum of Transylvania, Department of Prehistory, Cluj-Napoca, Romania
lazarovici_g@mnit.museum.utcluj.ro

In our understanding symbol is defined as an object that represents a notion, an abstract idea, or a conventional sign. The sacred symbol has a divine, holly, and precious venerating sense. The object on which the sign is present had to be recognized as a sacred one, and in some cases the sign is the one that gives the sacred meaning to the object.
      In the oldest thought, not primitive at all, the sacred played an important role in the life of the population. The first sacred signs used as communication elements appeared at the end of the 10th millennium in Porto Badisco cave. We intent to refer here to some civilizations, for which we have more information as Starcevo - Cris, Vinca and Banat cultures (especially from Parta).
     This communication represents a brief overview on the research of the Balkan prehistoric signs including Tartaria problem, as well as the database foundation of my research on the problem. It has been stressed that Maria Gimbutas had made the first catalogue for the sacred signs, but without numeration. Our database contents information regarding cult objects and their significance.
     
General fields. They contain data on the name of the object, discovery conditions (locality, country, province, complex etc.), culture/civilization, phase, dating, etc.
     
Special fields. They contain data about the place of the sacred sign on objects (e.g. on idol head, forehead, face, nape, neck, chest, and abdomen) and allow us to interpret their place, position and their meaning (especially for uncommon complexes).
     
Fields with signification. They refer to the general or special signification of the sign or symbol, related with the place where it was placed (the triangle represents the eye, or light; in other cases the triangle  represents the feminine sex, rendered as a virgin or fecundated), or with related or subsequent  civilizations (e.g. common signs for syllables in hieroglyphs, Linear A, and Linear B). 
     
Quantitative/statistical excerpts. It reflects the statistical situation of the database (the type of the objects and the main ideas that they suggest in our opinion). It is possible to observe correlation between the symbols connected with the Great Mother Goddess (symbol M), with the Light (L), followed by snake symbols or snake and mother (Sp, Sp-M).
    
Qualitative excerpts. From the database, we have selected the Romanian discoveries with sign series. There are no stratigraphic observations for the Turdas discoveries. Those from Tarpesti have a small number of attributes. Our classifications suggest an older period of time to which the Banat culture discoveries belonged. First are those that belong to the Vinca B phase, followed in time and as an ethno-cultural phenomenon by those from the Turdas group and Csapojevka.
cprslc@msn.com
2002 European Science Foundation
2002 Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 Gheorghe Lazarovici
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