Language and Writing In Trypillia-Cucuteni Culture?

Discussion in 'Linguistics' started by DayMan, Feb 19, 2011.

  1. DayMan Registered Senior Member

    Was wondering how much is known about the existance of writing and language in the Cucuteni-Trypillia before Sumer and how it should be regarded within the development of writing and languages?

    The earliest Sumerian writing were pictograms and not an actual language correct? Why isn't earlier proto-writing like the Vinca script and Cucuteni-Trypillia script regarded as earlier writings?

    Why is Sumer credited as being the first civilization for that matter, Trypillia-Cucuteni is older and i wouldn't be suprised if there were cultures even pre-dating it that i'm unaware of.

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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Unlike many of the Moderators on SciForums, I am not a professional in this field. I haven't taken postgraduate courses in linguistics and related disciplines, and I don't have access to university papers with the latest research. The Wikipedia article on Cucuteni-Trypillian culture indicates that there is still considerable controversy regarding the archeological discoveries and their anthropological analysis. Their written language, as you say, clearly consists of pictograms or logograms, not phonetic symbols. This is, more precisely, referred to as proto-writing. "Script" is reserved for phonetic writing systems: alphabets, abjads, abugidas, syllabaries, etc. The proto-writing systems from which the Sumerian abjad evolved are older.
    The difference between a Neolithic community--no matter how large--and a civilization is social organization. The T-C people had none.
    • There was no occupational specialization, or division of labor as economists call it. When people specialize in their best skills, they become more expert at them, which increases the society's productivity and elevates its level. They also, of necessity, have to exchange goods and services with each other, which is the beginning of a civilized economy.
    • There was no social stratification. No rulers, no police, no priests, no teachers, no merchants, no elite. This is a requirement for a city with division of labor, in which procedures must be developed to aid the citizens in living in harmony, fairness and cooperation with strangers. The T-C people had a subsistence economy, or at best a gift economy, which relies on altruism among strangers rather than fair exchanges.
    Whatever the nature of the T-C culture, toward the end of its timeline, as it was just beginning to develop the traits of a civilization such as copper metallurgy, it was overrun by the Kurgan (Indo-European) invasion from the Pontic Steppe, which brought superior technologies--including bronze metallurgy--learned from the nearby civilizations of Mesopotamia and India.

    I find no speculation on who, exactly, the T-C people were. So I'll assume they were members of the first wave of Homo sapiens who migrated to Europe around 30KYA, therefore descendants of the Cro-Magnon and distant relatives of the Basques, the people who built Stonehenge, and perhaps the Etruscans. It appears to have been a peaceful conquest so modern Europeans probably have bits of their DNA, along with DNA from the Neanderthals and everyone else who has visited the continent. As for their cultural influence, who can say? Again, probably bits here and there, just as we Americans have bits of American Indian culture here and there.
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