The Mystery of the Danube Civilisation

The Mystery of the Danube Civilisation

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4.6 (10 ratings by Goodreads)
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Over the last few years, archaeologists have been finding more and more evidence for the existence of a civilisation on the Balkan peninsula which, between the 6th and 4th millennia BCE, was using a writing system long before the Mesopotamians. In this book, Harald Haarmann provides the first comprehensive insight into this enigmatic Old European culture which, until recently, was unknown. He describes trade routes and settlements, arts and crafts, the mythology and writing system of the Danube Civilisation; he traces its origins to the Black Sea area and shows which cultural influences it had on Ancient Greece and the Near East.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 288 pages
  • 152 x 216 x 30mm | 520g
  • English
  • zahlreiche s/w Abbildungen
  • 9783737411455
  • 507,456

Table of contents


The puzzle of a 7,000 year-old civilisation


1. The transition to the Neolithic in Europe

(ca. 7500-5500 BCE)


Early farmers in Southeast Europe 14

The emergence of regional cultures 40

Cultural timeline of Old Europe 48

2. In search of the Old Europeans


The genetic footprint 51

Linguistic traces 56

3. Commerce and living space


Trade routes and commodities 79

Settlements and architecture 88

Religious sites and graves 99

4. Arts and crafts


Weaving and textiles 110

Pottery and firing techniques 114

Metallurgy 118

Art forms and cultural symbols 122

5. Model of an egalitarian society


Matriarchal or matrilineal? 144

Families and clans 146

Oecumene and trade 148

6. Religion and mythology


The world view of hunter-gatherers and farmers 155

Female deities in Old Europe 156

The bull - Animal symbols as attributes of the goddess 160

Cults and rituals 161

Music and dance 169

7. Counting, measuring, recording


Numerical signs and numerology 173

Calendrical notation 175

Weights and measures 180

Potter's or ownership marks 181

8. The invention of writing


Origin and development of the Danube script 184

The spread of writing in Old Europe 190

Writing materials, inscriptions and varieties of text 193

The repertory of Old European signs 196

Written legacy of the Danube Civilisation 200

A script in the service of religion 212

The demise of the use of writing 214

9. The decline and legacy of the Danube Civilisation

(from around 4500 BCE)


Political and cultural upheavals 218

The Balkan-Ancient Aegean cultural drift 227

Minoan-Cypriot contacts: How Aegean script was exported 243





Key to inside cover map

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About Harald Haarmann

Haarmann, Harald
Harald Haarmann is one of the world's best-known linguists. He studied general linguistics, various philological disciplines and prehistory at the universities of Hamburg, Bonn, Coimbra and Bangor. He obtained his PhD in Bonn and his Habilitation (qualification at professorship level) in Trier. He taught and researched at a number of German and Japanese universities. Since 2003 he has been Vice-President of the Institute of Archaeomythology (main office in Sebastopol, California, USA) and director of its "European Branch" (located in Luumäki, Finland). Professor Haarmann has authored more than 70 books in German and English, some of which have been translated into over a dozen languages. In addition to this study on the Danube Civilisation, he has produced remarkable insights into the roots of ancient Greek civilisation and the early history of Rome. His work has earned him the Prix logos (1999), awarded by the Association européenne des linguistes et des professeurs de langues (Paris) and the Premio Jean Monnet (Genova, 1999) for essay writing. In 2006 he received the Plato Award (UK). He lives and works in Finland.
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