From Yangshao to Trypillia: The Development of Early Agricultural Societies in the 5th-4th Millennia BCE

Keywords: Eneolithic, Cucuteni-Trypillia culture, Yangshao culture, early agricultural societies, proto-city settlements


Almost a hundred years ago, Johan Andersson discovered Yangshao prehistoric agricultural culture in China. Just in his first publication, he compared his findings of pottery with known at that time cultures of painted pottery Trypillia in Ukraine and Anau in Central Asia, believing that the culture of Yangshao originated from western influences. In our opinion, the issue of social development and the historical fate of early agricultural societies, the appearance of their first civilizations, is more relevant than the search for a common ancestral home.

At the same time, the cultural complexes of Yangshao and Cucuteni-Trypillia have gone a similar way of social development, the indispensable components of which are the establishment of large settlements, among them, fortified ones, large public buildings, and these settlements become the centers of handicraft production. The scholars define them as some kind of proto-cities.

The difference between Yangshao and Cucuteni-Trypillia is that in the East, the progressive development of society leading to the creation of urban civilization continues, while in the West in Trypillia region, it stops for several millennia. If we consider this issue concerning South-East and East Europe, then during the 3rd millennium BCE a similar transition takes place in some regions, including the territory of Hellas.

A brief overview of the development of Yangshao and Cucuteni-Trypillia cultural complexes clearly shows the importance and efficiency of the comparative method in the study of early societies, including the early urbanization processes, which begin in cultural complexes belonging to early agricultural societies of the 5th-4th millennia BCE in different parts of the world. Their beginning depends primarily on the dynamics of the development of the societies themselves, rather than on outside influences or borrowings. The development of techniques (including painted pottery making) can only be adapted if certain prerequisites are met.


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How to Cite
Videiko, M. (2020). From Yangshao to Trypillia: The Development of Early Agricultural Societies in the 5th-4th Millennia BCE. Eminak: Scientific Quarterly Journal, (1(29), 230-238.
Bronze Age