The Gumelnița culture, named after the research undertaken in Romania in the eponymous tell from Gumelnița (located near the left bank of the Danube, near to the city of Oltenița, Călărași county), defines the beginning of the Eneolithic era in Romania, towards the beginning of the 5th millennium BC. Its evolution was divided into two main phases that lasted almost a millennium, while the population of this culture occupied a large region from the Black Sea shore in the east, to central Bulgaria to the west, to the Carpathian Mountains to the north, and beyond the Balkan Mountains to the south.

Some of the Gumelniţa settlements were of the tell type, indicating an intense dwelling on the same site, near the water sources, often on the promontories with a dominant position. The material culture of this population is a rich and very interesting, diversified one, featuring a high level of technical knowledge. Very high quality ceramics have various shapes and an engraved, plastic or graphite painted decoration. In addition to the tools made of bone or horn, those worked in stone, especially flint, are numerous and diverse. Forged or cast copper tends to be commonly used in order to obtain small tools or ornaments. Large tools are also produced in large numbers. Copper is also joined to the gold used for jewelry items. Figurative art is represented by zoomorphic and anthropomorphic little statues generally modeled in clay.

Starting with the diversity of the collections of the Bucharest Municipality Museum and of the Museum of Gumelnița Civilization from Oltenița referring to the typology of objects mentioned above, as well as with the recent partnership agreed and signed by several museum institutions (among which, the Bucharest Municipality Museum), which allowed resuming the systematic archaeological research in the eponymous settlement of the Gumelnița culture more than two years ago, we intend to carry out a monographic exhibition on one of the most important Neolithic cultures in Romania. The event exhibition will address a series of thematic registers such as the general context of the Neolithic and the Eneolithic eras in southeastern Romania, housing, food, ceramics and the first metal objects, as well as the relation with other populations, from image to imaginary, etc.

Bringing together the most beautiful Gumelniţa objects from the collections of the two museums – among them, the beautiful goddess from Vidra will excel – the exhibition aims to capitalize on the cultural heritage associated with this culture from the mentioned collections, but also the results of the systematic archaeological researches carried out in the eponymous station during the last two years, to bring closer to the visiting audience details regarding the Neolithic era in Romania, with an emphasis on Gumelnița culture, and not least, the exhibition is meant to be an event organized in memory of the great archaeologist Dragomir Nicolae Popovici, trainer of several generations of prehistoric archaeologists in Romania.


Curator, Dr. Dan Pîrvulescu