The Orientation of Rondels of the Neolithic Lengyel Culture in Central Europe

By Pasztor, Emilia; Barna, Judit P. et al. | Antiquity, December 2008 | Go to article overview

The Orientation of Rondels of the Neolithic Lengyel Culture in Central Europe


Pasztor, Emilia, Barna, Judit P., Roslund, Curt, Antiquity


Introduction

With minor differences, the late Neolithic earthworks called rondels (Petrasch 1990:418-9; Trnka 2005), are contemporary and share a common plan: circular with entrance causeways (Trnka 1991). They appear in several archaeological cultures of the early fifth millennium BC, cultures which developed from the Linearbandkeramik (LBK) culture (Kalicz 198384: 281-2; Neugebauer & Maresch 1995). The highest uniformity in the architectural design of these earthworks is shown by those of the Lengyel culture, which is spread across Transdanubia in the Carpathian Basin, in south Slovakia, in east Austria and south Moravia (Figure 1). Their principal features are the single or multiple circular ditches, broken by two or more openings (causeways), which provide entrances to the inner space (Petrasch 1990: Abb. 26; Daim & Neubauer 2005). The arrangement of the causeways is often symmetrical or nearly so. Generally there are no traces of structures within the enclosure, or if there are, the buildings avoid the centrepoint.

The earliest examples were excavated in Transdanubia, Hungary, at Se (Karolyi 1983-84: 294-307; Kalicz 1998: 57-62, Abb. 21) and Sormas (Barna 2007). They are assumed to be multi-purpose (Kovarnik et al. 2006), with a preference for a ritual interpretation since in most cases the ditches and causeways show few defensive properties. The case for a ritual function is also strengthened by small figurines unearthed close to or in the ditches (Podborsky 1985: 210; Kalicz 1998: 65; Barna 2007) although the nature of the rite is uncertain (Hansen 2007). In some cases (such as Bucany, Schletz, Tesetice-Kyjovice, Svodin or Se) the special finds lie in or near one of the entrances (all bur one are eastern or southern), strengthening the significant role of the causeways (Petrasch 2004; Podborsky 2004; Ruttkay 2004; 2005; Kalicz 2007). Archaeological investigations have also suggested that each enclosure might have belonged to a larger social community serving several settlements (Kazdova &Weber 1990: 167).

[FIGURE 1 OMITTED]

The Lengyel rondels and astronomy

Research into the possible astronomical significance of features found in the enclosures was inspired by work done on the British henges, although these are some 1800 years later. The study was also prompted by the fact that the axes of the four-causeway rondels are nearly perpendicular to each other, suggesting the idea of orientation towards four cardinal points. Although exact measurements of the sites did not correlate with the cardinal points, interest in the possible astronomical significance of their design has not diminished. The growing popularity of archaeoastronomy has given further impetus to the continuation of such lines of research (Pavuk & Karlovsky 2004; Daim & Neubauer 2005: Teil 3). Most of these investigations, however, are characterised by the very small number of monuments studied.

[FIGURE 2 OMITTED]

The natural candidates for the rationale of orientation were the sun, moon and stars. The first investigations of some Lengyel enclosures along with a few LBK earthworks concluded that these were solar orientations with a preference for the equinoxes and the solstices (Iwaniszewski 1996: 18-9). At the Austrian Glaubendorf 2 rondel the equinoctial sun settings could have been seen along the western causeway (Neubauer 2005: 56; Figure 2). Investigations of virtual reconstructions of these enclosures have drawn attention to the fact that other construction elements such as openings or holes cut into the palisades as well as poles could also have played a role in the observation of celestial phenomena. In the case of the Austrian Steinabrunn rondel, a pole has been argued to have been placed on the left side of the south-east causeway in order that the Pleiades' rising could be seen above it. It has also been alleged that there are monuments aligned with bright stars, such as Antares or Deneb, or star constellations instead of the sun (Gervautz & Neubauer 2005: 73). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • A full archive of books and articles related to this one
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

The Orientation of Rondels of the Neolithic Lengyel Culture in Central Europe
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.