Romanian pottery – 7000-year-old design looking modern today


How is it possible that a form of pottery and its design from up to 7000 years ago can be recreated in the 21st century and seem modern?

This Romanian Cucuteni-Trypillia-style dish was made in Cucuteni in 2018 to pottery-making methods and design dating back to somewhere between 5200 BC and 2750 BC.


Cucuteni is a small village in Romania and was part of what archaeologists have called the Cucuteni-Trypillia civilisation, which spread over 135,000 square miles across what is now Romania, Moldova and Ukraine (Trypillia being near Kiev). Little is known about these mysterious Neolithic people and how they lived or died, but clay statuettes and pottery discovered in the area offer a few clues. It is believed that they burned their settlements every 60-80 years and new settlements were then constructed, suggesting the repeated circles that adorned much of their pottery represented their cyclical beliefs.

As for the abundance of female statuettes and painted female figures, some believe they indicate an egalitarian or even matriarchal society. The female figures were often carved with patterns, seen by many as one of the earliest forms of tattoo, their patterns possibly communicating personal or community identity and status.

While the patterns on earlier pieces were carved, later examples were painted, the pigment derived from minerals.

I’m conscious of having bought another unnecessary flat-filling souvenir but I love what it’s made me find out about this little plate’s design origins, even though there is very little known about their civilisation. The artist, Ionela Mihuleac, from Cucuteni, makes her pottery pieces (including statuettes) using the same methods as thousands of millennia ago, so they are all hand formed (pre-pottery wheel).


(I purchased this bowl from a noteworthy craft and design shop, My Romanian Store, Bucharest, Romania)

(This post does not represent my usual style but it is not copied or plagiarised. I do not know enough about Romania, archaeology, history or pottery to add more to the facts, as I perceive them to be, based on the various articles I have read from an in-depth Google trawl. The purpose of this post is to share the limited knowledge I have gleaned about a previously unheard of period of time and a bit of background to what struck me as an interesting pattern and kind of pottery)

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