• Mysteries of the Binocular Vessel
  •  Sacred Objects
  • Household Objects
  • Zoomorphic Pottery
  • Geometric Pottery
  • Large Pots



In the late nineteenth-century, a culture predating those of ancient Egypt and Messopotamia was discovered near Kyiv by archeologist Vikenty Khvoika. Referred to as Trypilian, this rich culture received its name from the villageof Trypilia where remnants of prehistoric settlement was found. No written records remain of this society; however, researchers have gleaned extensive knowledge from a panoply of ancient artifacts found buried in the earth for millennia. These unearthed relics covey intriguing insights about Trypilian culture.

Based on archeoligical evidence, Trypilia was a peaceful egalitarian society of farmers and craftsmen ruled by family clans. No temples, palaces or depositions of weapons have been found to suggest the existence of societal elites. Built in concentric circles, Trypilian settlements were apparently the largest of their time, so of them numbering up to fifteen-thousand inhabitants. For reasons that are still unclear, Trypilian proto-towns suffered periodic acts of destruction, as they were burned and then rebuilt every 60-100 years. Religious worship was performed in the home, where numerous female figures were found suggesting a goddess cult. Prehistoric cultures are largly defined by their burial practices, often the only surviving traces of vanished societies. One of the riddles of Trypilia is that no major burial sites have been discovered, with the expection of a few graves found inside dwelling under the floor.

Tending livestock, harvesting crops and making elaborately decoarated clayware were the main occkupations of this agrarian society. Pottery technologies and designs were among the foremost achievements of the Trypilians. As the Bronze Age began, the Trypilian civilization dissolved under the pressure of aggressive nomadic neighbors equipped with heavy swords and eager to conquer new territories.


This cow-shaped jar could be used to store milk, yogurt and fresh cheese. It is a fine example of the ingenuity of Trypilian potters demonstrating their utmost skill in accommodating the design to the shape of a vessel.

Truly a civilization of clay, Trypilians made houses, floors, furniture, ovens, pots, dishes, toys, sacred objects, and jewelry out of clay. Most pottery was made in the coil technique. Long coils of clay were stacked on top of one another to form a pot. The surface was smoothed over while still wet. Left to dry in the open air, the pottery was then incised or painted with snake-like and other patterns. Finally, pots were fired in a kiln or on an open hearth. Early pottery was decorated with impressed patterns of lines and circles. During the middle period of the development of the Trypilian culture, painted patterns were widely used.



Zoomorphic Vessel in the Form of a Cow, 4th millennium, B.C.

Ukraine, Kirovograd’ska region.


Next Section: Mysteries of the Binocular Vessel