Wondrously, the archaeologists did not find indicators of wealth inequality, social stratification, or hierarchies in prehistoric Trypillian societies

(written by lawrence krubner, however indented passages are often quotes). You can contact lawrence at: lawrence@krubner.com, or follow me on Twitter.

I am not convinced that consolidating of the structures is a sign of tyranny. It could simply be a sign of consolidating. Humans living in the same place for a century would presumably build roads that would become more fixed over time. And if there was a dictatorship, we would see more signs of concentrating wealth, such as larger homes. Interesting:

Wondrously, the archaeologists did not find indicators of wealth inequality, social stratification, or hierarchies in prehistoric Trypillian societies – not within the villages, and not at the regional level between neighboring villages. The houses seem quite standard. Non-stratified societies tend to be associated with integrative architecture or facilities such as public squares: places where the people would come together, for whatever purpose – to talk, play, feast, worship. Enter the mega-structures.

Though all would have been prominently in the public’s eye, the mega-structures of Maidanetske were not standard, and their three categories may reflect developing levels of socio-political integration and decision-making.

The “lowest” category of Trypillian mega-structures were situated in the outskirts of the settlements, or in the radial streets leading to the center of the settlement.

The “intermediate” category was built in the so-called ring corridor – a public street that encircled the settlement. “We think this street was somehow crucial in that settlement,” Hofman says.

The rub is that the low-level integrative buildings, for public use, gradually lost their importance from the late fifth millennium B.C.E. to the first half of the fourth millennium B.C.E. How do we know? They shrank in size and gradually disappeared.

This indicates, Hofman suggests, that power previously distributed across the community was transferred to a central institution that operated out of that one single stand-alone central mega-structure.

We do not know what triggered the prehistoric peoples of Trypillya to come together and create the biggest settlements in prehistoric Europe, bigger than anything observed in Moldova or Romania. Nor do we have clues as to their collapse around 3,600 B.C.E.

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