Tripole Culture

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Tripol’e Culture


an archaeological culture named after the site of the first find near the village of Tripol’e, Kiev Oblast, Ukrainian SSR.

The Tripol’e culture, which existed during the Copper Age, or Aeneolithic Age, extended from the Eastern Carpathian Region to the Middle Dnieper Region; in Rumania it is called the Cucu-teni culture. The Soviet archaeologist T. S. Passek divided the development of the Tripol’e culture into three stages: the early stage (fourth millennium B.C.), the middle stage (the late fourth to the first half of the third millennium B.C.), and the late stage (the second half of the third millennium B.C.).

During the early stage, the tribes of the Tripol’e culture dispersed from the Carpathian Region toward the east along the southern and northern borders of the forest-steppe zone. Their establishment in an extensive area led to the emergence of local variants of the Tripol’e culture. The culture’s settlements were situated on plateaus and were sometimes fortified with earthen banks and ditches, for example, Polivanov lar and Costesti IV. In the early stage, a typical settlement consisted of ten to 15 houses, and during the period of the culture’s greatest development it consisted of several hundred large pisé dwellings. Two-story dwellings existed at Varvarovka and Rakovec. The part of the dwelling that served as living quarters was heated by stoves and had round windows; another part was used as storage space.

The tribes of the Tripol’e culture engaged mainly in land cultivation and stock raising; hunting and fishing were also of importance. The technique of working in copper was in the process of development. The remains of the Tripol’e culture have yielded numerous examples of richly ornamented pottery, as well as implements for use in agriculture, weaving, woodworking, the making of wickerwork, and the dressing of hides. Also found were wheat and barley grains and animal bones.

The tribes of the Tripol’e culture traded with neighboring tribes and obtained copper from the Balkan Peninsula. The finding of such treasures as the Karbuna Treasure testifies to the growth of communal wealth in the culture. The tribes of the Tripol’e culture were in a state of transition from a matriarchal to a patriarchal society. Their religion involved agrarian cults and the worship of the Great Mother.


Passek, T. S. Periodizatsiia tripol’skikh poselenii. Moscow-Leningrad, 1949.
Passek, T. S. Rannezemledel’cheskie (tripol’skie) plemena Podnestrov’ia. Moscow, 1961.
Bibikov, S. N. Rannetripol’skoe poselenie Luka Vrublevetskaia na Dnestre. Moscow-Leningrad, 1953.
Chernysh, E. K. “K istorii naseleniia eneoliticheskogo vremeni v Srednem Pridnestrov’e.” In Neolit i eneolit iuga Evropeiskoi chasti SSSR. Moscow, 1962.
Rybakov, B. A. “Kosmogoniia i mifologiia zemledel’tsev eneolita.” Sovetskaia arkheologiia, 1965, no. 1–2.
Ryndina, N. V. Drevneishee metalloobrabatyvaiushchee proizvodstvo Vostochnoi Evropy. Moscow, 1971.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.