Remnants of Ancient Slavic Civilization Surface in Vegetable Plots

Not all pottery shards, bowl fragments, or slices of rudimentary plates are created equal, and if you are a Ukrainian mildly tending your vegetable plot, your digging may just unearth 8,000 years of history. Who were the original owners of some of these archeological finds? The land-tilling Trypillian culture, discovered by a history student over one hundred years ago, was a Slavic precursor to Ukrainians.

Anthropologists and researchers continue to debate the length of time this culture thrived. Some believe that this path of history only lasted 1,500 years while others argue that the line continued for 3,000 years. Most historians believe, however, that the Trypillian-Aryan tribes and today’s Ukrainians form an uninterrupted line of Slavic peoples and may have laid the foundations for the Ukrainian nation.

Private collectors and local museums managed to preserve many of the archeological finds and some items suggest that the Trypillians were the first to invent the wheel, domesticate horses and cows, and cultivate 12 varieties of grain. Earthenware collected from pits show signs and symbols familiar to Chinese and other European cultures. Some pieces carry an unsolved mystery like one shaped like binoculars. Are these items ritual vessels, candlesticks, or musical instruments? No one knows.

The State Archeology Museum and the private Museum of Trypillian Culture were founded by modest enthusiasts. Items on display were salvaged and collected from ravines, pits, and sometimes private vegetable gardens. In one of the ravines along the slopes of the Dnipro River, three tons of earthenware fragments were found.

Preservation of this ancient culture is a priority from a historical and tourism perspective in modern-day Ukraine. Plans are currently underway for construction of a Trypillian village complete with wooden and thatched- roofed structures built as they were constructed 8,000 years ago.