Oldest Indo European Calendar?

From: Christopher Gwinn
Message: 7363
Date: 2001-05-23

I am wondering if anyone ran across this news item in recent months - any
thoughts on it?
-Chris Gwinn

<start quote>
"The Vucedol Orion and the Oldest European Calendar
(Author of the exhibition is Aleksandar Durman; Exhibition is organised by
the Archaeological

Museum in Zagreb, Municipal Museum Vinkovci and Municipal Museum Vukovar)
The exhibition will be open on March 29 2001.

The right bank of the Danube River in eastern Croatia was settled by members
of the Vucedol
Culture at the beginning of the third millennium BC. This predominant
cultural phenomenon (in
the period between 2900-2400 BC) had a great influence on other contemporary
cultures, and it
also left behind considerable traces in the European heritage as a whole.
It was contemporary with the Sumer period in Mesopotamia, the Old Kingdom
in Egypt ("The Age of
Pyramids") and the early Troy (I and II).

Its high standards were first achieved through an economy related to
stock-raising, and in later
phases on mining and copper metallurgy based on a new revolutionary
technological process - mass
casting. The need for copper resulted in the expansion of the Vucedol
Culture from its homeland
of Slavonia into the broader region of central and south-eastern Europe.
Society became
stratified, as is shown by the rich princely graves.
This exhibition wishes to present the Vucedol Culture conception of the
world, as shown on
their vessels, particularly the terrines and the vessels developed from
them - referred to as
censers. They had more of a ritual than a practical role.

The decorations on these terrines can be deciphered as various
representations of the horizon
above the Waters on which the Earth floats, the daily birth of the Dawn and
the Sun, but also
the spring marking the beginning of a new year, as well as the
representations of the four
seasons with the indicative constellations on the night sky: Orion, Cygnus,
Cassiopeia, Pegasus,
Gemini, Pisces, the Pleiades. On the large Vucedol terrines, a zone with a
depiction of the
heavens extends from the horizon to the upper rim of the vessel.
Constellations are most often
shown in these fields. Orion was present in almost all combinations, and the
Cassiopeia, and some planetary symbols also appear. The terrines with such a
decoration offer
their illustrated message of an individual story about the fate of the
deceased next to which
they were usually placed. Although it is not something that is easy to
admit, the decoration on
them is closely related to views of the situation in the graves in which
they are most often
found, including human victims. In this manner the heavenly drama was
equalised with the human

One pot from the Vucedol layer in Vinkovci, dated prior to 2600 BC.,
displays the most
complete European (Indo-European) calendar based on astral symbolism
representing the relevant
constellation characteristic for all four seasons. The calendar id
synchronous with the Sumerian
and Egyptian calendars and is by no means their replica because it had been
established on the
far more northern, 45th parallel. The climatic conditions corresponding to
that latitude brought
about four yearly seasons. The determination of the season can best be
perceived in the
positions and relations between certain symbols that undoubtedly mark the
significant for individual parts of the year.

In comparison with the Sumerian-Babylonian, Egyptian, Chinese, Indian, and
other ancient
calendars, the constellations can be clearly defined, and the zones or belts
into which some
vessels are divided exhibit several annual units. The constellations that
denote individual
seasons were shown at the moment of twilight, as the first landmarks of the
evening sky (Orion,
Gemini, Pegasus, the Pleiades, Cassiopeia, Cygnus).
Naturally, the very common symbolism of the Sun (without a single depiction
of the Moon) shows
the complete displacement of lunar symbolism, which is an Indo-European

The year at Vucedol began with the spring equinox, when the Sun symbolically
supplanted the most
important winter constellation of Orion. To be more exact, that night
Orion's Belt appeared a
short while for the last time in the winter sky, disappearing for several
months. This chance
circumstance, noted by the inhabitants of Vucedol, today no longer exists
because of the course
of time (precession), helped them in determining the first day of the new
year, but also in
coordinating the number of days in their year (unknown to us) with the
actual number of days of
the yearly revolution of the Earth around the Sun."
<end quote>