Talk abstract details

Prehistoric Cosmology
Emilia Pasztor


Studying and discovering prehistoric cosmological ideas is a challenging research task. In the lack of written and oral elements one should use ‘silent sources’, such as special archaeological finds, iconography and symbols of decoration motifs. This means that archaeological methods should have primary role in revealing prehistoric cosmologies. A detailed description of the universe cannot be expected but to find some fundamental elements of prehistoric teachings on cosmos.
The present basic assumption on Bronze Age cosmology of Europe lies on the “world system” concept and claims that there was a widespread cosmology in Europe whose symbols were shared with western Asia. The rise of a general European sun cult has also been supposed in the Bronze Age. My presentation will focus on the Carpathian Basin, which is in a unique position. It lies at the crossroads of cultural influences coming from all parts of Europe among which the East-Mediterranean interaction has been assumed to be the most influential one according to the ‘centre – periphery model’. The archaeological finds, however, signal the possible existence of a world view different from the ancient Indo-European one. The complexity of cultural interactions and migration of symbols needs complex investigation. As there are no rock carvings or/and are hardly any story-telling pictures among the decorations one should be very careful with interpreting the geometrical symbols to be solar or astral ones. As there are no megalithic monuments which would help to clarify the roles of the celestial bodies in the world view, therefore studying the Bronze Age cosmology in the Carpathian Basin I will apply the results of my other research in relation to the orientations of Bronze Age houses and cemeteries and the comparative study of celestial symbols especially on prestige finds and cult objects.