Gheare de urs și reprezentări de urside în contexte arheologice din prima epocă a fierului la est de Carpați Ion Tentiuc, Valeriu Bubulici, Angela Simalcsik

Calaret razboinic Mana

BEAR CLAWS AND REPRESENTATIONS OF URSIDAE WITHIN THE ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONTEXT OF THE FIRST AND SECOND IRON AGE EAST OF THE CARPATHIANS. The cremation burial of a warrior rider discovered at Mana (Orhei), endowed with an important set of weapons of Latène type, ritually destroyed, also contained 10 distal phalanges of brown bear’s hind paws (Ursus Arctos). The research allowed to identify analogies for the bear claws in the burial antiquities of the Celtic andGermanic world of Central and Western Europe, but also among the vestiges of the Scythian and Sarmatian world in the second Iron Age. At the same time it was seen that the bear bones (claws and canine teeth), as well as clay figurines and bone, bronze, silver or gold plaques and pendants representing bears, which were found most commonly in burial complexes, but also in settlements, reveal certain practices and beliefs that were related to the cult of the bear in the first and second Iron Age to the east of the eastern Carpathians. Human communities of prehistoric time, antiquity and the early Middle Ages, as well as traditional societies (peoples with archaic mentality of the modern period) had a special attitude towards this animal, especially due to its exceptional physical force.

Communities of warriors, and not only them, shared a belief system, which was based on the transfer of power from an animal/bear to a human community in an attempt to obtain special outstanding qualities – physical strength, daring, apotropaic exceptional qualities – virtues of the animal. The archaeological materials relating to the first and second Iron Age from the sites (settlements and cemeteries) in the East Carpathian area testify to the existence of beliefs associated with the cult of a bear among Thracians and Geto-Dacians. The earliest for the 1st millennium BC probably is the bear paw pattern from Cozia and Hansca (Fig. 3/3). On pieces from the hoards from Agighiol and Letnița (Fig. 3/2 and 4) belonging to the 4th century we find images of a bear and cubs. For the 3rd-1st centuries BC we can mention vessels with zoomorphic handles representing bears, which were discovered in the Carpic sites of Bărboasa-Gălănești (Bacău), Moldoveni-Gabăra (Neamț) and Poieneşti (Vaslui) (Fig. 5/1-3). For the first centuries of our era the handles representing a bear are certified in the sites of Free Dacians at Vlădiceni-Bâzgoaia (Neamț) and Pruteni (Fălești) (Fig. 6/3-4) and in the Sarmatian sites at Dumeni (Râşcani) (Fig. 6/1), Olăneşti (Ștefan Vodă), and Bocani (Făleşti) (Fig. 8/1-2). So, exceptional physical strength, outstanding apotropaic qualities, power throughout were qualities for which Ursidae were revered in all times, from the Palaeolithic until the premodern period, in human communities from geographic regions of bear habitat, being part of the beliefs, rites, rituals and religious practices of man. The horseman-warrior from Mana (Fig. 10), an adolescent at the age of 14 to 16, belonged to a high-level social group. He was cremated in a bearskin cloak worn during life or used only in the ritual, as a sign of a high position in the social hierarchy.

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