Cucuteni artifacts at the Ashmolean Museum

20 May - 15 August 2010

Before the invention of writing and the first cities of Mesopotamia and Egypt were established in 4500 BC, 'Old Europe' was among the most technologically advanced and sophisticated places in the world. At the heart of the region were the fertile valleys of the Danube River, where Neolithic farmers established long-lasting settlements upon the agriculturally rich plains.

The Ashmolean Museum presents for the first time in Britain more than 250 artefacts recovered by archaeologists from the settlements and cemeteries of 'Old Europe'. The exhibition The Lost World Of Old Europe: The Danube Valley, 5000 - 3500 BC encompasses artistic and technological achievements of this region, from elaborate female figurines and stunning painted pottery, to vast variety of copper and gold objects.

Highlights include the enigmatic set of 21 Cucuteni terracotta female figurines and chairs from Poduri-Dealul Ghindaru (North-East Romania) and The Thinker from Hamangia (South Romania). The anthropomorphic figurines are one of the world's most extraordinary assemblages of prehistoric artifacts.

On Tuesday 8 June, the Romanian Cultural Institute in London organises a series of special events, part of the exhibition at the Ashmolean Museum.

Gallery 61, 2 - 3pm
Professor Dragomir Popovici (Director of Archaeology, Romanian National History Museum, Bucharest) will hold the lecture Peoples, space and society in the Chalcolithic period of the Danube Valley 5000-4000 BC.

Professor Dragomir Popovici is one of the pioneering archaeologists who ventured in the excavation and study of the Old Europe. He published over 40 articles, among which Copper Age Traditions North of the Danube River; The Lost World of Old Europe. The Danube Valley, 5000-3500BC; A l'aube de l'Europe and Study on Pigments for Ceramics and Glass Using X-ray Methods. His intense scientific activity is combined with participation in various European programmes such as COST G 8 European Union, 2002-2006, the EARTH Programme of the European Union, 2005 and EU-ECONET, 2006.

Atrium, 3 - 4pm
A live performance from Romania's highly acclaimed singer-songwriter and puppeteer Monooka will follow. Based on Gypsy music and the Doina, Monooka's poetic melodies characterise her unique and exciting sound.

When: 20 May - 15 August 2010;
Where: The Ashmolean Museum, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH.
Free admission to special events. Exhibition: £6.00 / £4.00 concession.