The efforts of investigation the relations between the early Bronze Age cultures of the Carpathian Basin and the contemporary cultures of Central and western Central Europe in order to ultimately explain the formation of Bronze Age civilization mostly failed for two reasons: For one, because of the poor quantity of published material; for another, because of a large variety of different views in research which were retained almost unchanged in spite of the publishing of excavations yielding new results.
In this respect two cultures were of special importance because, due to their distribution in the central Carpathian Basin, they played a central role in the system of relations triggering the formation of the early Bronze Age in Central Europe. One of these cultures was the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. In this concept were included several cultures and cultural groups which were named “Makó culture”, “Kosihy-Čaka group” and “(early) Somogyvár culture” due to the development in the history of research although they did not differ clearly enough from each other to justify separate investigations. The other culture dealt with more closely is the Nagyrév culture whose classification and cultural placement even today goes back to the fundamental work of I. Bóna at the beginning of the 1960's. These cultures were constantly referred to for a contemplation of the origin and the development of various other cultures significant for the transition to the early Bronze Age (Bell Beaker culture, late Corded Ware, Únětice, Nitra a. o.).
The aim, therefore, was first to create a foundation for the comparison of these cultures by reexamining the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex and the Nagyrév culture on a mutual methodological base. The basis for this was an analysis of the pottery found in settlements and graves. In a first step, a mutual schema for vessel types was worked out which served as a starting-point for further analyses. In a second step, the pottery of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex and the Nagyrév culture was investigated separately. A systematic consideration of vessel forms (aided by a classification system based on measurements) and an analysis of decorations (aided by the definition of features concerning the technique, disposition, motive and style) formed the starting-point of an investigation made up of both combinatorial and comparative methods.
This examination resulted in the formation of vessel types which were made up of vessels similar in features and combinations of features. For both cultures, the feature 'vessel form' played an important role. On account of similar decorations and vessel forms, these types could be combined to groups of types. These groups should illustrate the relations of the analysis of features between vessels more exactly and therefore give an overview of the different types. The vessel types were the starting basis for chronological investigations of graves and – as far as existing – settlement stratigraphies.
The analysis of bowl types decorated on the inside occurring in the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex resulted in a division in groups of types which could be recognised initially as regional manifestations within the complex. A group distributed in north Transdanubia and east Austria shows close contacts to the Croatian-Slovenian region. A second group is distributed in south-west Slovakia, the Budapest region and in north-east Transdanubia. In the Middle and Lower Tisza region a third group can be distinguished. A last, smaller group is distributed in the Lower Maros region. These groups point to an inner regional structure within the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. They are not covered by the definitions of the concepts Makó and Kosihy-Čaka.
A classification of the few graves resulted in a preliminary division in three combinatorial groups. The first group consists of bowls decorated on the inside, plainly profiled jugs and Hg5 vessels. A younger dating of the last two vessel types could not be confirmed, so a Balcanic origin is no reality. Unseparated cremation and urn burials are typical for this combinatorial group. The last combinatorial group differs strongly from the first. Types of jugs with a convex, squat body, a vertically disrated neck and a slightly widening mouth belong to this group. Bowls decorated on the inside cease to exist. Inhumation appears increasingly. The distribution of this combinatorial group stretches over almost the whole distributional territory of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex and therefore shows no regional specialties. Therefore these graves still belong to the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex, which is contrary to previous opinions.
The foundation of the origin of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex seems to be a development triggered by the influence of the Pit-Grave/Catacomb culture during the late Eneolithic (according to Central European terminology). This became evident on the basis of a comparison of graves belonging to different cultures in east Central Europe which are characterized by common features concerning mortuary practices, modes of dress and pottery. These features could be traced back to the area of the Pit-Grave/Catacomb culture. This culture advanced along the Lower Danube, reaching east Hungary and encountering different indigenous Eneolithic cultures in these regions. Earliest contacts are discernible in the Zimnicea cemetery and in certain graves in Moldavia which show an acceptance of elements of mortuary practices and certain elements of dress. Further west, the late Cotofeni culture in Oltenia and the Kostolac culture of the Carpathian Basin were similarly influenced. In the end this led to a uniform cultural pattern in east Central Europe marked among others by the cultures of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex in the Carpathian Basin, the early Vinkovci culture in the Sirmian-Slavonian region, the Belotić-Bela-Crkva groups in the Drina valley, the late Glina culture of Oltenia, the stone cist horizon in Muntenia and the Jedinec group in Moldavia. This influence led to the appearance of inhumation practice in the province of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. For this reason, the “Protonagyrév culture” postulated by I. Bóna must be rejected. It allegedly expanded from the south into the Carpathian Basin and runs parallel to the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex; but no evidence was found for this model. The finds mentioned from settlements in the Danube region allegedly belonging to the ”Protonagyrév culture” belong, on the one hand, to the spectrum of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex, concerning their distinction of types; on the other hand, a regional limitation of this material could not be distinguished.
The Nagyrév culture yielded a development in four phases recognizable in the whole distributional area, the central Hungarian region. In phase 1, the vessel types display reminiscences to the vessel types of the late Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex both in form and decoration. Slightly s-profiled vessel walls on a major part of the pottery can be recognized as a common feature. The decorations consist of net-like motives applied in comb-stroke technique on the vessel's lower part or body. Often the lower part is entirely covered with roughening in comb-stroke technique. A couple of graves, up to now thought to belong to the Bell Beaker-Csepel group could be associated with this group. In the Danube region the same cultural relations as in the Tisza region prevail in phase 1, i. e. features of the Bell Beaker-Csepel group are no longer recognizable. Merely the occasionally appearing practice of urn burials separates the Danube from the Tisza regions. Otherwise, the practice of unseparated cremation in phase 1 prevails in the whole region whereas south-north oriented inhumation burials in a crouched position, lying on the right side, appear occasionally. Layer 4 in Dunaföldvár-“Kálvária“ (Kom. Tolna) could be linked with phase 1 according to similar vessel types. This settlement exhibits an important supplement to the graves of the Nagyrév culture. It is situated above a stratum marked with pottery of the Bell Beaker-Csepel group. This confirms the succession proved by the chronology of the graves.
In phase 2 traditions of the preceding phase carry on. This is true for the mortuary practice as well as for the pottery. The pottery types are now distinguished by forms with a conically converging neck and a low, strongly widening mouth. The decorations on the vessels recede. Comb-stroke decoration is no longer used. More often, combinations of ribs applied on the body can be found on the vessels. The practice of unseparated cremation is carried on, the grave pit, however, is now oriented west-east. Inhumation burial still appears rarely; east-west oriented crouched burials on the left side can be found. In phase 3, a change in mortuary practice can be observed. Unseparated cremation is replaced by urn burials. Strongly s-profiled beakers covered with a bowl served as a receptacle for burnt human remains. In or next to the beaker a strongly s-profiled jug or a bowl was placed as a grave good. The practice of inhumation burials is carried on unchanged and corresponding to the previous phase. In phase 4, the s-profiled beakers used as receptacles for burnt human remains are still used, but now the s-profile is more strongly accentuated. Besides, incised lines covering the vessel replace the fine roughening of the entire vessels' surface more and more often. Furthermore, Hg 3 vessels decorated with incised lines or undecorated appear now frequently as receptacles for burnt human remains. In this phase, faience and bone pearls, bronze sheet rolls and bronze spiral rolls and, more rarely, slender bow-headed pins and undecorated oar-headed pins appear as jewellery grave goods. The frequent appearance of Hg 3 vessels in this last phase already points to the Vatya culture. This vessel type is still used in the early Vatya culture. Besides, new forms of jewellery appear.
The last part of the investigation deals with the outer relations in a relative chronological aspect of the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex and the Nagyrév culture. It could be observed that although the influence of the cultures in the Carpathian region on those beyond the Carpathian Basin was clearly a fact, it was expressed differently and not evenly. The graves distributed in the Hungarian Danube region and commonly attributed to the Bell Beaker-Csepel group could be allotted to different cultures. One part of these graves shows contacts to the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. This is true for the graves containing characteristic Bell Beaker assemblage. Another part of the graves could be associated with phase 1 of the Nagyrév culture. The hypothesis of the Nagyrév complex belonging to the Bell Beaker-Csepel group could be refuted. Those graves commonly counted to the late Corded Ware of Moravia show strong affiliations to the graves of the Carpathian regions. Traditions common for the Corded Ware are sparsely recognizable. Therefore these graves should be integrated in a specific group. This group can be parallelized chronologically wit h the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. Therefore it is older than the early Nagyrév culture and the early Proto-Únětice culture.
A consideration of the Somogyvár culture located in south Transdanubia, with special respect to the results of the excavation of the settlement of Börzönce (Kom. Zala) yielded the realization that the oldest pottery finds belong to the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex. The more recent development, however, ran parallel to the phases 1–2 of the Nagyrév culture. It was marked by a pottery inventory showing regional peculiarities. It differed quite clearly from the Nagyrév culture in the central Hungarian region. Still, this process of regionalization went on gradually. While the development comparable to phase 1 of the Nagyrév culture still showed some identical vessel types, they disappeared in the latest development in favour of characteristic vessel types restricted to the Somogyvár culture. This classification of Somogyvár pottery is in opposition to prevailing opinions. The same chronological framework could be applied to the Ada group located in the regions between Danube and the Tisza in the south. It shows features of both Somogyvár and Nagyrév culture in its pottery and therefore stands not only geographically but also culturally in between these two cultures. The Pitvaros group runs parallel to the first two phases of the Nagyrév culture. A development dating older and connected to the Makó-Kosihy-Čaka complex could not be ascertained. The formation of the Pitvaros group is connected to cultural changes brought about by the Pit-Grave culture and recognizable as well in the region of the Lower Danube. No significant Carpathian influence could be observed in the group in south-west Slovakia; in this region, the closer contact to the Polish regions is perceptible. A closer contact is only articulated in the older Nitra culture, recognizable in characteristic vessel forms influenced by Carpathian vessel types of the Nagyrév and Somogyvár cultures. In the younger Nitra culture these contacts expressed in the vessel types could not be discerned that easily. Closest contacts to the Proto-Únětice culture are visible in the oldest phase. A major part of the vessel types is identical to those of phase 1 of the Nagyrév culture. The contacts remained existent during the more recent phase of the Proto-Únětice culture, but a stronger differentiation can be perceived. A comparable, though slightly diminished development could be found in east Austria.
Translated by cand. phil. Valeska Becker