Monday, June 07, 2021


The Cucuteni culture had periodic destruction of its buildings by fire every 60-80 years, with the new construction being built directly on top of the old structures, seemingly in exact replica. Very odd, certainly. There are several possible explanations, none ascendant. The idea that this was intentional for spiritual reasons has been growing in popularity, as part of some circle of life expression of destruction and creation. Everyone started from scratch every seventy years, and this went on for millennia. One site, Poduri has evidence of thirteen consecutive episodes of this destruction, and thus perhaps nine centuries in one location alone.

Restarting at zero can only occur in a community that is deeply committed to remaining together.  I thought of the Biblical Jubilee year, recurring every fifty years, in which debts were cancelled and slaves were set free. Apparently it was not often observed. This again can only be the custom of people who regard their tribe, their people, as all that they need. Once people start having a foot in two worlds they will find reasons to leave the one where they have to give up their stuff. Most of us would look at this practice as ripe for division in society, but it may have been commanded as a long-term force for unifying a people. It would never be a complete leveling, as trade networks, craft knowledge, and farming techniques would carry over across the Jubilee year. Resentments were likely high the last years before and the first few after.

Still it would have been good for us if our ancestors had done this. Slavery would have ended without a war. Envy would be mitigated with less burning hatred against inherited wealth. The unlucky would get a second chance, and merit would have fertile ground for proving out. Massive generosity is always great when it's the other guy who has to do it. However, there might also be some attraction because it is limited. You do this once in a lifetime, and painful as it might be, you also are free of further obligation.


james said...

If it were exactly periodic maybe it might have been a religious ritual. Not quite periodic... If I may be a bit flippant, that's one way to deal with bedbugs.

Unless there was a spring in the hill they build a town on, keeping it sanitary would be hard. Maybe they had a rule--3 summers of cholera in a row ==> burn it down and start over.

Douglas2 said...

My comment on the later "coffee beans" post ( would probably be more appropriate here.