It was first referenced in The Super Dimension Fortress Macross TV series from 1982.
The Protoculture created a Stellar Republic that controlled much of the Milky Way Galaxy 500,000 years ago. They are responsible for the creation of the Zentradi, the Meltrandi, the Protodeviln, the Zolan and the Human race.
This advanced civilization also came into contact with the Vajra race and obtained technology from it.
The symbol of the Protoculture is usually depicted in the Macross series as a red or yellow spiral, perhaps to symbolize the shape of the galaxy they once ruled.