Just 14 kilometers southeast of Belgrade lies Vinča, one of the largest prehistoric settlements in Europe.
Named after the eponymous village in whose area it was excavated, this archaeological site preserves the ruins of a human settlement, as well as artefacts created between 5300 and 4300 BCE when the Early Vinča culture emerged and replaced the Late Starčevo culture.
Layers of this archaeological site, measuring more than ten metres in height, reveal nine soil horizons, with ruins of human settlements from different periods. The oldest finds confirm that Neolithic humans dwelled in huts. They prepared and served food in baked earth pottery, while the numerous stone weapons found on site were used for hunting and defence.
In other soil horizons, with artefacts and buildings dated to later periods, the preserved ruins reveal that houses were spacious and square-shaped, built from wood and mud. If you observe the various soil horizons of the Vinča culture, you will notice the evolution of construction and architecture over time.
Favourable conditions for cattle farming and crop farming allowed the community to thrive, turning Vinča into a major commercial, cultural and religious centre in the Early Neolithic, with a profound influence on the cultures of all agricultural communities in Central and Southeast Europe.
After the discovery of copper, Vinča lost its importance and only a small settlement remained on its site, which survived until the beginning of history.
Tools and weapons were made from stone, horns and bones, while jewels were made from fossilised shells. Pots, vases and sacrificial altars were also found, but the most interesting finds are the numerous roll-shaped and flattened statues resembling human shapes which were found on site.
The variety of items unearthed at Vinča will give you a glimpse of the daily life of humans in a prehistoric settlement, as well as the early cultural history of the Danube basin region, which is closely linked to the Vinča culture.
A tour of the site, either on your own or accompanied by a curator, will help you understand this exciting period of human history. And for a complete experience, be sure to visit the National Museum in Belgrade, which displays artefacts found on the Vinča site.