Vinca

Some 15 km away from Belgrade, down the Danube River prehistoric Vinca is located. Sight was inhabited as early as 5 000 BC and it is considered to be the largest prehistoric settlement in Serbia and even more populated than cities that were yet to appear in ancient Mesopotamia. Vinca settlers were engaged in hunting, farming, mining, trading and maybe even writing, as enigmatic Vinca signs are still to be deciphered on local pottery.

They used to live in mud houses covered with two folded roofs in parallel rows divided by primitive streets. Vinca started to lose its strategic importance with discovery of copper that marked the end of the Stone Age and beginning of the Bronze Age. Local museum exhibition is trying to recreate everyday life in Neolithic settlement.

Vinca inhabitants were very skillful artisans. Various bone needles, harpoons and hooks used for fishing, weights, axes and other tools, jewelry etc., found on site can testify about high level of craftsmanship they possessed.

When it comes to mining there are archeological sites on Avala Mountain that confirm that Vinca inhabitants were capable of producing reddish color pigment used for fabric dyeing, called Cinabarit. Archeological site Belovode in Eastern Serbia has shaken time borders in between stone and metal ages because it has led scientist to believe that members of Vinca civilization were capable of producing copper.

Vinca used to be major trading center judging by the large quantities of highly valuable, volcanic glass called Obsidian found on site. This extremely sharp material, also known as the Black gold of the Stone Age, was transported from present day Slovakia down the Danube River all the way to Vinca from which point it used to be further distributed throughout the region.

Relatively high artistic achievements for that period of time in terms of pottery sculpture were reached in the field of female figurines representing Mother Deity as it used to symbolize procreation phenomenon (Vinca Lady and Vidovdan Lady). Also, very interesting pots with animal like tops were used most likely in religious rituals (Hide Vase).

Finally, the biggest mystery of Vinca culture is preserved in signs found on local pottery. Scientists believe that this might be the oldest alphabet of human civilization. Unfortunately, it cannot be deciphered.