Vinča / Vincha Archaeological Site

Vinča / Vincha Archaeological Site

Vinča is one of the major and the largest prehistoric archaeological sites in Europe that was the heart of the first urban European civilization. From the 6th to the 3rd millennium BC, the so-called “Vinca culture” stretched for hundreds of miles along the Danube river in what is now Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria and the Republic of Macedonia, with traces all around the Balkans, parts of Central Europe and Asia Minor, and even Western Europe.

Vinča archaeological site is situated on the right side of the Danube River bank, 11 km east of Belgrade, in the Grocka Municipality of Belgrade. It was at the Vincha site where the early 20th century excavations uncovered the remains of the eight Neolithic villages. The Vinca archaeological site features an excellent overview of the Danube River which has been an artery of communication ever since. Unfortunately, although this exceptional archaeological site has a lot of history underneath, it is faced with a threat of damage from the Danube River floods and also lack of funding to carry on excavations in order to uncover what lies beneath. The sites of the Vinča culture make its eastern edge in the territory of Serbia are the Rudna Glava, Supska, Drenovac and Pločnik who are in some way, the current eastern border of our country, or very close to it.

As an economic and cultural center of Europe, Vinča has lent its name to what is known as the Vincian culture /rectangular homes built at ground level of wood, clay and straw, black and gray ceramic polished and carved with decorative incisions, anthropomorphic figures with decorative engraving or painted red, funeral rites…/. More than 10.000 Vincha sculpture, most likely of the grave character testify on the religious power of those people. The necropolis from Bronze and Metal period was discovered on the Vincha archaeological locality as the proof of cultural diversity and influence and the peak of Neolithic farming settled culture in Europe. This well-developed Neolithic culture of Vincha which thrived some 4.500 to 3.200 BC spread over the central Balkans and a part of the Panonian Plain, famous for its long-lasting peace, when knowledge, creativity, prosperity and mutual tolerance were foremost values. By the territory it covers and its artistic values, Vinča archaeological site represents one of the most significant issues of the known European civilization. The latest findings show that the Vinča culture was from the very beginning a metallurgical culture.

Vinča was first excavated by prof. Miloje M. Vasic, beginning in 1908 who discovered symbols and the whole inscriptions on more than 10000 artifacts, as the testimony on the pre-writing of the Vincha people, 5000 – 3200 BC. Modern excavations begun at Vinča under the auspices of the Serbian Academy of Sciences in 1978, directed by Nikola Tasic, Gordana Vujovic, Milutin Garasanin and Dragoslav Srejovic. Of about 3000 various artifacts excavated at Vinca Archaeological site, the Great Mother figurine most strikingly represents social relationship, which lived in absolute harmony with nature, whose godlike and regenerative cycles are most analogous to women principles. Not surprisingly Vinca people were aware of the fact that love is sense of life, and that the supreme deity or God – is simple love, best recognized and experienced by a woman who delivers a new life. More than 1000 figurines from Vinca Archaeological site symbol the woman principle, that is one of giving a birth, but also a mother who is day and night concerned about her family. Her large eyes represent her vigilance. Written signs found on various vessels and various Vinca objects, is the first scrip ever, as the legacy to the mankind left from the Vinca civilization at its pinnacle. Some scholars believe that the Vinča symbols represent the earliest form of writing and literacy ever found, predating ancient Egyptian and Sumerian writing by thousands of years. All updated conclusions of research of the Vinca script that are fully archaeologically documented testify on the only indicative and indisputable fact: the origin of the overall literacy is the Vinca script, found  at the Vinca site near Belgrade. Since the Vincha inscriptions are all short and appear on objects found in the Vincha burial sites, and the language represented is not determined, but only assumed to have been the ancient Serbian script, it is unlikely they will be soon deciphered…..

Vinča Sun Calendar, excavated on the Vinca site, was created more that 7527 years ago. The Vinca Calendar was made of clay-ceramics in the form of a circular plate. On its top there is the Vinca symbol for time, used by ancient Serbs to determine important events, what became the leading identity symbol of the Serb people through time and history.

Since the Vinca inscriptions are all short and appear on pottery and figurines found in burial sites, and the language represented in the symbols used for religious purposes in a traditional agricultural society is not known, it is highly unlikely they will ever be deciphered. The Vinča artifacts date from between the 7th and 4th millennia BC and those decorated with these symbols are between 8,000 and 6,500 years old. According to researchers the find of the Vincha script is the oldest in Europe. The signs are laid on both sides of a well-preserved ceramic tile. “This plate is a high form of information transmission and is very complex. Thousands of Vinca inscriptions have been discovered in the region of Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria. The oldest of the finds, known are the outstanding Tartaria tablets which were discovered in 1961, which feature various symbols like a horned animal, an unclear figure, and a vegetal motif, a branch or tree….. The inscribed tablets were examined by a number of scientists from all across the world and isotope carbon 14 dating revealed they were created at least 6,500 years ago. The tablets covered with pictographic writing are extraordinary because they raise the possibility that writing in the Danube basin predated the earliest Sumerian cuneiform and Egyptian hieroglyphics.

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