Drenovac Archaeological Site Paracin

The Late Neolithic houses excavated at Drenovac, Serbia, rank amongst the best-preserved in Europe. The site of Slatina-Turska česma in Drenovac, is located in the Middle Morava Valley of central Serbia, some 9 km away from the town of Paracin. Prof. dr. Slaviša Perić – Institute of Archaeology Belgrade is the head authority of archaeological excavations in process at the Drenovac site.

“The earliest excavations on this site date from the 6th millennia BC, which makes it recognized among archaeologists as the Neolithic Megapolis, as on some 50 hectares there were discovered between 600 and 700 houses. It is estimated that on this area lived up to 2000 people. Remains of discovered huses testify that some of them had storey constcution made of mud and wood, without yard, and the method of its construction it is assumed that houses were built by plan.” source Danas

In particular, the preservation of collapsed second-store floors offers unique insights into household and social organization. It is a deeply stratified site, with cultural deposits up to 6.5m thick, that spans two main periods of occupation (separated by a hiatus of approximately 700 years): the Early Neolithic Starčevo Culture (6100–5900 BC) and the Late Neolithic Vinča Culture (5300–4700/4500 BC). According to the distribution of the items found on the surface and registered geomagnetic anomalies, it can be assumed that the Neolitic settlement in Drenovac spread on some 40 hectares during the earliest phase of the Vinca culture, that make it one of among the largest Neolithic settlements in Serbia. The site was first recorded in 1966, and the first large-scale excavations undertaken between 1968 and 1971 (Vetnić 1974: 125–39; Perić 2004). In 2004, the Archaeological Institute in Belgrade conducted further excavations to improve understanding of the site’s chronology, stratigraphy, formation processes and occupation dynamics (Perić 2009; Perić & Perić 2014).

Geomagnetic surveys of the Drenovac Neolithic site were carried out in parallel with further excavations undertaken between 2008 and 2011 in cooperation with the Romano–Germanic Commission of the German Archaeological Institute (Perić et al. 2016) and, between 2012 and 2013, with the Viminacium Center for New Technologies. An extensive geomagnetic survey carried out in the two-thirds of the Drenovac site offers extraordinary insights into the layout and huge population extent and intense construction activities of the Late Neolithic settlement that has enabled targeted excavations. Prof. Slavisa Peric – The earliest traces of life here date from the period of 6200 years BC, the settlement was active until some 4000 BC, to experience soon its life extinct, as was the case in the other Neolithic settlements in the Central Pomoravlje area – the Middle Morava River course. 

Drenovac is one of the largest Neolithic sites in the Balkans, as it covers area of more than 40 hectares. The explorations at the Drenovac site discovered the remains of settlements dating back from the early Neolithic period – Protostarchevo phase around 6200 BC, and the Late Neolithic era – Vinca culture 5200 to 4500 BC, and cultural layer is 6,5 meters deep. There are 85 Neolithic settlements discovered in the area of Middle Pomoravlje, of which 62 settlements belong to the Early-Neolithic Starchevo culture, 16 settlements date from the Late-Neolithic Vinca culture, while 7 settlements are assumed to contain layers of both cultures.

The Neolithic settlement of Drenovac was very advanced and organized, it consisted of large number of houses built close to each other in regular rows.  Surface houses were rectangular in pan and some of them had more than one floors. Most of the excavated houses were destroyed in a fire, causes of which are not yet completely clear and inside their remains archaeologists have discovered numerous pieces of anthropomorphic and zoo-morphic figurines, altars, stoves, amulets, pottery, tools and jewelry. Two seated anthropomorphic figurines named Moravka 1 and Moravka 2, dated from the Neolithic period of the Vinca culture around 4500 BC were found at the remains of the large Neolithic settlement of Drenovac archaeological site near Paracin in central Serbia. Dimensions – height 30cm and 28,5 cm width, exposed at the Collection of the Museum in Jagodina.

Vinca was highly developed culture which is known for organized settlements and its early exploration and processing of copper ore. The oldest traces of metallurgy in Europe were discovered at several sites of Vinca culture in Serbia, such as Plocnik and Belovode sites. Source ArcheoSerbia

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