A doable Neolithic crime scene in Serbia – HeritageDaily

In 1931, Serbian archaeologist Miloje Vasić found a pit containing human skeletal stays while researching the Vinča-Belo Brdo archaeological web site within the suburbs of Belgrade, Serbia.

In his diary, Vasić remarked the invention as “an ossuary with a dromos”, through which 9 human skeletons have been discovered.

Interpretations haven’t excluded that it was a collective burial, however, primarily based on a latest evaluation of the unique photograph documentation, the place of the deceased has been referred to as into query as as to if the burial was a Neolithic crime scene.


Vinča-Belo Brdo web site

The multi-layered web site of Vinča-Belo Brdo (after which a Neolithic tradition in Southeastern Europe is known as) is located some 14 km from central Belgrade. It was inhabited from the Early Neolithic within the sixth millennium BC (Starčevo tradition) all through the Center and Late Neolithic (Vinča tradition), Copper Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, till the Medieval interval.

The primary archaeological excavations passed off in 1908 till 1934 (with interruptions because of the Balkan Wars and World Conflict II). After that, excavations continued from 1978 to 1986, with additional research below the course of N. N. Tasić from 1998 to present-day.

The location has revealed only some finds from the Starčevo interval, due to this fact, the tomb with the dromos is of explicit curiosity because it was constructed by the Starčevo tradition.


The primary anthropological evaluation of the 9 skeletons was carried out in 1937 by anthropologist I. Schwidetzky, nonetheless, after World Conflict II solely cranium fragments from the burials have survived. After greater than 70 years, they are going to be anthropologically examined once more by researchers from the Laboratory of Bioarchaeology, School of Philosophy on the College of Belgrade.

Picture Credit score : Jovanović et al. 2021, fig. 4, reconstruction by S. Živanović

In a research revealed within the journal Documenta Praehistorica XLVIII, the anthropological evaluation has revealed that there was truly 12 adults within the burial as a substitute of 9, and that this possible represents a Neolithic crime scene, fairly than the standard Starčevo burial ceremony.

Two feminine skulls and one male cranium have been recognized, while the intercourse for the remaining 9 skulls is inconclusive. Just one particular person was a younger grownup (15-18 years previous), while others have been adults (20-40 years). The typical peak of those people was 161 cm which was roughly the common stature of Early Neolithic individuals on this area.

Traces of violent behaviour

The everyday mortuary apply of the Starčevo tradition entails the deceased being buried on the left or the correct facet in a crouched (fetus) place. Nonetheless, the photographic proof reveals that this was not the case within the burial, suggesting both a violent demise or that the deceased have been buried in a disrespectful method. That is evidenced by traces of blunt pressure trauma detected on two of the skulls.

The photographic proof additionally helps this because it reveals that the left leg from one skeleton was positioned on its again (which was not doable with out dismembering the leg), while the correct leg was contracted with a damaged femur.

Based mostly on absolute dates, it has been confirmed that the tomb belongs to the Starčevo tradition, and the 9 dated people correspond to a chronological vary between 5700 and 5500 BC. Though a few of the deceased have been buried on the similar time, this isn’t a simultaneous burial of 12 people, additional including to the thriller as as to if this was certainly a Neolithic crime scene.

Written by Maja Miljević-Đajić

Header Picture Credit score : Maja Miljević-Đajić

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