Wednesday, July 4, 2007
Lepenski vir, a unique prehistoric discovery, was brought to light about twenty years ago.
The most important finds in the well laid-out settlement are a number of monumental stone sculptures made some six to seven thousand years ago.
Nothing comparable has ever been unearthed in relation to such early prehistoric periods in the Balkans and the Danube basin.
Particulary valuable to the study of the history of culture and art in the prehistoric Europe are the worked round boulders and marked slabs also found there.
In last few years in the Iron Gate area a separate prehistoric culture was discovered and researched — the culture of Lepenski Vir — which chronologically and culturally links the culture of the Late Paleolithic of this area with the oldest Neolithic culture of the type Starcevo—Körös—Kris. Beside varied and rich archeological finds — the remains of dwelling places, stone sculptures, stone receptacles and altars, as well as of stone and bone industry — in the find-spots of the culture of Lepenski Vir were also discovered the graves which, by their numerousness and stratigraphical position, enable the insight into the way of burying and burial rites practiced through a long time span from about 8000 B. C. till about 5.500 B. C.
For the present, nine settlements of the Lepenski Vir culture are known, four of them on the right bank of the Danube (Lepenski Vir, Vlasac, Hajducka Vodenica, Padina) and five on the left bank (Veterani, Terrasse, Icoana, Razvrata, Ostrovul Banului, Schela Cladovei). While some of these settlements have been investigated as a whole or for the most part (Lepenski Vir, Vlasac, Padina, Schela Cladovei), in the others were carried out only smaller sounding excavations. However, without regard to the degree of investigation of some settlements, it is of importance to note that the data concerning the graves found in them tune into each other, i.e. that they point to the same ways of burying and the same burial rites. The most abundant data in respect of the way of burying and burial rites give the graves from Vlasac, Lepenski Vir and Schela Cladovei. At Vlasac were found 84 graves (110 dead), at Lepenski Vir 82 and at Schela Cladovei about 20.
On the basis of vertical stratigraphy and archeological material, the culture of Lepenski Vir has been divided into two phases: the earlier, represented by the levels Vlasac Ia, b, Proto-Lepenski Vir and Lepenski Vir Ia, b, and the later phase, which includes the settlements Icoana, Schela Cladovei, Vlasac II—III, Lepenski Vir Ic-e, Lepenski Vir II, Padina and Hajducka Vodenica. In both phases the dead were buried within the settlements. However, by time, the way of burying and of burial rites changed. The graves, deriving from the level which represents the earliest phase of the culture of Lepenski Vir show that from the very beginning of this culture the dead were buried in various ways, i.e. that complicated burial rites were practiced...