Archaeologists in Croatia have unearthed what they consider to be the largest New Stone Age city ever discovered in the region. The new find stretches for more than 100 thousand square meters and is believed to be dating back to 4,000 or 5,000 years Before Christ (BC) – roughly 7,000 years old.
This find is located a few kilometres west of Vinkovci (near Vukovar). A research team led by Maja Krznaric Skrivanko and Hrvoje Vulic from Vinkovci Municipal Museum announced this week (Croatian news agency HINA reports) that they had discovered a previously unknown village that dates back to the fifth or fourth millennium BC after having been on the archaeological site for some months.
The archaeologists involved reportedly had no clue that they would find such a massive repository of archaeological treasures before they started the dig.
“At the beginning,” Vulic said, “we found the remains of tanks, wells, and ceramic items dating back to the Stone Age, and we decided to investigate further.”
About 30 inches below the surface, the researchers came upon a treasure trove of ancient materials. As they continued the excavation, the dig unfolded into a site about 100 thousand square meters in area. For now, the researchers are concentrating on a smaller area of about 3,000 square meters. In that spot alone, they’ve found 325 archaeological objects, including fences, wells, and kilns for ceramics.
They have also found the remains of children buried in what appear to have been ritualistic burials. Children and infants’ graves, the researchers say, are a good way of determining what the level of prosperity existed for the village. The graves the researchers uncovered had cattle/bovid skulls and horns interred alongside a child’s remains, as well as pottery placed there as if in a ritual.
The culture present in the area in the fourth and fifth millennium BC was called the Sopot culture, and it stretched across what is now Croatia, Bosnia, and Hungary. The Sopot communities typically settled alongside rivers, streams, and wetlands, while animal husbandry was prevalent.
There is a consensus in Croatia, and wider, that this archaeological discovery represents a most important discovery in the area to date, from the Neolithic to the Roman period. Ina Vukic, Prof. (Zgb); B.A., M.A.Ps. (Syd)