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Kultura Lepenskog vira usvetlu novih istraživanja [Lepenski Vir Culture in the Light of New Research]

Boric, Dusan 2008. Kultura Lepenskog vira usvetlu novih istraživanja [Lepenski Vir Culture in the Light of New Research]. Glasnik Srpskog arheološkog društva (24) , pp. 9-44.

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Abstract

In the past ten years, recent studies of the Mesolithic-Neolithic sequences of the Danube Gorges (pl. I) have forced us to re-think our previous understanding of this regional phenomenon. The paper reviews these new developments that include both new archaeometric analyses (stable and strontium isotopes and AMS dating), which have been employed on the material from the old excavations, as well as new fieldwork that has been conducted on the Serbian side of the Danube. The archaeological evidence from this region offers an unique opportunity in European Prehistory to understand the character and circumstances of transformations that affected local fisher-forager populations through their contacts with Neolithic worlds. There are 118 new AMS dates from five sites (67 dates from Lepenski Vir, 26 dates from Vlasac, 17 dates from Padina, 6 dates from Hajdučka vodenica, and 2 dates from Ajmana) on the Serbian side of the Danube, obtained in the past decade or so through dating programmes funded by the NERC-AHRC Oxford Radiocarbon Dating Service programme and the National Science Foundation AMS Facility at the University of Arizona. These dates have clarified stratigraphic and chronological matters significantly, enabling precise dating of chronologically sensitive aspects of the material culture and settlement pattern dynamics in a diachronic perspective (table 1). One of the most controversial aspects has been the dating of the site of Lepenski Vir. There is now clear dating evidence along with a revision of stratigraphic relations that puts the phase of trapezoidal buildings (fig. 2) at this site in the Early Neolithic historical context, i.e. from around 6200 to 5900 B.C. Results of stable and strontium isotope analyses have given us information about patterns of dietary practices and individual mobility. The exceptions to the Mesolithic pattern of a fish-dominated diet show up only at Lepenski Vir and Ajmana (fig. 3) at the time when other aspects of life also change with the arrival of Neolithic-looking materialities around 6200 B.C. Interestingly, results of strontium isotope analyses indicate that these individuals with a less fish-dominated diet were migrants from areas outside of the Danube Gorges. That some of these individuals might have been from Neolithic communities inhabiting surrounding regions is supported by the position they were buried in as crouched inhumations (pl. II/1), which characterizes the Neolithic burial rite. Aspects of Mesolithic-Neolithic transition in this region have most recently been investigated through new field research in the hinterland areas of the Danube Gorges and at one of the classic settlements of the Lepenski Vir culture: the site of Vlasac. This research led to the discovery of a new Neolithic site: the site of Aria Babi on the Ko{o Hill above Lepenski Vir (pl. I). The occupation at this site might have been contemporaneous with the Middle Neolithic phase at Lepenski Vir, i.e. the period when most trapezoidal buildings were being abandoned and domestic stock was introduced for the first time to this particular site. On the other hand, new excavations on the preserved portion of the site of Vlasac started in 2006 and, among other things, have resulted in the discovery of the phase that is contemporaneous with the phase of trapezoidal buildings at Lepenski Vir. This transformational phase in the Danube Gorges is represented in the upper level of a group burial (fig. 4: pl. II/2) discovered at Vlasac where adults were buried along with neonates and children (pl. III/1). While individuals with the Mesolithic pattern of fish- -dominated diet were still at this time (ca. 6200-5900 B.C.) buried according to Mesolithic burial rites as extended skeletal inhumations, in these burials one finds new types of body ornaments: red and white limestone beads (pl. III/1), also found in three burials at Lepenski Vir, as well as Spondylus beads (pl. III/2). These Spondylus beads may currently be one of the earliest dated examples for the establishment of a new, Spondylus exchange network in European Prehistory. Such finds point out complex interactions between local foragers and incoming 'foreigners' in this regional setting. Even the impetus to build trapezoidal structures with durable floors at Lepenski Vir and Padina must have come through the awareness of the changing socio-economic milieus in the Balkans at the time. The characterization of the processes of change that were taking place at this historical juncture remains an open field for competing interpretive efforts.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: History, Archaeology and Religion
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
D History General and Old World > DR Balkan Peninsula
Uncontrolled Keywords: Lepenski vir; Vlasac; Đerdap; stratigrafija; hronologija; prehrana; migracija; transformaciona faza
Language other than English: Serbian
Publisher: Serbian Archaeological Society
ISSN: 0352-5678
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2019 02:38
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/39276

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