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The Lepenski-Vir Civilization

History | 6-12 yrs | Animation, Video

One of the earliest known human settlements, is at the Lepenski-Vir archeological site in modern day Serbia. The presence of these early Europeans date back to around 7000 BC, when they first began settling on the banks of the river Danube.

Lepenski Vir archeological site

There is evidence of a complex, well planned housing system. The houses were arranged in a horseshoe shape that opened into the river. Archeologists believed that the space in between was used as a meeting place or town square.

There seems to be one large central village that probably houses around 100 people. The population must have eventually grown because a few satellite villages came up surrounding the main one.

An interesting factor of each house is that they were all equipped with indoor fireplaces that served as a stove to cook food as well as a source of heat. The Lepenski-Vir settlements are important because they give us an insight into the civilization’s transition from a nomadic hunter-gatherer way of life to an agricultural one.

Seven settlements were discovered at the same site, with 136 different residential buildings being excavated. Their civilization peaked at around 4500 BC.

Lepenski Vir sculptures

There is evidence of pottery and tools, storage pots, axes and sickles. An early form of writing, called the Vinca symbols, has also been discovered and these are as old as the Greek Dispilio tablet, and at least 1000 years older than the Sumerian-Mesopotamian cuneiform scripts.

Since their form of writing had not yet fully developed, we have no way of knowing exactly why these sites were abruptly abandoned. Some archeologists believe that they were not equipped to fight the proto-Indo-Europeans that came after them, while others believe that they simply evolved and moved onto other places, with more suitable conditions of living.

For more such interesting history articles and videos, visit History for Kids category.