Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lepenski Vir!

Today we saw some awesome sights! My project for the week was to learn about Lepenski Vir and tell the group a bit about the site on the way there.  Enjoy! 

Lepenski Vir was settled between 6000 and 5500 BC during the Mesolithic era (9,500-7,500 BC) and was discovered in 1965 by Dr. Dragoslav Srejovic.  (The Meslolithic era was the transitional period between hunter-gatherer nomadic and farming settled cultures.) It was a semi permanent settlement on the Danube River in the Iron Gates Gorge.  The people that settled there had a diet that relied heavily on fishing and it seems that a lot of their culture was based around fishing and the water.  The people lived in dwellings that were shaped like trapezoids and geometrically coordinated throughout the settlement.  It is suggested that the dwellings were modeled after the large mountainside on the opposite the Danube from their settlement (below).  While at the museum, the speaker mentioned that each dwelling used the measurement of the dweller's shoulders for calculations when building.

Each dwelling had a concrete foundation with a built in fire pit and the shelter was built from sticks.  The homes were used as burial grounds and once someone was buried under the dwelling, it became sacred and was no longer inhabited.  When the bodies were buried under the dwellings, some of the bodies were placed in geometric shapes to mimic those of the dwellings (right). 

At Lepenski Vir, some of the oldest and most “monumental” sculptures in Europe have been found.  The sculptures are of creatures made of stone and they are half fish, half human.  There was one sculpture at the head of each fireplace in each dwelling (left).  Since the culture revolved so heavily around fish, it only makes sense that the people idolized them.

It is believed that many important rituals happened on the grounds of Lepenski Vir and continued to happen there even after most dwellers became farmers and moved to higher ground.  The people of Lepenski Vir spent 2,000 years living on the edge of the Danube without leaving for any length of time.  It is the oldest settlement of its kind in Europe and it is amazing that we were able to see some of the artifacts and the location that helped shape the transition into the Neolithic era.

ALSO, Lepenski Vir is a great candidate for the show Ancient Aliens… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQBxf7WGV8U

****Someone with the fish face picture of everyone please comment and post it!!***


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