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About neolithic authenticity of finds from Belica

dc.creatorAntonović, Dragana
dc.creatorPerić, Slaviša
dc.description.abstractNekoliko kamenih i koštanih predmeta iz Belice (lokaliteti Pojate-Pojilo i Livade) i Lozovika (lokalitet Repuška), kod Jagodine, bili su tokom 2004. i 2010. godine podvrgnuti mikroskopskom ispitivanju. Tragovi obrade konstatovani na njima ukazuju na upotrebu brusnog alata sa velikim brojem obrtaja u njihovoj izradi. U radu je dat kritički osvrt na uslove nalaza predmeta sa lokaliteta Pojate-Pojilo u Belici, kao i na sam način izrade objekata 'neolitske umetničke plastike' iz okoline Jagodine. Arheološka istraživanja koja su na neolitskom lokalitetu u Belici izvedena avgusta 2003. godine nisu dala nijedan nalaz takve vrste. Na osnovu svega je zaključeno da pomenuti predmeti ne mogu biti ni neolitske niti praistorijske
dc.description.abstractThe objects of 'Neolithic plastic art' from Belica, made from baked clay, stone and bone, have been arriving at the Regional Museum in Jagodina since 1991. These are accidental finds which never caught the attention of experts, even though one of them, a figurine from black rock which arrived at the museum in 1992, has been a part of a permanent exhibition. Almost two decades after its arrival at the museum, the archaeologist Dr Milorad Stojić would place it among the most substantial finds of Neolithic figural plastic, identifying it as the Proto-Starčevo culture, dated to 6000 years BC and named it the 'Great Mother', linking her to the Neolithic cult of fertility (Stojić 2011, 344) Asignificantly greater number of objects from Belica since 2001, first as accidental finds by Života Milanović, an associate of the Regional Museum in Jagodina, arrived to Dr Milorad Stojić who undertook a one-day protective intervention at the site of Pojate-Pojilo in Belica village, the exact area from which previously collected finds originated. Ashort excavation, which was 'less than two full hours of work' (according to the Report of the excavation), was carried out in January 2002. On that occasion a pit, which was only 10 cm deep and located on the surface of the village dirt road, was investigated (fig. 1). The excavation, together with the appropriate technical documentation, has not yet been published. The discovered pit was located in the middle of the dirt road which was used by agricultural machinery and which had, on several occasions prior to the exploration in 2002, been repaired by heavy construction machinery. In the years following 2003, two more groups of finds of art objects from the Early Neolithic were discovered in Belica and Lozovik (Stojić 2008, 73). In the Livade site in Belica, which is 500 m from the site of Pojate-Pojilo, four objects made of stone were found. In Lozovik, in the Repuška site, three figurines made of deer bone were discovered. In both sites the finds of the aforementioned objects were followed, according to the author, by finds of Proto- Starčevo ceramics. More detailed descriptions of the locations, conditions of discovery and subsequent finds do not exist. In August 2003, within the usual activities of the project Permanent Archaeological Workshop - Central Pomoravlje in Neolithisation of South East Europe, under the supervision of S. Perić, in the Pojate-Pojilo site in Belica, some sondage excavation was performed. One of the reasons this precise location was chosen for exploration was that stone plastic finds are attributed to it, for which there are no suitable analogies within the Middle or Late Neolithic Starčevo culture. Two sondages of 5 x 5 m (fig. 2) were explored. The results of the exploration were modest, which was in accordance with expectations based on several visits made to all three Neolithic sites in Belica village. One smaller Late Neolithic settlement from the Proto-Starčevo period existed on this location. In conclusion, it should be mentioned that none of the finds from this exploration could be connected to the accidental finds of stone plastic from the village road even though, during the time of the exploration, daily surface prospecting of this and the two neighbouring Neolithic sites was carried out. A detailed inspection of the profile, which is cut by the village road where it is believed that there was a Neolithic pit of about 1m in depth, was also performed. The village road, as we originally found it, worn out and uneven, with around twenty centimeter deep tracks made by tractor wheels and with no clods of turf on it, didn’t leave the impression that an only 10 cm deep bottom of a pit could be preserved (fig. 3). The objects discovered in the pit explored in 2002 include: 60 stone, 9 ceramic and 11 bone and deer horn objects. Within this number are also included the objects found in 2001 in the immediate vicinity of the pit (Stojić 2011, 341-342). The most numerous are anthropomorphic figurines, and besides them there are several examples of sacrificial altars, conical objects (pintadera), axe figurines and one rectangular plate. Ceramic figurines from Belica, which in their form resemble the Palaeolithic Venus figurines, were made from insufficiently refined soil, which is a practice completely opposite to the one noticed on the figurines from the other Neolithic sites of the Central Balkans. The soil from which they were made resembles that used for making rough ceramics or for building houses (daub). Therefore, our doubt that we are dealing here with figurines which resulted from the mechanical treatment of already baked soil, and not with objects which got their final form in raw clay prior to baking, is not surprising. The same is true with bone objects in which subsequent work is visible on a piece of bone which remained in the ground for a number of centuries. By courtesy of Dr Milorad Stojić, an archaeologist to whom Života Milanović, the sole discoverer of these objects, was bringing finds from Belica, and who was digging the pit with the group of art objects finds, the authors of this paper had an opportunity to thoroughly microscopically examine several stone and bone objects from Belica (the Pojate-Pojilo and Livade sites) and from Lozovik (the Repuška site). Specifically, we are talking about five stone and four bone objects (fig. 4). The examination of traces of the treatment on the surface of these objects clearly showed that we are dealing with objects which had been mechanically treated by grinding tools spinning at a large number of rotations per minute. The results of this kind of treatment are fine, narrow, uninterrupted parallel grooves (fig. 5-10). After manual treatment with a grindstone of natural sandstone or by using only sand, only short grooves, which are significantly wider and not perfectly parallel, remain (fig. 11). With bone objects the situation is slightly different. Bones from the archaeological stratum were used, on which a subsequent treatment was performed which removed the darker coloured patina. Microscopic evidence of the working of the bone also shows the use of a grinding tool spinning at a large number of rotations (fig. 9-10). The case of the 'Serpentine figurine' is particularly interesting. On a simply crafted awl, which can be dated to the Neolithic period and beyond, a spirally carved embellishment was added (fig. 13). The difference in colour between the spiral detail and the rest of the awl indicates a large time interval between the making of the awl and the addition of the decoration. A fortunate circumstance in the story about the 'Neolithic art objects' from Belica is that they have not been accepted in Serbian archaeology. If we exclude the works of M. Stojić, the finds from Belica, glorified for their beauty, symbolism and originality, have not yet found their place in archaeological literature. There are no texts which even mention them as analogies for some other cult or art creations from the Neolithic. For this reason, this critical approach also happened at the right moment. If Serbian archaeology had not made any comments about the finds from Belica, for which there is some doubt as to whether they actually are of Neolithic origin, perhaps the damage caused by it would have been deeper and more noticeable. The question as to whether we could then talk about the Serbian 'Neolithic deception from Belica' is one whose answer the authors of this paper did not want to wait for with their arms folded.en
dc.publisherArheološki institut, Beograd
dc.subjecttragovi obradesr
dc.subjectkoštani predmetisr
dc.subjectkamena plastikasr
dc.subjecttraces of manufacturingen
dc.subjectstone plasticen
dc.subjectbone objectsen
dc.titleO neolitskoj autentičnosti nalaza iz Belicesr
dc.titleAbout neolithic authenticity of finds from Belicaen
dc.citation.other(62): 257-268

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