Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 31–44 | Cite as

Plant storage in Neolithic southeast Europe: synthesis of the archaeological and archaeobotanical evidence from Serbia

  • Dragana Filipović
  • Đurđa Obradović
  • Boban Tripković
Original Article


This paper presents and evaluates the archaeobotanical and archaeological evidence of plant product storage from Early and Late Neolithic sites in Serbia, southeast Europe. The commonly stated and widely accepted archaeological evidence of storage in the region includes ceramic pots, clay bins and pits. However, as shown in our study, the archaeobotanical evidence does not always support the interpretation of these structures and objects as plant storage containers, as it is often of secondary origin and composed of discarded plant material such as by-products of plant use. On the other hand, the available botanical record points to some other possible ways of storing plant products, such as in perishable containers that do not normally survive archaeologically in this part of the world. Although limited, the combined evidence indicates variability in plant storage practices and solutions within the cultural phenomena associated with the Neolithic Starčevo and Vinča cultures of the region. For instance, plant storage in large clay pots was noted at some of the sites, and in clay bins at others. Also, different structures and features may have been used for storing crop products, whilst wild plants seem to have been kept in perishable and/or small ceramic containers. A further impression is that finds of the same plant (type) in different containers may reflect different stages in processing.


Neolithic Serbia Crop storage Wild plant storage Pots Pits 



The paper and the IWGP 2016 oral and poster presentations by DF and ĐO are outcomes of two projects funded by the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Development of the Republic of Serbia: “Society, spiritual and material culture and communications in prehistory and early history of the Balkans” (Ref. 177012) and “Archaeology in Serbia: Cultural identity, integration factors, technological processes and the role of the Central Balkans in the development of European prehistory” (Ref. 177020). We would like to thank Dragana Đurđević and Nenad Šošić (National Museum of Smederevska Palanka) and Ljiljana Mandić (National Museum of Užice) for the permission to analyse archaeobotanical samples from the sites of Selevac and Stapari and publish parts of the field documentation. We are also grateful to the ‘Vinča Project’ for the permission to use photos from the site of Vinča. Finally, we would like to express our gratitude to the anonymous reviewers whose comments and recommendations helped us significantly improve the manuscript, and to the editors of this volume.

Supplementary material

334_2017_638_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (3.4 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 3465 KB)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dragana Filipović
    • 1
  • Đurđa Obradović
    • 2
  • Boban Tripković
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute for Balkan StudiesSerbian Academy of Sciences and ArtsBelgradeSerbia
  2. 2.Institute of Archaeology in BelgradeBelgradeSerbia
  3. 3.Department of Archaeology, Faculty of PhilosophyUniversity of BelgradeBelgradeSerbia

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