Encyclopedia of Global Archaeology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Claire Smith

Lepenski Vir: Geography and Culture

  • Dušan Borić
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-0465-2_1877


Only a few sites/regions in Europe exhibit uninterrupted sequences of occupation across the Mesolithic-Neolithic transition. Moreover, it is rare that one can document rich details of various aspects of life that can shed light on the character of these fundamental changes in the mode of production with concomitant changes in other aspects of life. The Danube Gorges region in the north-central Balkans with a number of settlements found along the Danube and covering the whole duration of the Early Holocene (c. 9600–5500 BCE) offers both the continuous temporal framework for this key period of European prehistory and the richness of evidence for architecture, mortuary practices, ritual, art, and various aspects of daily life. Lepenski Vir is the key site of this sequence, and it epitomizes most of the important elements that characterize the Mesolithic-Neolithic Danube Gorges as a whole, along with the recognition of the site’s special character in the period of...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Bonsall, C. 2008. The Mesolithic of the Iron Gates, in G.N. Bailey & P. Spikins (ed.) Mesolithic Europe: 238-79. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Bonsall, C., I. Radovanović, M. Roksandić, G. Cook, T. Higham & C. Pickard. 2008. Dating burial practices and architecture at Lepenski Vir, in C. Bonsall, V. Boroneanţ & I. Radovanović (ed.) The Iron Gates in prehistory: new perspectives (BAR International series 1893): 175-204. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  3. Borić, D. 1999. Places that created time in the Danube Gorges and beyond, c. 9000-5500 BC. Documenta Praehistorica 26: 41-70.Google Scholar
  4. - 2002. The Lepenski Vir Conundrum: reinterpretation of the Mesolithic and Neolithic sequences in the Danube Gorges. Antiquity 76: 1026-39.Google Scholar
  5. - 2005. Body metamorphosis and animality: volatile bodies and boulder artworks from Lepenski Vir. Cambridge Archaeological Journal 15: 35-69.Google Scholar
  6. - 2011. Adaptations and transformations of the Danube Gorges Foragers (c. 13,000-5500 cal. BC): an overview, in R. Krauß (ed.) Beginnings – new research in the appearance of the Neolithic between northwest Anatolia and the Carpathian Basin: 157-203. Rahden: VML Verlag Marie Leidorf.Google Scholar
  7. Borić, D. & V. Dimitrijević. 2007. When did the ‘Neolithic package’ reach Lepenski Vir? Radiometric and faunal evidence. Documenta Praehistorica 34: 53-72.Google Scholar
  8. Borić, D. & T.D. Price. 2013. Strontium isotopes document greater human mobility at the start of the Balkan Neolithic. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(9): 3298-303.Google Scholar
  9. Borić, D. & S. Stefanović. 2004. Birth and death: infant burials from Vlasac and Lepenski Vir. Antiquity 78: 526-46.Google Scholar
  10. Cook, G., C. Bonsall, R.E.M. Hedges, K. McSweeney, V. Boroneanţ, L. Bartosiewicz & P. B. Pettitt. 2002. Problems of dating human bones from the Iron Gates. Antiquity 76: 77-85.Google Scholar
  11. Garašanin, M. & I. Radovanović. 2001. A pot in house 54 at Lepenski Vir I. Antiquity 75: 118-25.Google Scholar
  12. Radovanović, I. 1996. The Iron Gates Mesolithic. Ann Arbor: International Monographs in Prehistory.Google Scholar
  13. Srejović, D. 1972. Europe’s first monumental sculpture: new discoveries at Lepenski Vir. London: Thames & Hudson.Google Scholar
  14. Tringham, R. 2000. Southeastern Europe in the transition to agriculture in Europe: bridge, buffer or mosaic, in T.D. Price (ed.) Europe’s first farmers: 19-56. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Whittle, A., L. Bartosiewicz, D. Borić, P. Pettitt & M. Richards. 2002. In the beginning: new radiocarbon dates for the early Neolithic in northern Serbia and south-east Hungary. Antaeus 25: 63-117.Google Scholar

Further Reading

  1. Antonović, D. 2006. Stone tools from Lepenski Vir. Beograd: Arheološki institut.Google Scholar
  2. Bonsall, C., R. Lennon, K. McSweeney, C. Stewart, D. Harkness, V. Boroneanţ, L. Bartosiewicz, R. Payton & J. Chapman. 1997. Mesolithic and early Neolithic in the Iron Gates: a palaeodietary perspective. Journal of European Archaeology 5: 50-92.Google Scholar
  3. Borić, D. 2001. Mesolithic and early Neolithic hunters and fishers in the Danube Gorges: a faunal perspective, in R. Kertesz & J. Makkay (ed.) At the fringes of three worlds: from the Mesolithic to the Neolithic: 101-24. Budapest: Archaeolingua.Google Scholar
  4. - 2003. ‘Deep time’ metaphor: Mnemonic and apotropaic practices at Lepenski Vir. Journal of Social Archaeology 3: 46-74.Google Scholar
  5. - 2006. New discoveries at the Mesolithic-early Neolithic site of Vlasac: preliminary notes. Mesolithic Miscellany 18: 7-14.Google Scholar
  6. - 2007. Mesolithic-Neolithic interactions in the Danube Gorges, in J.K. Kozłowski & M. Nowak (ed.) Mesolithic-Neolithic interactions in the Danube Basin: 31-45. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  7. - 2010. Happy forgetting? Remembering and dismembering dead bodies at Vlasac, in D. Borić (ed.) Archaeology and memory: 48-67. Oxford: Oxbow Books.Google Scholar
  8. Borić, D. & V. Dimitrijević. 2009. Apsolutne hronologija i stratigrafija Lepenskog Vira [Absolute chronology and stratigraphy of Lepenski Vir]. Starinar 57/2007: 9-55.Google Scholar
  9. Borić, D. & P. Miracle. 2004. Mesolithic and Neolithic (dis)continuities in the Danube Gorges: new AMS dates from Padina and Hajdučka Vodenica (Serbia). Oxford Journal of Archaeology 23: 341-71.Google Scholar
  10. Borić, D., C.A.I. French & V. Dimitrijević. 2008. Vlasac revisited: formation processes, stratigraphy and dating. Documenta Praehistorica 35: 293–320.Google Scholar
  11. Borić, D., J. Raičević & S. Stefanović. 2009. Mesolithic cremations as elements of secondary mortuary rites at Vlasac (Serbia). Documenta Praehistorica 36: 247-82.Google Scholar
  12. Boroneanţ, V. 2001. Paleolithique superieur et epipaleolithique dans la zone des Portes de Fer. Bucureşti: Silex.Google Scholar
  13. Chapman, J.C. 1993. Social power in the Iron Gates Mesolithic, in J. Chapman & P. Dolukhanov (ed.) Cultural transformations and interactions in eastern Europe: 71-121. Aldershot: Avebury.Google Scholar
  14. Jovanović, B. 1969. Chronological frames of the Iron Gate group of the early Neolithic period. Archaeologica Iugoslavica 10: 23-38.Google Scholar
  15. - 1987. Die Architektur und Keramik der Siedlung Padina B am Eisernen Tor, Jugoslawien. Germania 65: 1-16Google Scholar
  16. - 2008. Micro-regions of the Lepenski Vir culture Padina in the Upper Gorge and Hajdučka Vodenica in the Lower Gorge of the Danube. Documenta Praehistorica 35: 289-324.Google Scholar
  17. Radovanović, I. & B. Voytek. 1997. Hunters, fishers or farmers: sedentism, subsistence and social complexity in the Djerdap Mesolithic. Analecta Praehistorica Leidensia 29: 19-31.Google Scholar
  18. Roksandić, M. 2000. Between foragers and farmers in the Iron Gates Gorge: physical anthropology perspective. Djerdap population in transition from Mesolithic to Neolithic. Documenta Praehistorica 27: 1-100.Google Scholar
  19. Srejović, D. & Lj. Babović. 1983. Umetnost Lepenskog Vira (Art of Lepenski Vir). Beograd: Jugoslavija.Google Scholar
  20. Stefanović, S. & D. Borić. 2008. The newborn infant burials from Lepenski Vir: in pursuit of contextual meanings, in C. Bonsall, I. Radovanović & V. Boroneanţ (ed.) The Iron Gates in prehistory: new perspectives (BAR International series 1893): 131-69. Oxford: Archaeopress.Google Scholar
  21. Voytek, B. & R. Tringham. 1989. Rethinking the Mesolithic: the case of south-east Europe, in C. Bonsall (ed.) The Mesolithic in Europe: 492-99. Edinburgh: John Donald Publishers Ltd.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Archaeology and ConservationCardiff UniversityCardiffUK