Institute of Archaeology


Rise of Metallurgy Project: Sites

The map of the sites under investigation in Serbia ©Mihailo Milinković

The project focuses on the sites of Jarmovac, Belovode, Gornja Tuzla and Pločnik.

The importance of these sites lies in the quality and quantity of evidence for mining at Jarmovac, metal production from Belovode and Gornja Tuzla, and metal processing and consumption at Pločnik together covering the full chaîne opératoire of metallurgy.

Jarmovac consists of mining shafts and an associated settlement containing early 5th millennium BC pottery.

Belovode and Pločnik comprise 3-5m of well-preserved occupation deposits covering c. 80-100ha, 14C-dated from c. 5400-4600 BC (Borić, 2009). Both are close to ore sources and on important route-ways through the Balkans, and existed at the centre of large exchange networks. Belovode metal production can be linked to massive copper artefacts found across the Balkans, while the typologically homogenous Pločnik hammer-axes have been demonstrated to come from at least five different copper sources (Pernicka et al., 1997, Radivojević et al., 2010).

The reconstructed Vinča culture village at Pločnik ©Julka Kuzmanović-Cvetković

Gornja Tuzla has a well-dated mid 5th millennium BC Vinča culture sequence with a smelting hearth and copper smelting evidence (Čović, 1961).

Together, these four sites provide an unparalleled opportunity to comprehensively study the early development, evolution and spread of metallurgy. The project will combine two seasons of surveys and excavations at Belovode, Pločnik and Jarmovac with laboratory analysis of already existing finds, and new ones. Gornja Tuzla will be the subjected to post-excavation analysis only.