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The architecture of Early and Middle Neolithic settlements of the Starčevo culture in Northern Croatia

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In southeastern Europe, in the region of northern Croatia (between the Drava, Sava, and Danube Rivers), which geographically belongs to southern Pannonia, the first Neolithic settlements developed during the early and middle Neolithic, ca. 6000–4800 BC. Numerous archaeological excavations in the last 25 years have enabled an overview of the development of Starčevo Culture settlements (the earliest Neolithic culture in this region), from the first phases to the end of its development.
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... Indications of communal food preparation have been detected at several Early/Middle Neolithic sites. In the Starčevo culture, only four hearths (Bogdanović, 1988;Minichreiter, 2001;Đuričić, 2019 ) and six cooking trenches (Đuričić, 2019), previously interpreted as tubular ovens (Minichreiter, 1992(Minichreiter, , 2007Bànffy et al., 2010), were found outside dwellings. On the contrary, all of the ovens and the majority of hearths were found inside dwellings (Bogdanović, 1988(Bogdanović, , 2008Minichreiter, 1992Minichreiter, , 2001Minichreiter, , 2007Bànffy et al., 2010;Марић, 2013;Đuričić, 2019), indicating both indoor and outdoor food preparation (Đuričić, 2019). ...
... In the Starčevo culture, only four hearths (Bogdanović, 1988;Minichreiter, 2001;Đuričić, 2019 ) and six cooking trenches (Đuričić, 2019), previously interpreted as tubular ovens (Minichreiter, 1992(Minichreiter, , 2007Bànffy et al., 2010), were found outside dwellings. On the contrary, all of the ovens and the majority of hearths were found inside dwellings (Bogdanović, 1988(Bogdanović, , 2008Minichreiter, 1992Minichreiter, , 2001Minichreiter, , 2007Bànffy et al., 2010;Марић, 2013;Đuričić, 2019), indicating both indoor and outdoor food preparation (Đuričić, 2019). Although it can be implied that at least a portion of cooking activities was conducted in a communal setting, it is unclear whether this happened on a daily/seasonal basis or during spec ial occasions. ...
... Pit-dwelling is considered a typical form of Starčevo culture house. Pit-dwellings have been found at: Divostin (Bogdanović, 1988), Lepenski Vir (Srejović, 1969), Donja Branjevina (Karmanski, 2005), Drenovac (Perić, 2008), Grivac (Bogdanović, 2008), Zadubravlje (Minichreiter, 1992(Minichreiter, , 2001, and Galovo (Minichreiter, 2001(Minichreiter, , 2007. Their interior is divided by platforms, niches, or different floor levels, and superstructure is indicated by postholes or daub remains (Bogdanović, 2008). ...
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The first farming communities appeared during the Neolithic period. The life of Neolithic and other non-industrial communities depended on environmental variations – precipitati on and temperature patterns. Even minor changes in those patterns could have caused bad harvests and the lack of animal fodder, potentially leading to periods of food scarcity. To overcome periods of food scarcity, non-industrial communities applied different social buffering strategies: diversification, storage, exchange, and mobility. In this paper, social buffering strategies that Early Neolithic communities applied to overcome the environmental variability in the new territory are examined and the most plausible ones are considered.
... Through time it spread northwards, to central BiH, where it encountered the SKC; elements of both cultures were discovered at some sites (e.g., at Obre I [38]). The SKC stream spread north and northwest across the central Balkans and lasted until 5500/5400 cal BC [33,[39][40][41]; sites have been registered in Serbia, Kosovo* (the same as before), central and northern BiH, and northern Croatia. The SKC reached the central Carpathian Basin, by the start of the 6th millennium BC [33,42], where the advance of the food production package paused for several centuries [43]. ...
... Through time it spread northwards, to central BiH, where it encountered the SKC; elements of both cultures were discovered at some sites (e.g., at Obre I [38]). The SKC stream spread north and northwest across the central Balkans and lasted until 5500/5400 cal BC [33,[39][40][41]; sites Table A1 for site names. ...
... The SKC settlements have been understood as short-lived since they usually consisted of few occupation layers and were predominantly composed of semi-dug structures (pits and pit-houses), seen as implying transient occupations e.g., [110,111]. On the other hand, these pits were quite elaborate and functionally distinct at some of the sites e.g., [41]; at others, above-ground solid structures existed (Divostin- [112]; Slavonski Brod- [113]). Greater architectural investment suggests more permanent use of these locations and, by extension, reliability of crop harvests. ...
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Agriculture is a complex and dynamic socio-ecological system shaped by environmental, economic, and social factors. The crop resource pool is its key component and one that best reflects environmental limitations and socio-economic concerns of the farmers. This pertains in particular to small-scale subsistence production, as was practised by Neolithic farmers. We investigated if and how the environment and cultural complexes shaped the spectrum and diversity of crops cultivated by Neolithic farmers in the central-western Balkans and on the Hungarian Plain. We did so by exploring patterns in crop diversity between biogeographical regions and cultural complexes using multivariate statistical analyses. We also examined the spectrum of wild-gathered plant resources in the same way. We found that the number of species in Neolithic plant assemblages is correlated with sampling intensity (the number and volume of samples), but that this applies to all archaeological cultures. Late Neolithic communities of the central and western Balkans exploited a large pool of plant resources, whose spectrum was somewhat different between archaeological cultures. By comparison, the earliest Neolithic tradition in the region, the Starčevo-Körös-Criş phenomenon, seems to have used a comparatively narrower range of crops and wild plants, as did the Linearbandkeramik culture on the Hungarian Plain.
... They are built, as in the Lower Danube, on posts with walls of wattle. Early Neolithic sites of the Pannonian Plain frequently have large pits that are several square meters in size with relatively flat bottoms, surrounded by posts in the ground and in which an oven was built (Minichreiter, 2001). These pits were often interpreted as sunken huts, but also sometimes as the place where specialized activities took place, sheltered by the semi-subterranean pit. ...
... Elles sont construites, comme dans le Bas-Danube, sur poteaux avec des murs de clayonnage. Les sites du Néolithique ancien de la plaine Pannonienne présentent plus fréquemment de grandes fosses, de plusieurs m 2 , à fond relativement plat, entourées de calages de poteaux, et dans lesquelles a été implanté un four (Minichreiter, 2001). Ces fosses ont souvent été interprétées comme des fonds de cabane, mais aussi parfois comme le lieu d'activités spécialisées, ainsi abritées par le creusement. ...
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This special issue of Quaternary International contains a selection of contributions from the international Conference entitled “LBK & Vinča - Formation and Transformation of Early Neolithic Lifestyles in Europe in the second half of the 6th millennium BC” held from 21st to 23rd of March, 2019 in Tübingen (Germany).
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This paper presents two pottery kilns of an archaic construction, which were excavated at the Tripolye BII settlement of Kamenets-Podolskiy, Tatarysky, in 2019. The site, dated to the beginning of the 4th mil. BC, is attributed to the Mereshovskaya group of the Western Tripolye culture. Analysis of the construction details of our kilns compared to similar structures, which are known from other Tripolye sites and outside the Cucuteni-Tripolye cultural complex, made possible the typological specification of Cucuteni-Tripolye pottery kilns and a contribution to the issue of major trends in their evolution.
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This paper has two starting points that will eventually converge in our argumentation. One focuses on the early 6th millennium cal BC Starčevo settlement at Alsónyék in the Sárköz region of south-western Hungary. While no houses with a post structure could be identified, the amount of the burnt daub found in pits totals more than two tons. Based on the weighing, the detailed description of the total amount of the recovered Early Neolithic burnt daub fragments and the 3D reconstruction of diagnostic pieces, details about early Neolithic architecture of the region can be explored. The second point concerns the earliest northward-oriented longhouses occurring in the western Carpathian Basin. While the north Balkan origin of the LBK has not been seriously challenged, the roots of the LBK longhouse have never been fully and precisely clarified. The already described formative LBK phase and its house types will be compared with newly found LBK settlement nuclei containing very early Vinča find material, and both will be compared to features of the late Starčevo house building tradition. Meanwhile, we also try to cast some light on the decisive, but nevertheless little known “Dark Age” of the 55th and 54th centuries cal BC.
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This article discusses recent findings from the newly identified archaeological site of Svinjarička Čuka, situated next to the Southern Morava River in southern Serbia. We will present the latest results from the excavation, material studies, bioarchaeological analyses and contextualised radiocarbon data, focusing on the Starčevo Neolithic horizon within the context of the new NEOTECH project. The interdisciplinary approach aims to shed light on the Neolithisation process of the region along one of the main communication routes between the Aegean and the Danube by the Axios-Vardar-Morava river system. The work so far has uncovered remains of Early to Middle Neolithic features dating around 5600 calBC, with analyses of faunal remains, ceramics and lithics contributing new insights into animal exploitation, raw materials and technological practices during this important time of socio-economic transition.
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