Journal article Open Access
Jovanović, Jelena; Blagojević, Tamara; Živanović, Saša; Putica, Anđelka; Stefanović, Sofija
The site Topole Bač is one of the rare sites on which human skeletal remains from Early Neolithic period have been discovered. Namely, during the 1970s at this site the Early Neolithic settlement was discovered with remains of pits, remains of rectangular building structures, traces of house mortar, ash; and numerous small finds, such are pottery vessels, clay statuettes, stone tools etc. Within trench 1 three inhumation burials have been found. Burials 1 (female, 20-25 years old) and 2 (male, 40-50 years old) were uncovered beneath floor of irregular rectangular in shape structure, at the same level, in flexed position, lying on their right sides, symmetrically back to back, and with heads in opposite directions, 50 cm apart from each other. In close vicinity to the Burials 1 and 2, the third burial, which belongs to a woman, aged 25-35 years, was also found, in semi-flexed position on her right side, with the lower part of the body lying beneath the flooring. The floor was made from hard burnt clay and filled with the cultural layer which was not different from the rest of the structure. Next to the all burials, fragments of Early Neolithic pottery were found. Based on the small finds the site has been dated to the late phase of Stračevo culture. However, two individuals buried beneath the floor were AMS dated. Calibrated values for Burial 1 are between 6207 – 5923 cal BC, whereas the values for Burial 2 are between 7294 – 6824 cal BC. The first date corresponds with the estimated time for the beginning of the Starčevo culture, but the second date is rather problematic, since it is about 1000 years older than the first one, which places Burial 2 to the Mesolithic period. Beside this, other problematic issues with this structure are concerned with the timing when flooring was built, and from the available literature it is unclear whether the burials were cut in to the flooring, or it was erected after the funeral of Burial 1 and 2.
Since radiocarbon dates are not in accordance with the context of the findings, and given that there are almost no studies dedicated to this unusual situation, the aim of this paper was to do:
a) contextual analysis of all the three skeletons found within the trench 1 in order to reconstruct their mutual relationship and chronological determination.
b) anthropological analysis of skeletal remains in order to obtain valuable information on the life of Early Neolithic people, since the findings of human skeletal remains are very rare in this period.