Spatial Organisation

The uniqueness of the spatial organisation of the settlements in Lepenski Vir has earned it a number of references. While some researchers refer to the site as the “first city of Europe”, others refer to it merely as an “urban settlement” and still others, “a busy place”. This is because Lepenski Vir is the first site that has been found to have settlements and contours that were organised in accordance with a plan. Additionally, some researchers consider the settlements as permanent, planned, and having organised human life.

The occupations established in the first and second phases reveal a layout of houses following a plan and every village had houses arranged in the shape of a fan across the face of the terrace. These settlements were arranged in a way that there were a number of paths that led to the river’s edge with the outer edges of settlements being parallel to the cliffs that surrounded the area. This kind of arrangement clearly indicates that the river was of great importance to the people.

Individual buildings were made to surround an open space that was believed to be a public square. In each of these settlements, a central building could be recognised, and this was thought to be a shrine or temple. There was a fireplace which had stone figures carved in the form of a fish which took the central position in each of the houses.

Another feature that further reinforces the concept of urbanisation is the concept of burial. Archaeological excavations have revealed an elaborate burial site (cemetery) that was located outside the village. This is, however, an exception for the individuals who are believed to have been elders who were buried behind fireplaces in the houses. The implication is that just as in the modern urban settings, some kind of leadership existed, which controlled and guided the affairs of the people.