The Discovery of Lepenski Vir

Lepenski Vir is the product of discovery of Dragoslav Srejovic, a professor who was involved in the excavation project which was undertaken because of the development of an artificial lake (Djardap). The professor not only discovered the site, but also explored and researched the artefacts found during the continued excavations.

This discovery took place on August 30, 1960, on the lot that is said to have been owned by a farmer, Manojlo Milošević.

Following the discovery, the very first excavation was conducted five years later, and in 1966, the site was regarded as Yugoslavia’s cultural monument. Continued excavations led to a further discovery of Mesolithic sculptures in 1967. The excavations, however, came to an end in 1971 when the site was relocated to a more raised position to prevent flooding that would result from an artificial lake (Đerdap Lake) which had just been formed from the construction of a hydroelectric power station. It now enjoys protection from the Republic of Serbia.

The location of the site is on the right side of the Danube riverbank and within the Iron Gates Gorge. It is composed of a number of archaeological phases, including the Lepenski Vir, Vir Ia-e, Vir II and Vir III. These have emerged due to the excavation of the main site and nearby villages, leading to other important discoveries. Additional sites which have been linked to the Lepenski Vir include Padina, Ikaona, Hajdučka Vodenica, Vlasac, and Kladovska Skela, among others. There are a total of 10 sites.

There has been a discrepancy in the dating of the early settlements. However, data suggest that the commencement could have been from 9500 to 7200 BC. The large gap between the proposed years is because of lack of precision of the hydrocarbon dating which provides only estimates. Other villages were also found to have begun at around 6400 BC and ended at around 4900 BC.