Southern Banat and Apuseni Mountains

Southern Banat and Apuseni Mountains

The following map shows the two adjacent eponymous villages Vinca and Starcevo that have already bean mentioned. In about 150 km linear distance, or about 220 km along the river banks of the Danube is the estuary of the Cerna, about 10 and 20 km downstream is the location of the Iron Gates and the remnants of the Trajan`s Bridge. West of the Cerna and the headwaters and tributaries of the Timis are the Apuseni Mountains and south of them are the Banat Mountains, the outskirts of the Carpathian Mountains.

1 Vinca, 2 Starcevo, 3 Pestera cu Oase, 4 Herkulesbad, 5 Iron Gates, 6 Trajan`s Bridge

Pestera cu Oase, literally translated The Cave with Bones, is a system of caves where some of the oldest bones of Homo Sapiens in Europe was found. These remnants are between 37.000 and 42.000 years old, bearing about 5-12% Neanderthal DNA. Therefore, it is regarded as secured that folks are living in this area for a very, very long time.

Pestera cu Oase lies near Steierdorf, nowadays Anina in Caras-Severin County in Romania. Steierdorf, located in a height of about 600 m above sea level, was founded in 1773 when 34 tree harvesters and charcoal burners from Styria, German Steiermark, were established there to secure the demand for wood in the ironworks in nearby Orawitz/ Oravita, about 10 km to the west. Black coal was found in 1790 and mining started in 1792. Another resource found in this area was Oil shale, which was also useful to give off heat after being reprocessed.

Hunters and gatherers living in this region had access to all necessary resources within a radius of not even 100 km. They had access to caves located near thermal springs like those near Herkulesbad/ Baile Herculane and caves next to heating resources like Pestera cu Oase, spending them a warm and comfortable shelter during the colder months in autumn and winter. As soon as the days got longer and the sun was able to warmth up the earth again, the available food resources became easier to hunt and gather in the rivers, streams, ponds and swamps of the adjacent plains in the West of the sheltering mountain ranges and therefore, folks moved to the river banks of the waters meandering through the endless flatland of the Great Hungarian Plains.


Introduction in archaeology

Introduction in archaeology

This category is dedicated to the archaeology of the Banat, a part of the Great Hungarian Plain. The Banat is nestled between the Carpathian Mountains in the east and the river Tisza in the west. The Backa between Tisza and Danube is adjacent to the west, Syrmia between Danube and Sava is located to the west and south west and Serbia in the South. The importance of the Banat for pre- and early history is recognizable by Starcevo and Vinca, two adjacent villages on the left and the right river bank of the Danube and eponymous sites of the Starcevo culture and the Vinca culture.

To keep it simple, the Starcevo culture is associated with the oldest settlements of farming people in Europe, who developed from hunters and gatherers, following the Neolithic Revolution. The following folks of the Vinca culture represent the oldest knowledge regarding metallurgy.


1 Belgrade, 2 Vinca, 3 Starcevo, 4 Pancevo, 5 Jabuka, 6 Plateau Sajkaska

A Timis, B Bega, C Tisza, D Save

One of the reasons why this region was especially suitable for our ancesters was the point that the estuaries of Timis, Tisza, Bega and Sava are located with a radius of about 45 km.

Resources, especially before the invention of the wheel, where either transported on rafts and boats on waterways or on footpaths running alongside the river banks. Due to that, all resources originating from the headwaters of the tributaries of these rivers were sooner or later transported through this region. Therefore, all resources of the Carpathian Mountains and the Alps were available in this region, apart from the goods traded on long distance trading routes like Amber Road and Silk Road.

Estuaries of Timis, Tisza, Bega and Sava

These are some of the reasons that made this region especially interesting for archaeologists. Another subject that lead to growing interest, at least since 1933, was the following belt that was exhibited at the world fair in Paris in 1867.

Silver belt “type Mramorac”, source: Feudvar I, Das Plateau von Titel und die Sajkaska, page 97, Author: Bernhard Hänsel

If anybody has not noticed yet, these belts bear a swastika. Three of these belts were found, one of the is associated with the “vicinity of Novi Sad” and another one with the village Titel next to the estuary of the Tisza. These artefacts are a pretty obvious reason that made this area especially interesting for archaeologist of the SS Ahnenerbe. The SS Ahnenerbe was not just another strange institution of NSDAP Germany, it was more like an especially weird incorporation of several branches of bullshit, and one of these branches was archaeology. Yugoslavia was conquered by the German Army in April 1941 and a short time later, units of the SS Ahnenerbe appeared and demanded access to artifacts, archives and documents. 

Securing of the neolithic Vinca collection.

(…) the research findings from Serbia, especially from Belgrade (…) were processed in Lebus (…) but (…) lost (…)

The two segments above document the “securing” and the following “loss” of anything these folks had access to. The point is, the units of the SS Ahnenerbe were supported (not only) by the Abwehr, the German Intelligence Service from 1920 to 1945.

These issues lead to the next related category, “politics“.