Vinca Civilization

Europe’s biggest prehistoric civilization, the Vinca, existed for nearly 1,500 years. Beginning in the 55th century B.C., they occupied land throughout Serbia and Romania. Named after a present-day village near the Danube River, where the first discoveries were made in the 20th century, the Vinca were a metal-working people, perhaps even the world’s first civilization to use copper (they also excavated the first mine in Europe).

Though the Vinca people had no officially recognized form of writing, examples of proto-writing, symbols which don’t actually express language, have been found on various stone tablets which date as far back as 4000 B.C. In addition, they were artistic and fond of children; archaeologists have found various toys, such as animals and rattles, buried among the other artifacts. They were also extremely organized—the houses of the Vinca civilization had specific locations for trash, and the dead were all buried in a central location.

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