First Metalwork

The transformation of rock into metal is a process that enabled humans to become masters of the world. And it was in Vinča, two and a half thousand years before the construction of the great pyramids in Giza, that metalworking began.

The operational chain required to process metal - which demands a large number of unrelated and seemingly opposite actions to be performed – perfectly illustrates the inventiveness and ingenuity of Neolithic humans. The technological innovation in metalworking changed the world once and for all. Still, human progress from wheel invention to starships has never been linear.

Whether it is the recognition that metal can be made out of a colourful stone or that the invisible air is made out of atoms, it takes the same shift in consciousness.

Vinča craftsman had to be a miner, ceramist who delt with charcoal and blacksmith and knew how to use fire to melt malachite into lava in order to make red copper.

After the experiments with pigments, fire and ceramics, people in Vinča discovered that some minerals could turn into something new.

The new materia was first used for decorating. The oldest finds in the famous localities were not accidentally pieces of jewelry: massive copper bracelets. Great number of malachite beads were found in the locality of Vinča Belo Brdo and the powdered malachite pigment, azurite and cinnabar as well.

Trade in pigments resulted in the emergence of complex economic relations, but also contributed to the rise of creativity and technological innovation.

It was not evident in the beginning why the discovery of metalworking was so important. The history teaches us that it takes some time for all great and revolutionary inventions to become part of everyday life. Similarly, the invention of computers only started influencing our lives once they had entered every household.

In pouring a first few drops of metal out of the fire, the people of Vinča began a torrent that would forever change the course of civilization.