Frankfurt Airport
Of Neolithic Europe

Vinča Belo Brdo is a multi-layered archeological site that lies 15 kilometres downstream from the centre of Belgrade, on one of the most beautiful areas on the lower course of the Danube. Geographically speaking, the location of Vinča would have been optimal for a settlement since it allowed access to both the riches of the surrounding lands, from the Avala mountain and its mineral treasures, to the Danube and its floodplain, as well as the confluences of several other large rivers, the Tisza, Moravian-Vardar and Sava.

Before the construction of modern roads, people and goods were transported by water. Vinča was therefore both an important terminal, as well as one of the most important early European transport hubs - a kind of Frankfurt airport of Neolithic Europe.

A consequence of lots of people living in one place and the subsequent specialization in production is the rise of trade. Evidence of the exchange of material goods is as old as humanity, but only during the Neolithic period we see rise of complex and interconnected system of commerce connecting communities. Even the arrangement of Vinča Culture settlements, which in the Republic of Serbia almost as a rule lie about 5 kilometres from each other, indicates a very developed network of cooperation, trade and competition.

Vinča people abandoned a simple hunting and gathering economy as they become producers, traders and artisans.

Vinča’s trade networks stretched for hundreds of miles. Black volcanic glass (obsidian) for instance, which is found in Europe at two main sources - in the Carpathians and on the Greek island of Melos - is one of the very common finds at the Vinča Belo Brdo site. It is assumed that cinnabar ore (mercury ore) that has been used for millennia, as the most intense red pigment for painting was one of the trade goods sent out in return.

During the Neolithic, entire Europe was inhabited by whole network of highly mobile and well-connected people, allowing the whole continent to be reshaped and crafted by shared ideas and experiences.

At the time, European trade corridors were being established that would be repeated throughout the following millennia – the Roman Imperial Road for instance passed close to Vinča, as did the Istanbul Road of the Ottoman Empire, which was itself a continuation of the Silk Road that spanned thousands of kilometres into Asia.