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  • Writer's pictureZoran Maslic


Updated: Oct 23, 2019

I watched on Internet an interesting story about mysterious signs painted on a rock, close to village Žlijeb, near Višegrad, in the general region of Tara Mountain. The paint was able to resist the time and the weather. This itself should be examined. Apparently, a French and a German scientist took some samples, but we never heard about the results.

The local population preserved the legend that might give us either literal or symbolic clues. According to their story, this was painted by "people who buried the river spring". Whoever deciphers the signs will be able to revive the river, it will flow again. The villagers believe that "these signs might be even a thousand years old".

Many thanks to Serbian Public Broadcaster for presenting this story. Journalist Jelena Božović should make a sequel. She needs to bring to this location archaeologist Dragan Janković from Belgrade, who specializes in Vinča Civilization (pronounced as VINCHA). He will tell her what is more than obvious. These are Vinča signs or letters.

Arguably, Vinča is the birthplace of Europe. The signs themselves are around 7 thousand years old. Often, they are considered to be symbols of individual merchants or signs that present certain trading items because we find them on pottery and containers used for merchandise. If this would be a complete explanation, then this rock would be a first known advertisement, a neolithic billboard. But I don't think so. They repeat on findings from places that are hundreds of kilometers apart and this itself suggests that they had universal meaning.

German linguist Harald Haarmann thinks that what I call here "Vinča signs" is most likely a writing system.

The significance of the rock near the village of Žlijeb is huge. It is outside of the trading context, and it seriously shakes many current theories and works in favour of Haarmann's view. Obviously, they carry a statement and I am pretty sure the message is not "Chicken on sale! 50% off"!

Placing a message on a flat rock in the wilderness is not something unknown to us. To my mind come similar but much younger Hittite engravings in Asia Minor.

Perhaps, this was a holy place, some kind of stone age nemeton, a sacred grove. The message that signs communicate is probably about the gods and values of that society. Those would be my guesses.


By the way, the Vinča Civilization developed in Neolithic (the New Stone Age). It is credited for the invention of agriculture, the wheel, chariot, metallurgy, and textile... They built houses that very much looked like modern houses, had integrated floor heating, etc. Their society was egalitarian and peaceful. For over a thousand years they lived without a war. In fact, they did not produce any weapons. All of it in the Stone Age!

It is clear who they were and what values guided them. The real question is who are We.

Are we fallen children of Vinča?

P.S. 2

Learn a bit more about Mr. Harald Haarmann here

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