Archaeological sites in Novi Bečej

Three magnificent archeological sites: Aracha, Borjosh and Matejski Brod as attractive tourist experiences that exceeded expectations and remain in the memory. The sites that are still being explored are a kind of historical gallery that presents prehistoric peoples and harmful archeological artifacts with the end of the Paleolithic, Neolithic (oppression and Vinca culture) to the Bronze Age.

Life of the people in Vojvodina has been tracked from the beginning of Neolithic. The oldest findings in Novi Bečej municipality are from that period. Many sites on the territory of our municipality keep extremely important traces of human settlements from the Younger Stone Age. There haven’t been any insights about sites from Paleolithic Age in this territory almost 70 years. The head of mammoth with tusks was found at the river Tisa bank in 1947, and their extinction was connected to Paleolithic Age. These sites haven’t been quite explored and we have very little knowledge about them.
Middle Neolithic in this territory was featured by The Vinča culture, [ʋîːntʃa] also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș–Vinča culture and The Tisza culture. Prehistory of Novi Bečej is usually associated to The Tisza culture, because it was spread along the middle and lower river Tisa stream. The Tisza culture belongs to the Late Neolithic Period and spreads to the northern territories of our country. The most of the sites are between Moriša, Zlatica and Tisa rivers, and to the Galica river which is their southern border. In the later phase this culture spreads to the south along the river Tisa on Banat side. The settlements were built on the hill to avoid floods. Neolithic Age is the most explored in our territory. There are two important sites from this period nearby Vranjevo and Novi Bečej : Matejski Brod and Borđoš.

Matejski Brod belongs to the group of important archaeological sites in Novi Bečej municipality. Until 50 years ago when there weren’t many explored sites, Matejski Brod was one of the most important sites for our municipality. It is located about 6 km northeast of Novi Bečej, between potes Matej and Šimuđ side.

It is a separate plateau, at the edge of the lower loess terrace, elliptical shape, size 136x50 meters. On the west side, the plateau descends steeply, turning into the swamp which is the remaining of the Mali Begej riverbed. This archaeological site is the settlement from Middle Neolithic period that belongs to The Tisza culture from 3900 to 3550 b.c. Matejski Brod was the fishermen settlement. Shallow pots for fish and weights for fishing nets that has been found here are the proof for this claim. The found tools of clay and bones, ceramics, and carbonated crops indicate the basic activity of the population, which was agriculture and cattle breeding. Of particular significance is the cult ceramics: the altars and zoomorphic worshipers made in the form of animal heads (bull, bird). The tools made from bones, stone and baked clay (flat stone axes, scissors, spatulas, harpoons ...) are valuable artifacts of this site. A few prehistoric settlements were found in archaeological site Borđoš. Between Taraš and Kumane, on the left river Tisa bank, there is loess plateau, elliptical shape known as Borđoš, Burduš or Bordioš.

It is also known as Borjaška desert that was part of Lazar Dunđerski estate. One of the settlements was located on the old river Tisa bank and belongs to Younger Stone Age. Artifacts from The Vinča and Tisza culture found in this site, show the mixture of two vicinal cultures. The second settlement that was on the river Tisa bank, belongs to Bronze Age. The graveyard with urns was the part of it. People lived sedentary lifestyle in Borđoš 7000 years ago. The houses were made of dirt and wood and the people were farmers. On their fields one-pronged and two-pronged wheat, barley, flax, lentils, and peas could be found. They bred cattle, mostly cows, goats and sheep. Hunting and fishing were still an important source of food. People kept their food in the houses in large amphoras and pots. Handmade pots were used for food preparation while luxury ceramic pots from The Tisza culture were kept separately as décor. Pots and goblets richly decorated with fine art (textile imitation), perfectly made necklaces, earrings, rings and skillfully shaped anthropomorphic figures are just small part of the treasure found deep under the ground. The sitting statuette with pot is one of the unique pieces of art made by a master from prehistory. The replicas of these artifacts can be seen today in the Novi Bečej Culture Center. The first excavations were done from 1894 to 1895 under the supervision of archeologists Endre Oros and István Berkesi from Timișoara Museum. The site was discovered by a priest from Arača, Senklarai Eugen. Excavations were continued in 1903 and 1904. Besides the Neolithic settlements, a few hundred meters away the remaining of Bronze Age settlement was found.

When the river Tisa was cut near Borđoš in 1895, the prehistoric hill was dug through just a little. The islands were discovered then with 38 bronze artifacts. These islands are known as the Borđoš Islands. There has been discovered three such island so far, and there are many more at this site.

The evidence that Borđoš was a craftsman and a metallurgical center in the Bronze Age, is the discovery of the oldest scale on the European territory, precisely on Borđoš. All the artifacts that have been found in this site until 1918, has been kept in the two biggest museum in this region – in Timișoara and Szeged. Later, all the artifacts from the site were sent to the National Museum in Belgrade, the Museum of Vojvodina in Novi Sad and the National Museum in Zrenjanin. An amateur archeologist and an engineer, Joca Bakalov from Zrenjanin found exceptional artifacts, such as beam scale, plow and harpoon which became worldwide famous among archeologists. After a long time, the archeologists from the Museum of Vojvodina in cooperation with the archaeologists of the Institute of Prehistory and Protohistory of the University of Kiel, Germany, showed interest in modern, multidisciplinary scientific research of Borđoš.

The local authorities from Novi Bečej also played the important part in the newest archeological researches. The international archaeological team had the support from Novi Bečej municipality when they did the research in 2014. This team organized a multimedia exhibition about Borđoš in 2015. They displayed the original artifacts found on the site in the last two excavations and the copies of the artifacts from Borđoš found earlier. At the opening ceremony of the exhibition, the authentic Neolithic dishes were served. The chef was an archeologist Ildikó Medović. These unusual dishes from the Young Stone Age, brought us way back ... we could imagine for a moment in which food our ancestors enjoyed ... A worthy challenge!


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