On the left bank of the Danube, not far from the city of Pančevo, lies the oldest archaeological site of Neolithic culture in Serbia. This culture, whose beginnings have been dated to 5,000 BCE, was later succeeded by the more advanced Vinča culture, the remains of which can be seen in the village of Vinča, across the river.
Starčevo is the site where the earliest signs of life of Neolithic humans were found. The population of the area sustained themselves by growing crops (wheat, barley and proso millet) and raising livestock, mainly sheep, goats and cattle. The ellipsoid and round dugouts, measuring between 2 and 6 metres in diameter, served as homes for the people of the era. They dwelled, worked, slept and cooked here, as evidenced by the stoves found in two of the dugouts. Many graves with the deceased persons in unusual, twisted positions were also discovered on the site.
The stone and bone tools found here were once used for crafting items, hunting and as weapons.
Among the numerous artefacts of the Starčevo culture, of particular interest are the ceramic items which are so finely crafted that they could easily be mistaken for modern bowls or vases. These exquisite ceramic items are usually round in shape with white, black and red patterns.
The Starčevo ceramics has immense scientific value, as it provides better insight into the origin and directions of movement of the pioneering Neolithic cultures in the Danube basin, in Greece and in the Middle East. Because of the outstanding importance of the artefacts unearthed here, the entire Early Neolithic culture in the central Balkans has been named Starčevo culture. Artefacts of the Starčevo culture are on display at the National Museum in Belgrade.