THE ARCHEOLOGICAL COLLECTION
The archeological collection is constituted by four subcollections: Prehistory, Antiques, Middle Ages and Numismatics.
When Staro Selo Selevac and Medvednjak Grcac sites ware discovered, in 1968., fast development of archeological collection started. An example demonstrates this process well: in April 1968. there were only 8 artifacts, but in November collection had 728 objects. The abundance of foundings in that year and following decades defined the collection that makes our museum distinctive among others. The large quantity of material tells the story about human craftsmanship and artistic peaks in late Neolithic in this area. Quantity and quality separate our findings from other sites in Serbia. In that vast number, one figurine is very special. It is called Porodilja (Mother giving birth).
Systematic terrain prospection produced a large number of archeological sites from early Neolithic (Zmajevac, Cerovac), Copper, Bronze and Iron Age (Novacka Cuprija, Grcac, Jerina`s town, Banicina-Maramorac) , Greek and Roman period (Vlajica brdo depository Smederevska Palanka, Siljakovac Ratare) till Middle Ages Citluk and Vidovaca necropolises, Vodice).
The local community participated in discovering location potential sites and collecting objects from their land.
The first digs on this site started in 1968. wright after its discovery. Dimitrije Madas, from the Bureau for protection of monuments of culture, was the lead researcher. In campaigns 1970/71. The lead researcher was Radoslav Galovic, the curator from National Museum Belgrade. During that campaign, the existence of eneolithic layer in East part and Middle Age necropolis in West part of the site was established. Revision digs ware conducted during 1980`s. The lead researcher was Ph.D. Dragoslav Srejovic with his coworkers Miroslav Lazic (Archeological research Center) and Ratko Katunar (National museum in Smederevska Palanka). The artifacts have pointed out that site represents the younger phase of Vinca culture (end of 5th and the first half of 4th millennia).
The excavations brought to light an abundance of anthropomorphic figurines, far more than on the other Vinca culture sites. Their characteristics, beside the local features, point toward links with settlements in Kosovo region of the same period of time. Some of them have traveled Europe and North America as part of exposition `The art of First Farmers`.
Staro Selo – Selevac
This archeological site was descovered in 1968. Right away the archeological digs started under the patronage of National museum in Smederevska Palanka. The general manager of the museum Radovan Milosevic was conducting the excavations together with Vojislav Novakovic and Aleksandar Novakovic. First campaign on this location, that started in 1968. and ended in 1970 and repeted in in 1973. Nine test pits with average depth of 150 centimeters covering the space of 209 square meters ware opened to establish the thicknes of cultural layer.
The importance of this archeolocical site was confirmed through exeptional interest and 3 years long cooperation with US Universities: Harvard and Berkley. That archeological endeveour named `Selevac Archaeological Project` started in june 1976. and ended in 1978. The research was founded by `The National Science Foundation Anthropology Program`. Lead reaserchers ware PHD Dusan Krstic (National Museum in Belgrade) and RuthThringham (Berkley University). Parallel to test digs field rekognosciranja of wider territory ware conducted. That was the task given to Ratko Katunar (National museum in Smederevska Palanka) and John Chapman. Based on artifacts found and knowledge gathered on the site they came to a conclusion that life was continous in Selevac during 60-900 years. The arlier foundings belong to senior phase of Vinca culture and th youngest reach till eneolythic (from middle 5th till 4 th millenia BC). These result are presented in study„Selevac a neolithic village in Yugoslavia“, Los Angeles, 1990.
From unknown till unique
The unusual shape and rich ornamental decoration are unique features that make Porodilja figurine ne of a kind in neolithic. As such she attracted a lot of attention in scientific circles and the general public.
In museum documentation, it is marked that several odd fragments that could be identified as parts of sacrificial jars, figurine or object of unknown function. During the digs, fragments ware found on different depths so the archeologist ware not directed to presuppose as elements of a whole. However, the riddle is solved later in the museum during the processing of materials from excavations. Jointed parts like a puzzle, fostered an anthropomorphic figurine, which since then has been an enigma.
The interpretation of message neolithic craftsman interweaved in it made archeologist to interpreted the figurine as a representation of a woman giving birth. That is how it got its name.
Neolithic figurines are most commonly found in free-standing position, sitting (on a chair, throne) or hunked down. However, the Woman giving birth is fragmented, she lacks legs under knees. The lack of analogies her posture can`t be established in a more precise manner. It can be only assumed that it is either hunked down or kneeling. Unlike moste anthropomorphic figurines, that have presented male or female primary features on Woman giving birth they can`t be disseminated. It is ornamented with deep carvings of meander and sprial that are filled with white incrustation. Through the game of shadows, these features emphasize their tridimensionality.
What makes Woman Giving Birth special?
It is a unique representation of Neolithic humans from Balkans.
Following a chance
Chance and luck are archeologists, good friends. If it was not so we would be deprived of a large number of sites and artifacts that are now in our collection.
An ordinary spring working day in Vojvode Putnika Street in Smederevska Palanka ended unexpectedly. A group of workers was digging a trench to set up water supply pipes. Nothing raised their suspicion when they found a group of dirty and glued-together coins with some ceramics. That unsightly pile was not something that would interest them, so they reburied it while filling the holes with the pipes. It was chance that played at the moment so the coins and ceramic pots would not remain forgotten. Dragan Vukosavljevic, enthusiast and antique lover found himself in that decisive moment of reburial of the coins. He went to the museum to pass the information that there could be something interesting in the dig site. Together they returned to the `crime scene` and by using archeological digging method found a total of 1286 coins dating in late antiquity, mostly silver and few copper ones.
After the cleansing, they came to a conclusion that coins belong to a period from 2nd till 4th century. It was very soon on the opening of `Small archeological exposition` when pipeline workers could see what treasure they could leave in the gutter of the Earth. Even today this money storage brings up curiosity and inspiration. The diversity of deities represented on the back side of the coin was starting point in formulating exposition `Aut Augustus aut nihil` - `Either Augustus or nothing`.