The Iron Gates Mesolithic Culture, dating back to approximately 11,000 to 3,500 BC, is named after the Iron Gates gorge on the Danube River between modern-day Serbia and Romania. This culture is significant due to its unique adaptation to a riverside environment, advanced fishing techniques, and the early evidence of social stratification and complex burial practices.
Notable achievements of the Iron Gates Mesolithic Culture include the development of sophisticated fishing tools such as harpoons, fishhooks, and nets, as well as the construction of riverbank settlements. The Lepenski Vir site, found on the banks of the Danube, is a prime example of their settlements, featuring trapezoidal-shaped houses with hearths and remarkable stone sculptures. The culture is also known for its elaborate burials, indicating a form of social hierarchy and religious beliefs.
In present-day Bulgaria, the Iron Gates Mesolithic Culture’s influence can be observed in archaeological findings, particularly in the northwestern regions near the Danube River. Excavations in this area have uncovered artifacts such as pottery, tools, and remnants of dwellings.
Interactions With Other Cultures
The Iron Gates Mesolithic Culture interacted with neighboring cultures, especially those that inhabited the Balkan Peninsula. This interaction resulted in an exchange of ideas, knowledge, and technological advancements. One example is the sharing of pottery techniques with the neighboring Starčevo Culture, which contributed to the development of the Neolithic period in the region.
The Iron Gates Mesolithic Culture was a vital part of the prehistoric development in the Balkans, particularly in areas along the Danube River. Its unique adaptations, advanced fishing techniques, and complex burial practices provide valuable insights into the Mesolithic period and the early societies that inhabited Bulgaria and its surroundings today.