The aim of this multifaceted, interdisciplinary, and international project is to investigate for the first time the environment of a targeted multi-layered prehistoric settlement in the Balkans by means of archaeological, environmental and spatial investigations in a combined multidisciplinary effort by the Serbian and Austrian teams.
The prehistoric periods represented at the site of Svinjarička Čuka, including the Early Neolithic, Late Eneolithic and several phases of both the Bronze and Iron Age, represent points of immense social, cultural, economic and environmental change in human history. As a crucial point in human history, the Neolithic represents a period in which people shift from Mesolithic hunter-gathers to Neolithic settled agricultural communities.
Further, rapid changes, often connected with small and large-scale migrations, starting from the Late Eneolithic towards the earlier phases of the Bronze Age, were presumably marked by the emergence of semi-nomadic pastoralism, an unknown economic concept in the Central Balkans up until that point, and its gradual and incomplete transition back towards the less intensive agriculture during the developed phases of the Bronze Age. Finally, the second onset of the presumed semi-nomadic pastoralism is traditionally connected with the later phases of the Bronze Age and the beginning of the Iron Age in the region.
Four seasons of fieldwork at the site of Svinjarička Čuka within the Leskovac Basin brought to light a huge amount of new evidence regarding the researched periods in the Balkans. Traces from dwellings were uncovered, as well as activity zones by using a range of methods to produce a sustainable data-set for comparative studies. This project aims to investigate the environment surrounding of the site on a diachronic scale, and contrast it with the previous data for the region and the existing theoretical framework.