The Vučedol culture originated in 3000. BC. The culture originated in Vučedol, where its oldest finds are. The people of this culture were engaged in animal husbandry, probably the oldest cattle breeding. It is the first culture to use plates to serve food to only one person, while common food containers have been used until then. The Vučedol dove (partridge) is the most famous ceramic vessel from the archeological excavations on Vučedol.
Modeled in the shape of a dove (partridge), it has become one of the most recognizable symbols of Vukovar and Vučedol. The Vučedol culture has historical significance both for the Vukovar area and for the whole of Croatia. It abounds in many historical sights. The Vučedol dove is a Croatian symbol recognizable throughout the world.
It is a multi-layered site inhabited for many centuries. In the six-meter-thick cultural layer, we find traces of the earliest, Starčevo culture dating to the time of VI. and V. Millenium BC (5500 – 4300 BC), Eneolithic cultures (approximately 3500 – 2200 BC) – Baden, Kostolac and Vučedol (which we date to the period 3000 – 2200 BC) to Bronze Age cultures – belegiš (1500 – 1400 BC)
Life on Vučedol was most intense and almost uninterrupted during the Eneolithic, and most of the archaeological material is dated to the second half of the IV. III. Millennium BC.
As far back as 1897, Josip Brunšmid, the then director of the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, attracted the European archaeological public with Vučedol findings.
The first major excavations were carried out in 1938 under the Archaeological Museum’s supervision in Zagreb by the German archaeologist R.R. Schmidt at the Gradac site. Significant finds were discovered, including an apsidal house called Megaron, metallurgical furnaces, numerous Baden and Vučedol pits, burial chambers with ritual burials of children, and the married couple grave, animal burials, etc.
In one of the pits at a depth of 4.4 m, the most famous find of the Vučedol culture so far was found – a vessel in the shape of a bird (partridge) – knows as the Vučedol dove. As the Vukovar City Museum was founded only ten years after this research, all the findings from that time have since been kept in the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb, and many of them are in its permanent exhibition.
The research was interrupted due to the war destruction and demining of the terrain after the war. Re-systematic interdisciplinary archaeological research began in 2001 under the leadership of the Vukovar City Museum in cooperation with the Department of Archaeology at the Faculty of Philosophy in Zagreb and the Archaeological Museum in Zagreb and had been taking place every September since. In that period, a lot of ceramic, bone, and stone material was collected, as well as metal objects of the Vučedol, Kostolac, and Baden culture, which help us reconstruct life on Vučedol during the III. millennia BC.
Every year we learn something new from the found exhibits and learn about our culture. It’s important to strengthen and develop the awareness that we have a deep-rooted cultural heritage, representative of a global scale.