There are a few significant prehistoric archaeological sites in Skopje and throughout the country which are available to the public.
Tumba Madzari, the prehistoric settlement in Gazi Baba is an archaeological site scientifically known for its artistic and esthetic values of the material and spiritual culture. With its scientific, educational and tourist attractions, the site has been attracted the public attention since 2008.
In the last 30 years, archaeological research has shown that Tumba Madzari was a Neolithic settlement from the early Stone Age. The settlement experienced its economic prosperity and cultural well-being in the middle Neolithic period (5800-5200 BC). Therefore, the settlement of Tumba Madzari is a proto-genic core of today’s Skopje. So far, nine houses have been discovered as a result of the archaeological excavations (1981-2010). Other residential buildings are yet to be defined. Numerous excavated archaeological findings are displayed at the Archaeological Museum of Macedonia.
The archaeological project entitled “Reconstruction of the Neolithic settlement at the site of Tumba Madzari” on the western part of the property of the Museum of Macedonia is planned to be educational as the location is fully appropriate.
There are three relevant sources in the reconstruction of the Neolithic houses in Tumba Madzari: archaeological remains, clay cult altars – representations of the Neolithic houses from Anzabegovo-Vrsnik and Velusa-Porodin cultural groups, as well as contemporary examples of houses in villages, which still exist preserving the very old construction tradition of practically several millennia.
In the period between 2008 and 2010 a number of houses were build in the spirit of the Neolithic architectural tradition. Various mobile and immobile copies of findings are displayed in four of the houses, in an attempt for reconstruction of the way of life of the Neolithic man in the Republic of Macedonia. Other facilities, such as the stockyard with representations of animals as well as the beehive are part of the everyday life of our ancestors. The primary purpose of the fifth facility i.e. the classroom is to educate the public and organize cultural events at the same time. In addition, a souvenir shop is being billed for tourist and is expected to be opened in the short run.
The house was built in the traditional mode of construction typical for every agricultural civilization. House walls are built of wooden pillars stuck in the ground and branches intertwined in-between. They are coated with a thick layer of mud and straw. Pillars are different in diameter, placed at irregular distances. The roof on two slopes is made of wooden framing, covered with a layer of reed and straw. The interior of House 1 is separated with a thin uneven partition wall. In accordance with the archaeological evidence, two furnaces and a hand-mill were built inside. A total number of forty-five completely preserved pieces of pottery and numerous pottery shreds were discovered in this house, which was actually the richest with archaeological finds. All this material is exhibited in the permanent archaeological display in the Museum of Macedonia. It includes amphorae, cups, pots and storage vessels – pithoi decorated in barbotine technique, fruit-stands and bowls. The finds that that distinguish the Neolithic in the Upper Vardar Region are ascoi – vessels for water showing perfection in the simplicity of their form. This type of pottery was discovered for the first time at Tumba Madzari. By their magnificent shape and masterly production they are the most beautiful pieces among all similar finds known from other sites. What has made the site of Tumba Madzari and this house widely known is the discovery, for the first time, of a clay depiction of the Great Mother. Its impressive size of 0,39 m. in height and the classic tranquil posture of the goddess emerging from the top of a house, thus implying protection of its hearth and peace, make this terra-cotta figurine exclusive. In the course of time it would become the major link inter-relating the spirit of the Neolithic man in Macedonia.
This house was built of the same materials as other houses. The entrance on the south side shapes an M letter and there is a round opening above it. These details have been designed following the analogies with clay alters of the type depicting the Great Mother. Replicas of objects used by the Neolithic man in the daily life are arranged in the house. There is also a reconstruction of a loom and a woman weaving on it.
It was built of wood, branches and mud in the traditional mode of construction. Inside it has a small mud-coated wooden platform as place for sleeping and keeping food, which is known as cheren in the ethnology. A parapet wall was built at this point, separating the south part of the house from the north one used for cooking food. In the south part there is a sculpture of potter-women making clay pottery, as well as a sculpture of child. A semi-calotte furnace is situated beside the west wall. A replica of double ram-head is suspended above the door on the north façade.
A part of the real property inventory which was a discovered in the 2007/08 is presented inside the house. It is believed to be a mini barn where grain was stored. A fire place and a wooden bed have been discovered next to it, that is, in the northeast part of the house where there is a representation of a man making stone tools.
This noble idea for reconstruction of the Neolithic village at the site of Tumba has more than one objective. It aims at revitalization of the site, as well as developing within the general public the sense of appreciation and concern for the earliest cultural achievements of our ancestors.
The Neolithic village is open for visits every day from:
Wednesday – Friday – 08:00 -14:00 o’clock
Saturday- Sunday – 10:30 – 17:30 o’clock
Monday, Tuesday and Holidays are non working.
Authors of the project: Elena Stojanova Kanzurova, MA and Dragisha Zdravkovski, PhD
Design: Doncho Naumovski, archaeologist
Translation: Nada Andonovska
Participants in the project from the Museum of Macedonia: Elizabeta Stolich, Ivancho Velkov, Zhivko Dafovski
Participants in the project – external colaborators: Tomi Mitrev, Ilcho Velkovski, Stojan Musajski, Blagoja Jordanov, Jane Velkovski, Aleksandar Jovanovski, Oliver Velkov, Irina Jakimovska, Stefan Ilijevich, Doncho Naumovski
Participants in the project from the municipality of Gazi Baba: Emilija Kiprovska, Blagoj Kchev, Sasho Mitevski, Dejan Stojanov
We extend our gratitude to: Elizabeta Kancheska Mileska, Minister for Culture, and the colaborators Pasko Kuzman, Boris Josifovski, Snezhana Ristovska – MInistery of Culture; Koce Trajanovski, Toni Trajkovski, Mayors of the municipality Gazi Baba;