The Prehistoric Night of Venus and Mars

Since their first beginnings humans have directed their glances up to the heavens. This expressed their ancient need to surpass their earthly limitations but also their quest for the eternal and supernatural, their desire for a meeting with their Creator. In all cultures, beginning with the most ancient, prehistoric ones, exceptional individuals have observed the heavens and created calendars. Even today we can still see traces of the ancient interest in skywatching.

It is the Vučedol Culture that offers us the oldest symbols of stars, or more precisely constellations. Vučedol astronomers, to keep better track of the constellations, gave them simplified, pictographic forms according to their brightest stars and the orbits of planets.

We may interpret the beginnings of observation and recording of images of the heavens as due to the need to track the time, the seasons, natural phenomena like springtime floods and high water, summertime with its abundant sunlight, and the days of low temperatures. Why? Because keeping track of time lets man control his crops and his painstaking labor, but also his rich yields of prepared foodstuffs.

The Vučedolians were the first people to have mastered time—the first culture that made a calendar! The first astronomers to read the secrets of the heavens and they recorded the first date in prehistory.  Pictographic marks on the terrine found in a tomb with a ritualy sacraficed victoms are the oldest definite dates in prehistory. It shows the night of 9 March 2889 B.C., when the planets Venus and Mars found themselves in a conjunction visible from Earth as a close approach or “posture of love”. In folk tradition such an event predicts a royal future for a person born on that night.

The Vučedolians marked the unique occurrence with a collective human sacrifice. Such a happening could never have been planned for, since it is seen in the heavens at most once in several thousand years.


Aleksandar Durman

Darko Puharić

Goran Dragaš