The Vinča suburb is about 14 kilometres (9 miles) from Belgrade on the Belgrade-Smederevo road and is widely renowned for its sites of exceptional archaeological interest. The prehistoric site of Belo brdo is right on the banks of the Danube and is a site known internationally for the remains of a large Neolithic settlement found there, in a cultural layer 10.5 m (34.5 ft) deep and covering an area of nearly 10 hectares (25 acres). During the excavations, which were begun in 1908 by Dr Miloje Vasić of Belgrade University, a large number of dwellings were unearthed, along with the remains of the material culture of prehistoric man.
Each of the layers that have accumulated, and which mark the individual phases of life in Vinča (covering the period from about 4500 BC to 3200 BC) contains a veritable treasure trove of the most diverse artefacts: tools and weapons of stone and bone, everyday domestic vessels, richly decorated ritual vases, a large quantity of figurines in the shape of humans and animals in exceptionally striking style, jewellery of various rare types and expensive materials and countless other articles and works of art produced at Vinča itself or brought in from distant parts - from Central Europe, the lower Danube region and the Mediterranean.
The articles unearthed can now be viewed in the National Museum, Belgrade City Museum (Muzej grada Beograda) and in the Vinča Collection at the Faculty of Philosophy. Around the year 4000 BC the Vinča culture covered an area larger than that of any Neolithic culture in Europe. Individual settlements were large both in size and population, not only larger than all other Neolithic settlements of the same period, but also larger than the first towns which sprang up considerably later in Mesopotamia, the Aegean and Egypt. The Vinča culture had reached its peak of development by 3800 BC and continued until the emergence of societies that developed new economic and social relationships based on animal husbandry and copper and gold smelting.