Palafitte settlement, Tuzla
The first finding of objects from the Neolithic era in Tuzla is known from 1903. At that time, during the work on regulating of the Appel Plac (Fig. 4), today known as the Freedom Square, some archaeological material was excavated, which was the first indication of the existence of a Neolithic settlement in the area of Tuzla. The archaeological material consisted of three hollowed and polished hammers, one ceramic base/foot made of dirt with fine sand priming and one larger ball used as a crushing tool for corn. After expert processing of these cases, Vejsil Ćurčić came to the conclusion that in the area of today’s Tuzla there was a Neolithic settlement whose inhabitants, in addition to traditional business, used springs of salt water (Ćurčić, 1908: 80-81).
Figure 4. Appel Plac, early XX century
However, these findings were not sufficient to provide more detailed information on the type, size, wealth and true age of the settlement. Only in 1955 enough archaeological material was excavated in the Rudarska Street, today known as the Džafer Mahala Street, which unequivocally confirmed that Tuzla was a large and rich Neolithic settlement, one of the oldest palafitte settlements in Southeastern Europe.
The Neolithic settlement in Tuzla lies on a lower elevation extending along the right bank of the Jala River. The highest point of the elevation is at the place where the Atik or the Šarena Mosque was built. The settlement stretched between the building of the former “Mladost” Cinema (today known as the Economics-Commerce School) in the west, and the Čaršija Mosque in the east, i.e. between the Jala River in the south and the former Music School in the north.
In addition to the remains of palafitte habitats (Table VIII), rich archeological material was found in this site in the form of fragments of coarse ceramics (bases and bottom of the vessel, edges, belly of the vessel and handle), then fine iron fragments of vessels of black, gray and red ceramics of various ornaments, molds and tongue-like axes of fine iron stone, chamois and scaffolds, and bone structures (shots, needles, daggers, horns of deer) (Puš, 1957: 86-87.).
The ceramics, which can be divided into coarse and delicate, show the kinship with Vinča and rarely with Butmir shapes.
Heavy ceramics is distinguished by a large number of dishes/vessels on a base/foot, most often cylindrical. On the finer pottery, within the framework of rough pottery, horizontal or vertical handles are found, as well as wart-like and plastic ones. In rough pottery, ornamentation appears as a decoration, and in the finest ones there are also plastic strips and small cannelings (Puš, 1957: 91-95.).
Fine ceramics, ranging from reddish to gray, and sometimes black iron, vary in the form of Vinča patterns. Ringing, conical and spindle bases/feet of dishes are found in several variants (Table IX). Ornaments are also found with Vinča decorations (Puš, 1957: 94-95.).
Figural plastics are poorly represented and this poverty almost comes as the rule in the East-Bosnia Neolithic. Only one fragmented statue of a woman (Figure 5) and three animal figures (Puš, 1957: 98) were found.