Sunday, July 14, 2013

Monday, July 8. The Iron Gates

There is a section of the Danube that passes through a deep gorge called the Iron Gates. This section had historically been extremely difficult to navigate due to powerful rapids. They used to use teams of horses and ropes to move barges through this section. In 1982 the Djerdap Hydroelectric and Navigation system was completed. A huge dam was built which flooded a large area. Two locks are required to complete the drop of almost 100 feet.

We woke up on Monday morning docked in the Serbian town of Donji Milanovac. Our tour included a visit to an interesting archaeological site called Lepenski Vir. The site dates back to 7000 B.C. and is thought to demonstrate the transition between the hunter/gatherer way of life to one of agriculture. The site was discovered in 1965. This unique site is considered to be one of Europe's most significant excavations of early civilization. A village of maybe twenty houses was discovered. Each house is a distinctive shape and included a rock hearth.

The actual site was submerged when the dam was built. The picture above was taken in a large modern interpretation centre built near the original site. The actual rocks from the village were moved and site was reproduced.

When we started our visit we were treated to a communist-era film about the discovery of the site. The film was was quite interesting, both for the subject and for the style and phrasing used. The artifacts displayed include some fairly sophisticated rock carvings.

About 120 skeletons were found. Interestingly almost all had a full set of teeth
and there were no signs of violence on the skeletons.

When returned to our ship, we started or voyage through the Iron Gates. Some sections looked a lot like Western Brook Pond in Gros Morne.

This carving is a fairly recent addition created by a successful businessman.

After a spectacular passage through the gorge, we travelled through the two locks at the dam.

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