Tumba Madzari - History and Facts | History Hit

Tumba Madzari

Skopje, Skopje Region, Macedonia

Tumba Madzari is a Neolithic settlement in the north-eastern region of Skopje, in Macedonia. It is most notable for the Pre-Indo-European Great Mother statuettes.

Peta Stamper

06 Apr 2021
Image Credit: CC / Rašo

About Tumba Madzari

Tumba Madzari is a Neolithic settlement in the north-eastern region of Skopje, in Macedonia, and is the most significant Neolithic site in the Vardar Valley. It is most notable for the Pre-Indo-European Great Mother statuettes which provide the proof of the Cult of the Great Mother Goddess.

Tumba Madzari history

Tumba Madzari was a Neolithic village in the Gazi Baba region, which was settled on a hill or ‘tumba’ and inhabited between 6000 and 4300 BC. During this period, the land was mostly used for agriculture by the Anzabegovo-Vršnik cultural group who lived in small-scale communities and subsisted on domestic planting and animals supported by hunting and foraging.

At Tumba Madzari, the Neolithic inhabitants built a structure thought to have been used as a sanctuary, indicating the community shared religion. The settlement also constructed several Pre-Indo-European sculptures of the Great Mother, of the Cult of the Great Mother Goddess. These sculptures suggested the Neolithic community was matristic, a social system where women held the primary political and moral positions of power unlike later Indo-European cultures.

Excavations of Tumba Madzari were first started in 1978 by the Museum of Macedonia after the site was discovered in 1961 when motorway construction was planned nearby. An area of about 1,400 metres squared was researched, in which ruins and the bases of seven facilities were discovered, of which six were dwellings, and one was the above-mentioned sanctuary.

From 2008, a project to reconstruct the Neolithic village was started based off archaeological remains including clay sacrificial altars and exploring multiple stages of the Neolithic settlement found within a three-foot layer of the ground.

Tumba Madzari today

Today you can not only visit the archaeological remains at Tumba Madzari, but step back into the Neolithic period through the ‘Neolithic village’ open-air museum on the site. The open-air museum is open on mornings from Wednesday through Sunday, and is also open in the afternoons at weekends.

The site’s findings and reconstructions testify to the remarkable material and spiritual life, high artistic and aesthetic achievements of Neolithic Macedonia.

Getting to Tumba Madzari

Tumba Madzari is located 2km north of Macedonia’s capital city, Skopje. To get there using public transport, catch the 43 or 65b bus to Нас. Ченто Пазар, before walking 10 minutes to Tumba Madzari. If driving, Tumba Madzari is found on the left-hand side of the Skopje-Kumanovo-Veles highway, next to a football field.

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Macedonian Historic Sites

Known as the Republic of Macedonia until 2019, North Macedonia's ancient history and multifaceted culture is home to a number of interesting historic sites.