ERC BIRTH – Births, mothers and babies: prehistoric fertility in the Balkans between 10000-5000 cal BC


BIRTH is the first project supported by the European Research Council in Serbia and hosted by the BioSense Institute in Novi Sad. The principal investigator of the BIRTH project is Sofija Stefanović, the leader of the bioarchaeology group at the BioSense Institute.

BIRTH project incorporates a holistic approach in understanding fertility and skeletal, nutritive and cultural factors influencing birth rates in the period between 10000 and 5000. cal BC in the Central Balkans.
The main objectives of the BIRTH project are:
1. To establish the number of pregnancies prehistoric mothers had, the size of their pelvises and the size of babies.
2. To determine the ways in which Neolithic changes in dietary practices influenced food quality and the duration of breastfeeding.
3. To establish the chronology of Neolithic Demographic Transition in the Balkans.
4. To understand the attitudes towards pregnancy, birthing and babies in prehistory.

BIRTH project has 4 work packages: BIOLOGY OF FERTILITY, PREHISTORIC MACRO AND MICRONUTRIENTS, PALEODEMOGRAPHY, and CULTURE AND FERTILITY.

The project investigates human and animal skeletal evidence, plant remains and archaeological artefacts from about 300 Mesolithic and Neolithic sites in Serbia. In addition to eight researchers, the project has numerous collaborators, and has established collaborations with over twenty museums and scientific institutions in Serbia, Germany, France, England, Macedonia, and Croatia.

commission-cl The project leading to this application has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 640557.