Bosnia dates back to the Neolithic times. The best-known late Stone Age archaeological site in Bosnia and Herzegovina is Neolithic settlement of Butmir, which was established in the second part of third millennium B.C. This settlement existed for several hundred years and was notable for the fact that its inhabitants created the first civilization of craftsmen in this region. They were very skilled in the use of adaptation of hard stone for making tools and they also made high quality and artistic designed pottery and dishes. The original spiritual culture of its inhabitants places archaeology of Bosnia and Herzegovina on a par with that in Europe. On the basis of absolute chronology the assumption is that the settlement was inhabited from 5500 to 4500 B.C.
In the late Bronze Age, the Neolithic population was replaced by more warlike Indo-European tribes known as the Illyrians who came from the east areas and are admitted as relevant owners of the “halstadt” culture. Also, there are some indications that before Illyrians on these areas lived Thracians. This period lasted from the end of the Neolithic times to the sixth century A.D. In the fourth century B.C. there was an immigration of Gauls and Kelts who created a mixture of people who were later conquered by the Romans.
The Romans conquered Bosnia by the 2nd and 1st centuries B.C. and folded into the Roman province of Dalmatia. Following events from the years 337 and 395 when the Empire split, Dalmatia and Pannonia were included in the Western Roman Empire. The region was conquered by the Ostrogotths in 455, and further exchanged hands between the Alans and Huns in the years to follow.
The Illyrian pagan religion made it possible, thanks to the Illyrian veteran soldiers of the legions, to introduce from the Orient the popular cult of God Mithra. This cult had spread from Persia and India to all of Europe. The cult of Mithra was respected even in the Roman capital city itself, even after Christianity became recognized as the official religion of the Roman Empire. In Bosnia the cult of the god Mithra was maintained and served as a basis for accepting the religions which came from east, including Manichean and ultimately Islam.