Approaching prehistoric skills: experimental drilling in the context of bead manufacturing

From the very Early Neolithic in the Balkans two categories of objects are recognized as having been involved in prehistoric drilling activities. The first is beads and other decorative and prestigious items made of bone, shell, pottery and various minerals. The second comprises toolkits of micro-perforators/borers found among the flint assemblages of several sites.
This paper presents experiments in drilling different materials with the aim of testing several practical issues. A series of micro-borers were produced and used for manual and mechanical drilling (with a pump drill). Various samples (mainly prepared thin plates) of minerals and rocks were used, ranging in hardness (on Mohs scale) from 3 (marble, limestone, calcite) to 6.5 (amazonite, nephrite). Biominerals were also used: aragonite (shells) and apatite (bones). Actual bead production was approached by manufacturing 16 delicate beads of 5 different materials using fine sand and water abrasion. Though not conclusive, the experimental work was instructive in many of the parameters, procedures and technical details of prehistoric drilling.

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Амфорите с енглифични печати от България

Amphorae with englyphic stamps in Bulgaria

The publications of new materials allow to make observations on the characteristics, origin, dating and spatial distribution of the amphorae with englyphic stamps in Bulgaria.
Obviously the discussion about the origin of these amphorae will continue until incontestable evidence is found, such as furnaces or remains of their manufacture in situ or until a highly representative chemical analyses of the clay is carried out.
The amphorae with englyphic stamps differ from most of the similar vessels manufactured during the Classical and the Hellenistic periods in several typical particularities
The oldest stamps bearing only one name, were determined to belong the last years of the 5th c. BC and the first decade of the 4th c. BC. The dating of the stamps bearing eponymous name often with the affix “επι” at the beginning is more complicated. As a whole they are included in the period from 390/385 to 325/315 BC. The dating of the latest specimens of this type of vessels remains under discussion.
Against the backdrop of the current studies related to the importation of Greek amphorae in Ancient Thrace, the large spread of vessels marked with englyphic stamps in a vast geographical region (Dobrudzha and Ludogorie, to the west of the river Yantra and across the Thracian plain and the sub-Balkan valleys up to the nominal line to the west between Simeonovgrad-Elkhovo-Fakia) represents an interesting phenomenon.

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Надгробна могила от ранната елинистическа епоха край с. Кабиле, Ямболско

Early Hellenistic tumulus near the village of Kabyle, Yambol district

In the summer of 2009, rescue excavations of a tumulus were conducted in relation to the construction of the ‘Thrace’ motorway. The tumulus was located to the northeast of the village of Kabyle, Yambol district and it is known as the Big Tumulus (Golyamata mogila) among the locals. Only one grave was uncovered in the north-eastern part of the mound. It is of a pyre-grave type, not particularly common for pre-Roman Thrace. The deceased has been placed on a wooden bed construction in the pyre together with his personal belongings and armor. The observations made in the course of excavations point to the conclusion that most of the inventory has been put in the pyre during the quenching of the fire by soil, after which, the piling of the primary mound began. Probably wine was used in this ritual, as revealed by an extant Thasos amphora. The armor consists of a sword and more than ten spearheads with butt-spikes. A bronze horse-bit, parts of a gold laurel wreath and more than one wreath with gilded leaves and fruits, two iron strigilae and not the least, a golden stater of Phillip II type have also been documented. Most probably, the coin was put in the mouth of the dead as a Charon obolus. The pyre-grave should be dated to the 30s or 20s of the 4th c. BC., and could be interpreted as a funeral of an officer from the Macedonian garrison of the town of Kabyle.

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The necropolis of the prehistoric Baley settlement (preliminary note on the results from the 2013 investigations)

The article presents four burial complexes studied in 2013, representative of the Baley-Orsoia (or Žuto Brdo-Gârla Mare), Bistreț-Ișalnița and Vârtop chronological phases. In addition to these, the investigations of the Baley necropolis revealed also graves of earlier date, synchronous to the Verbicioara ІІІ phase. The brief review of the associated inventory and the burial practices suggests that at the Baley necropolis the Late Bronze Age and the beginning of the Early Iron Age are represented by reasonably certain sealed complexes. During 2013 investigations we encountered a new for the site custom – placement of the cremated remains in a dish, with a large number of vessels, including biconical jars arranged in proximity with it.

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Химико-технологично изследване на монета (фалшификат на златна номизма тетартерон) от Плиска

Chemical and technological study of a coin (fake gold nomisma tetarteron) from Pliska

A fake coin found during excavations in Pliska was analyzed in the Laboratory for analyses, conservation and restoration in NIAM-BAS, Sofia in order to establish its chemical content. The coin was discovered within the levelling stratum that overlays a building burnt in the 30s – 40s of XI century.
The coin is a fake of a nomisma tetarteron of Basil II (976-1025) – Constantinople, type F (1005-1025). Chemical technological analysis shows that the coin has a copper-tin core, an intermediate silver-lead layer and a gold-plated upper layer. The core alloy consists of at least two major components – copper (Cu) – around or above 75% and tin (Sn) – not more than 12%, as well as eventually silver (Ag) – up to 15%. The silver-lead layer has several percents of lead. The gold in the upper layer is at least 60% on the obverse and at least 78% on reverse. The amount of mercury is 4% on the obverse and 8% on the reverse and it is a clear indication for ‘mercury gilding’. The difference in the quantity of gold and the accompanying elements in the two sides of the foil suggests that the gilding took place in stages and at separate episodes for the two sides, resulting in different thickness of the upper layer.

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Консервация на метални археологически предмети

Рецензия на Диjaна Ванчевска, Билjaна Бозароска-Павловска, Конзервациjа на Метални Археолошки Предмети, 2013, Народната банка на Република Македонија, ISBN 978-9989-107-25-2

Conservation of archaeological metals

Book review: Диjaна Ванчевска, Билjaна Бозароска-Павловска, Конзервациjа на Метални Археолошки Предмети, 2013, Народната банка на Република Македониja, ISBN 978-9989-107-25-2

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Пети археоинвест симпозиум: „Истории от камък”, Международен симпозиум за кремък и други обработвани материали, 20-24 август 2013, Яш, Румъния

5th Archeoinvest Symposium: “Stories written in Stone”, International Symposium on Chert and Other Knappable Materials, 20-24 of August 2013, Iaşi, Romania

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Present messages from the past: Archaeology didactics at the Museum of Prehistoric Art of Mação (Central Portugal) and the example of the Andakatu Project

Heritage education, although still often set aside, has assumed an increasing role in current mindsets, regardless of the different realities in terms of geography and socio-cultural frame. The Andakatu Project based at the Museum of Prehistoric Art of Mação (Portugal) is aimed at wide audience and presents a programme, activities and contents arising from multiple archaeological research programmes conducted at the Museum and its partners (namely universities and research centres). Archaeology, being the starting point, is intertwined with various scientific and artistic aspects in order to encourage questioning, learning and citizenship through a communication based on interactive experimentation.

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