The paper presents the range of crops documented at Neolithic sites in the territory of Serbia and discusses the differences between early and late Neolithic crop spectra. The approximate timing of arrival to the region of the founder- and other crops is summarised. Further, the degree of use of different crops is explored for the region in general, and for three late Neolithic/Vin?a culture sites (Opovo, Gomolava and Vin?a) in more detail. Possible patterns in the treatment of crops are identified, such as the likely separate cultivation and processing of einkorn and emmer at Opovo, their probably combined consumption at Gomolava, and the apparent preference for emmer in the final occupation phases at Vin?a.
During the fifth millennium BC the population of the region of Thrace and the Lower Danube developed the earliest known metallurgy based on mining. This led to significant socio-economic changes: development of trade, specialization in some types of production, and the earliest signs of socio-economic differentiation. The level of development of that culture is the highest at the time. During the fourth millennium the continuous development of the local cultures gradually stopped and new cultures appeared in their place, which were considerably simpler from a technological point of view. The system of cultures related to mining and metal production and called by E. N. Chernykh the Balkan-Carpathian Metallurgical Province ceased to exist. A new system of mutually related cultures occupying a larger territory was formed: the Circum-Pontic Metallurgical Province (Черных 1978). This was a long process that took place during the fourth millennium. The centres of metallurgy of the fifth millennium were abandoned and a development of metallurgy based on mining began in Anatolia. The paper discusses the opportunities for tracing influences of the Balkans on Anatolia during the fifth and fourth millennia BC. It presents arguments in support of the hypothesis about a migration of population from the Balkans and in particular from the region of the Varna and Kodzhadermen-Gumelni?a-Karanovo VI cultures south and southeast towards Anatolia.
The article present the first stage of the statistical analysis of the pottery from the ‘Palace centre-east’ site in Pliska. The pottery has been grouped according to technological and functional properties in the following categories: pottery made on slow wheel (pots and bowls), grey pottery (pots and bowls), pottery made on fast wheel (pots, bowls, jars, dishes), amphora-like pitchers (made of light clay or of red clay and pitchers with red slip), amphorae, glazed ware and other categories (Table 1). The database consists of 5648 fragments of household ware found in an area of 200 m2 (Fig.2). The complex analysis of the investigated sector has allowed the determination of three stratigraphic horizons in the post-capital period of Pliska: horizon I (first half of the 10th century AD till the 70s of the same century); horizon II (70s of the 10th century AD till the 30s of the 11th century AD); horizon III (30s-40s of the 11th century AD till 60s of the same century). Various ratios between the different types of pottery are analyzed and presented in different diagrams. The ratio between the three functional groups of pottery – coarse ware, fine ware and storage/transport ware- is 71%:24%:5%. The assessment of the degree of fragmentation was made by the analysis of characteristic fragments (rims and bases). The total number of vessels in the three horizons is different – 12%:57%:31%. Such percentage ratio suggests certain demographic dynamics, according to which the most significant population growth is between the end of the 10th century AD and the first third of the 11th century AD. The detailed analysis of the structure of the pottery assemblage in the post-capital period in Pliska allows inferences to be made not only about the nature of the ceramic production but also serves as a basis for clarification of the social profile of the population, its cultural characteristics and the overall social functioning in the post-capital period of Pliska.
Two dome ovens from the archaeological complex of Pliska Palace, North-Eastern Bulgaria, were sampled and studied using archaeomagnetic method. These two ovens are well dated archaeologically, and their archaeomagnetic results will elucidate better the sought geomagnetic field variations for the given time period. On the other hand, we have the possibility to demonstrate the applicability of the archaeomagnetic method for dating purposes. Detailed rock-magnetic analyses were performed in order to establish the magnetic properties of the collected materials (stability of carried remanence, type of dominant magnetic minerals, domain state of magnetic particles and degrees of mineralogical transformations during heating). In general, the investigated materials are suitable for archaeomagnetic determination. The applied experiments show that they have not been heated to temperatures over 460?C as the temperature of heating in oven No2 was probably slightly higher in comparison to that in oven No1. Taking into account the determined mean values for the geomagnetic field elements, it is obvious that both ovens have been used in the past within two different time periods. The mean declination of oven No1 is more than 20 degrees lower than the declination of oven No2. Differences between the two other geomagnetic field parameters, inclination and intensity, are less pronounced: 5 degrees for inclination and 3 µT for intensity. An archaeomagnetic dating was done on the basis of Bulgarian reference curves from 2013. There is a very good agreement between the determined archaeomagnetic dating intervals (894 – 993) AD (for oven No1) and (1001 – 1075) AD (for oven No2), and the archaeological assumptions. These results confirm the importance of the archaeomagnetic method in archaeology as a reliable dating tool.
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.
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 “???” 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.
The lower part of a sediment core taken from the Ezero lake, next to Tell Ezero, in the Thracian Plain, Bulgaria, covers the period 15500–13500 calBP (Greenland Ice Core Stages G1-1c–1e). The recovery of plant macrofossils as well as pollen grains indicated that, far from a largely treeless grassy steppe vegetation, there were stands of trees and bushes as well as a rich wetland flora. Archaeological, ethnographic and ethnohistoric investigations of over 70 plant taxa showed that 20 taxa had documented use exclusively for food, 14 for exclusively medicinal use and 14 for both uses; moreover, several taxa were utilised or present in coeval sites such as the Franchthi Cave and in southwest Germany. The presumption is that Final Palaeolithic communities in the Thracian Plain would have made good use of such a rich supply of food and medicinal plants. However, there is a variety of reasons – whether taphonomic, research led or pedagogical – for the current absence of any Final Palaeolithic sites in the Thracian Plain. A hypothetical mating network centred on Ezero puts this problem in spatial context.
The paper elaborates on the AMS dating results obtained for the Chalcolithic cemetery near Varna, located on the western Black Sea coast in northeastern Bulgaria. The focus here is not on the comparison between absolute dates acquired for various sites from the middle and late Chalcolithic period in the region. It is rather on the examination of the main approaches towards suggested chronological frameworks. Divided into three parts, the text reviews regional methods for proceeding conventional radiocarbon dates (II A) and such, related to the later AMS measurement of bone collagen (II B). Both approaches are considered as deserving more attention with regard to the problematic aspects that may affect the acquisition of reliable results. The 19 new AMS Varna dates are found important for chronological revisions. However, at this stage they alone are not considered sufficient for inarguable modifications of the schemes (III). Along with identification of major factors that should be taken into account when dealing with the chronological debates in the specified region, strategies for solving some of the issues are also suggested.
The article compares the settlement organization and the building construction on flat sites consisting of no more than 2-3 levels and on multilayered settlements with deposits that are above 0,50 m in thickness. The possible differences in the occupational stages of a given site are discussed – from the clearing of the terrain for its foundation to the characteristics of the archaeological record.
The differences between the two types of settlements are due to the different bases on which they are founded – the former over a natural terrain, the latter over the remains of older settlements. The area for the newly established settlements needs to be cleared from vegetation – usually perennial trees whose removal leaves deep pits. The area of the multilayered settlements needs to cleared from destruction debris, namely through surface flattening. The role of the terrain is particularly important for the construction of the buildings. If they are founded on a solid base, it is not likely that the weight of the building will cause any problems. This facilitates the construction of large massive buildings. The buildings of the multilayered settlements are lying over an amorphous ‘fill’ layer with low and uneven density. Such a layer is not suitable for heavy buildings since it sinks under their weight. This imposed the construction of lighter buildings.
The flat sites could cover a large area with sparsely situated dwellings. The space between the buildings was most probably used for household and subsistence activities. Light buildings, hearths, ovens and pits with various functions can also be situated there. The tells have a limited area, hence their densely built space. Probably most of the household and subsistence activities were performed off-tell.
The different location, organization and construction techniques of both types of settlement is reflected in the archaeological record.
The study explores jewellery from the so-called “Byzantine–Oriental” group, distributed in Bulgaria and Great Moravia in the 9th–10th c. The analysis offered is aimed at showing the close link between the political context in both countries and the penetration of Byzantine production and cultural influences in the middle of the 9th c.
The increased number of findings from the early and mid- 9th c. marks a new phase. It is characterized by the introduction of mass production of “Byzantine” – like jewellery in Bulgaria. One of the factors influencing jewellery production in Bulgaria may be associated with the resettlement of tens of thousands of prisoners into the country after the massive military offensive of the Bulgarian troops in Eastern Thrace in 812.
Jewellery production flourished in Bulgaria in the second third of the 9th and the 10th c. (fig. 8). An important factor for this is, undoubtedly, the political transformation that occurred after the conversion of the ruler and the whole Bulgarian population in 865–866. In the context of the Byzantine cultural influence in Eastern Europe, Cyril and Methodius’s mission played a very important role in 863–868, and marked the culmination of the Byzantine political, cultural and economic influence in Great Moravia.
Exploring the topic of jewellery in Bulgaria and Great Moravia in the 9th–10th c. helps clarify some issues of the cultural and historical development of both countries. The common processes of Christianization placed Bulgaria and Great Moravia under the direct influence of Byzantium, which had a strong impact both on the spiritual life and the material culture. As a result, “Byzantine” type of jewellery got broadly spread in both countries in the middle of the 9th c.
In the first part of this report, we will present two large ceramic complexes – one from the beginning of the ninth century and the second from the mid-ninth century. Both sets of pottery were found while excavating the secret passages, which form a net of tunnels, in Pliska. The discovery of the numerous complex of table vessels in the center of Pliska puts forward the question of the specific needs of such an inventory at the ruler’s court. The deposition of the vessels near the ruler’s residence means that they were used for the needs of the king’s household.
The second part of the report presents a pottery kiln, found in the south-east sector of the so called “Inner Town” of Pliska capital city. The kiln used to have two chambers placed one above another. The firing (lower) chamber is slightly bigger than that of the upper chamber. Three big oval pits was found, situated in a raw south of the pottery kiln. Two of them were functionally connected with the kiln and obviously served as ancillary pits. Three wares were found in the first and second ancillary pits. They demonstrate features specific for the end of the 10th and most of all the beginning of the 11th c. AD.
This paper describes the initial findings of the Balkan Paleo Project (BPP). The project seeks: 1 – to augment the evidence that can be used to test hypotheses about hominin and faunal dispersals into and out of Europe during the Pleistocene; 2 – to gather data for testing the hypotheses regarding the adaptation of early human populations to Eurasian ecosystems, the adjustment of their tool technologies, anatomical characteristics and behaviors in response to local climates and faunal evidence.
These research objectives can only be achieved by identifying and excavating a broad spectrum of archaeological and paleontological sties that span the Pleistocene within the Balkan Peninsula. Results of BPP activities conducted in southern Bulgaria are reported here. These include excavations at the Arkata rockshelter and associated caves overlooking the Arda River near (Eastern Rhodopes, Krumovgrad district), the Leyarna caves and the previously known paleontological locality of Mechata Dupka (Strandzha Mountains, Malko Tarnovo district). These activities have expanded our understanding of ecological conditions along a potentially important pathway along which early humans may have dispersed into and out of Europe, and have for the first time documented the presence of Pleistocene humans within southeastern Bulgaria.
The subject of study is a fragment from an East Greek birdbowl, found at the Drama-Kajrjaka site, Yambol district. The glaze coating over the interior of the vessel, certain features in the line of the bird and the presence of only one vertical dividing line between the basic ornaments, allow us to assign it to type IIIb after M. Kerschner, dated ca. 640 – ca. 610 BC. Recent research shows that the vessel is not an isolated find in the Middle Tundja valley.
At a distance of about 30 km to the north, during the excavations of a settlement from the Early Iron Age/the beginning of the Late Iron Age (village of Zavoy), a fragment of a second birdbowl was found. The vessel belongs to type V or VI after M. Kerschner, dated ca. 630 – 590 BC.
At this stage of research the single finds of tableware and amphorae of East Aegean origin dating to the last third of 7th – the beginning of 5th century BC show sporadic import along the river valley of Middle Tundja. In this case the concentration of Aegean materials in Drama-Kajrjaka can be explained both by the significance of the cult site and the availability of iron-ore around the village of Drama, where traces of ancient exploitation were registered.
The paper presents a systematization of Greek amphorae found in Shumen district (northeastern Bulgaria). In terms of their origin and chronology, the amphorae from Shumen district have good analogues in the adjacent areas. The economy of the entire region (the east of Yantra river to the Danube and to the Black Sea coast) during the Classical and the Hellenistic periods has been related to the steady in times of upsurges and crises import of production transported in amphorae.
The largest diversity of production centres represented by imported amphorae in Shumen district is in the first half of the III century.
Although the collection of late Hellenistic amphorae and amphorae stamps from Shumen district derives from different sites, its diversity is comparable to the assemblages from town-sites like Kabile and Sboryanovo. This fact, together with other observations on the material culture, is a serious argument for the claim that wide majority of the population in ancient Thrace during the IV-II c. BC had relatively similar lifestyle, whereby the market and the trade with certain Greek partners have played a significant role.
The import of amphorae in the region continues in the II-I c. BC but much reduced in volume as it is visible from the finds from the adjacent area of V. Tarnovo. Despite these less intensive trade relations with Thrace, the Greek production centres remain popular there, at least till the arrival of the Roman administration.
This paper presents experimentally obtained examples of microlithic tools hafted as tips and as side elements of projectile weapons exhibiting similar types of macro-damage diagnostic of impact. Considering the wide range of designs represented by archaeological finds of projectiles fitted with microliths these examples emphasize the importance of a comprehensive approach to interpreting variability in microlithic assemblages with regard to the function of these projectile tools.
The paper focuses on the current state of research and knowledge about ‘Balkan flint’ (hereinafter BF) and trajectories flowing from the BF problem to the bigger and increasingly complex problem of the Neolithization of the eastern Balkans. The emergence and consolidation of the BF problem within the research agenda of specialists working on Balkan prehistory is briefly traced, as well as the confusing and inconsistently repetitive use of the term BF leading to some ‘mythologisation’ of the topic.
A particular section of the paper represents the thoughts of the author on the conceptual meaning of BF in the context of the Balkan Neolithization debate, because until now its role has not been fully appreciated and recognized. Several theories and scenarios of the emergence and spread of the Neolithic in present-day Bulgaria are reviewed through the evidence of the particular Early Neolithic flint toolkits consisting in representative (retouched) blades made from BF and attributed to the diagnostic features of the Early Neolithic package/culture.
The petrological identification of raw materials and their provenance has been carried out at only a small number of the Neolithic and Eneolithic sites in Serbia until the last three decades. Owing to the progress in the field of petroarchaeological investigation and the absence of uniformity in published works in recent years, the need for systematization appeared. The paper presents the history of research and a proposal for systematization the petroarchaeological database for Serbia.
The paper presents an important evidence of ethnographic tribula from the south-eastern Balkans, which inserts are commented as a referential corpus to a series of archaeological tribulum inserts identified by the author and coming from a Late Chalcolithic site in Bulgarian Thrace. Archaeological tribulum inserts from Bulgaria can be recognized because of their striking similarity to ethnographic examples in morphology and shape, and especially in microscopic wear features.
The paper also presents the results of a micro-wear analysis, made by the author, of a series of Canaanean blades assemblages from different areas in Israel (from the Negev to the North Mediterranean zone and Galilee). The study aimed to verify the concept of Canaanean blades used as tribulum and not as sickle inserts. Ultimately, the results have been tested in resolving one of the crucial problems in the theoretical background of use-wear studies: that of the establishment of reliable patterns for distinguishing the micro-wear characteristics (polishes and accompanied striations) of sickle and tribulum inserts.
A burial mound was excavated in 2009 near the village of Dolno Izvorovo, Kazanlak district. In its south periphery a monumental tomb was found with north-south orientation. Because of the intensive fluvial processes the level of the surrounding terrain has raised and at present the monument is lying under it.
The tomb consists of a corridor, first rectangular and second circular chambers. It has been partially destroyed and robbed in Antiquity. The two chambers are built of granite stones fastened with iron cramps poured with led. The floors are covered with stone slabs. All interior surfaces are overlaid with white plaster.
The circular chamber roof is corbelled from the first row. The dome consists of nine rows of sector blocks of different height. Opposite the entrance there is a ritual stone bed with plastic decoration in mode of ????? and two stools. There are two platforms on the east and west sides of the chamber.
The entrance is framed in Ionic order and there are two holes for a wooden folding door on the threshold.The rectangular chamber is built of five rows of granite stones. Its entrance is also with Ionic frame (the lintel is not preserved). It has been closed with stone folding door with coffers. Two antes with capitals flank the entrance – probably they have supported an epistyle. Massive local stones form the facade on both sides of the antes. The walls of the corridor are perpendicular to the facade and have the same masonry. The floor is of tamped soil.
A member of the Thracian aristocracy was buried in the tomb. His battle horse was sacrificed in the first chamber, while the warrior himself with his personal belongings and funeral gifts was placed in the second chamber. Because of the plundering of the tomb most of the finds are missing. Only a few fragments and parts of artifacts are found. They are made of metal, clay, wood and bone. Among them there are gilt bronze and clay parts of a wreath, golden buttons and beads, a silver rosette and loops, bone beads, a ceramic vessel, two amphorae, iron nails and hinges from the wooden doors.
According to the architecture and the artifacts, the funeral and the closure of the tomb are dated to the last decade of 4th century BC.