The paper discusses ten anthropomorphic figurines that were found during the archaeological investigation of a multilayer site near the town of Varbitsa in 2015 (fig.1). They were found in stratigraphic layers associated with phases Karanovo II-III (cat. nos. 1–7) and Кaranovo II (cat. nos. 9–10) and predominantly represent strongly stylized female bodies. This style is characteristic for the entire Early Neolithic Balkan-Anatolian cultural block. An attempt to render some individualization is visible at one of the figurines whose body is made in a dynamic ‘dancing’ pose and the face expresses a strong emotion (figs. 3.4, 4.4). The typological characteristics of these Neolithic figurines link them to the Ovcharovo culture in Northeast Bulgaria and its variant Samovodene in Central North Bulgaria.
The first part of the paper discusses the written evidence about the Roman road station Anasamus, the Late Roman military fort Ansamus, and the Early Byzantine fortified settlement and later city Ἀσημοῦς/Ἀσήμος. All these toponyms refer to one and the same site, depicting its development and functional transformations through the ages. The second part presents a critical analysis of the opinions expressed so far about the exact location of the site. The conclusion is that the site had always been situated in the village land of Cherkovitsa, in the immediate vicinity of the Osam River’ mouth; on the left bank in the earlier period, and on the right bank during the Late Antiquity. The third part is a synthesis on the Early Roman Anasamus (a military camp, civil settlement and road station), based on the available archaeological and epigraphic information as well as personal ground surveys and reinterpretation of the evidence. The last part of the paper comments the remains of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Ansamus/Ἀσημοῦς/Ἀσήμος, convincingly identified with the so-called “Osamsko kale” (Osam Fortress).
A fragment of the substructure of the Eastern wall from the Northern extension of the Late Antique Serdica fortification was registered during rescue archaeological excavation in the area of the Lion Bridge square. Detailed investigations have identified three construction levels of the foundation of the structure – stones bound with solid white mortar, stones bound with yellow sandy mortar and a leveling layer of loose mortar and single stones. The stratigraphy of the site consists of three chronological groups: Late Ottoman/Revival (17th-19th century), Medieval (11th-12th century) and Late Antiquity (4th-5th century). Artifacts and numismatic materials date the construction of the fortress wall between the last decades of the reign of Emperor Constantine I and the end of 4th/ beginning of the 5th century AD.
Archaeological excavations of the Early Iron Age site of Kalakača in northern Serbia revealed the presence of numerous pit-features and traces of several possible above-ground structures. A number of pits were interpreted as storage features. Moreover, the charred plant remains in some of them were taken as an evidence of the function of the pits as crop stores/granaries. Archaeobotanical analysis confirmed the presence of a range of crops in the pits; however, the circumstances in which the charred crop remains were found strongly suggest that there is no direct connection between the plant material and the pit-features. No traces of in situ burning were detected in the excavated pits, demonstrating that the charring of plants happened outside. The use of charred plant remains as evidence for the storage of crops in the Kalakača pits can thus be dismissed. The plant material was perhaps charred within the surface structures. The analysis of the type of plant parts re-deposited in the pits reveals the presence of crop products – chiefly millet grain (most likely semi-cleaned) and some barley grain; and crop processing by-products – wheat and barley chaff. Millet grain may have originated from millet stores; cereal chaff may have arrived in the pits as daub temper or as crop processing residue discarded in fire.
Botanical remains from sanctuaries and necropolises provide valuable information about ancient religious practices. The current paper discusses old and new archaeobotanical data from Bulgaria and the use of plants in ritual context from Antiquity. The time span of the 44 considered sites (sanctuaries and necropolises) is between the 6th century BC and the 3rd century AD. Most of the sanctuaries in Bulgaria, where archaeobotanical remains have been studied, date to the Bronze and Iron Ages, and a large proportion represents the so called “pit fields”. Information concerning later periods is almost completely lacking. Some evidence on plant offerings is available from the necropolises of the Hellenistic and Roman periods. Although the archaeobotanical data from these sites are quite scarce, their increasing number allows the observation of some common tendencies. Cereals and pulses are most commonly identified at sanctuaries, while fruits are typical remains in the necropolises. Very often imported species (like stone pine, pistachio and olive) are found which testifies to existing contacts with adjacent regions (mainly the Mediterranean area and North Africa).
The paper presents the ICP-AES analysis of thirty-three artifacts made of copper alloys (tin bronze, lead bronze and brass) – adornments, vessels, weapons and several plates, strips and sticks gathered in the category “others”. They are found in southeastern Bulgaria and dated between the 8th and the 3rd century BC. The trend for targeted selection of alloys according to the way of working and the function of items are discussed, as well as some features of technology. The composition of all samples is compared with cluster analysis. The clusters and the data for local production of some artifacts like jewels, helmets, horse-harness appliqués etc. admit the presumption that part of bronze vessels found in ancient Thrace could be local as well.
Lead sling bullets are often inscribed with the personal names of military commanders of a unit of slingers. Archaeological sites that have yielded such projectiles provide an opportunity to link the names attested with historical figures known from literary sources. A classic example presents the city of Olynthus that was besieged and taken through treachery by the troops of Philip II of Macedon in 348 BC. Irrefutable evidence of this is provided by the hundreds of sling bullets bearing his name, along with those of several commanders from his army, such as Hipponikos, Potalos, Kleoboulos and Anaxandros. The present article evaluates the significance of inscribed sling bullets as a basic source in reconstructing historical events related to the Macedonian expansion in Thrace during the reign of Philip II. Through the discussion of a number of examples from Thrace, Macedonia and Northern Aegean, including previously unpublished finds, I argue that these objects can serve as a reliable marker of Macedonian mobility abroad. As a major source on the subject I further analyze the primary data generated as a result of the recent archaeological excavations of the Thracian fortified complex near Kozi Gramadi, located in south central Bulgaria. On a broader level, the present survey aims to reinforce the value of sling bullets as a necessary object of study which on account of their multi-layered nature should invite the application of an integrated approach towards antiquity by combining data from archaeology, history and epigraphy.
The archaeological excavations at the medieval settlement near the village of Zlatna livada, Chirpan municipality, provided important information about the character of the pottery assemblage in Thrace in the Early Medieval period. They provided evidence suggesting that the first inhabitants settled on the eastern part of the excavated area. The pottery which can be related to the earliest structures in this part of the excavated area is very uniform. The jars are of the most common shape. Most have marks indicating that the vessel were turned on a slow wheel without centering and throwing. Two pots differ from the rest and their characteristics undoubtedly indicate that the vessels were made by throwing. Some of the pots are covered by a thin mica coating. In contrast to the opinion that there were no such jars in the Byzantine pottery assemblages, a similarity to jars discovered in present-day Greece and Turkey is found. Similar jars were found at other sites in Thrace as well. The pottery group from Zlatna livada is dated to the 9th–10th century AD based on parallels and stratigraphic observations. The technological and formal characteristics of the pottery found at Zlatna livada provide evidence that it was manufactured by people who had long adopted and assimilated the experience, the skills and the technical competence of the Byzantine pottery makers. The presented pottery group, and in particular the observed technological changes and some typical features of the later 11th–12th century AD pottery can be regarded as an indicator of continuity between the pottery production of the Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages on the territory to the south of the Balkan.
In the present paper the analytical methods for determination of elemental and isotopic content in glass mosaic (tesserae) are presented. The history of the glass and the tesserae is given. The chemical content of glasses is described as well as the list of determined elements and isotopic content in glass by different analytical methods is given. A short discussion about the possibility of different methods is presented. The difference between the glasses produced using plant ash and natural soda is given. Some examples of different glasses found in Bulgaria are compared with the glass found in other states. The possibility for determination of the place of glass production using isotopic determination is discussed. Some examples about the possibility to determine the isotope ratios of 87Sr/86Sr and 143Nd/144Nd, 208Pb/206Pb and 18O are given.
Most models of Neolithization of the Balkans have focused on pottery, with little attention paid to other aspects of material culture. A distinctive feature of the Early Neolithic Karanovo I culture of Bulgaria is a flint industry characterized by ‘macroblade’ technology and widespread use of ‘Balkan Flint’ in conjunction with formal toolkits. The origins of this technology and the associated raw material procurement system are still unresolved. Balkan flint also occurs in Early Neolithic contexts outside the Karanovo I culture area, notably in the southern Balkans (Turkish Thrace) and in the lower Danube catchment (Carpathian Basin, Iron Gates, southern Romania and northern Bulgaria). The only securely identified outcrops of Balkan flint are in the Upper Cretaceous Mezdra Formation in the Pleven-Nikopol region of northern Bulgaria. One of the most challenging aspects of the Neolithization debate is to accommodate the evidence provided by lithic studies. Among outstanding questions are: (i) was Balkan flint used by the first (‘pre-Karanovo’) Neolithic communities in Bulgaria; (ii) what role did Balkan flint play in the Neolithization of Southeast Europe; (iii) did access to Balkan flint result in the emergence of a new laminar technology; (iv) how did the Early Neolithic Balkan flint exchange network compare to that based on obsidian, which developed in and around the Aegean Basin; and (iv) what and where were the origins of the Balkan flint network and the formal tools associated with it?
This paper presents the somewhat unexpected findings of a preliminary archaeometric study of ‘painted’ early Neolithic pottery from the site of Dzhulyunitsa, north central Bulgaria. While there is still no consensus on the actual model of Neolithisation of this region, expectations are that there would have been a transfer of pottery technology and possible small quantities of painted pottery from the West Anatolian homeland to early Neolithic sites in Bulgaria. However, our findings confound these expectations. Pottery from the earliest levels of the site are all based on local materials: there are no imported wares. There is no evidence of the experimental phase that would be expected as migrant potters learned to adjust to local clays. Instead the pottery is of a very high quality from the outset, using naturally fine clays that do not require temper: though organic material is sometimes added, albeit often in non-functional quantities. What were thought to be dark-painted layers are shown to be simply the high-quality burnishes that can be developed using these micaceous local clays: in some cases with outer surfaces enhanced with ochre. White-slipped and white-on red decorated sherds from the second layer of the site continue to showcase a mastery of local materials, with white pigments base on nearby limestones and marls. But here, petrographic analysis identifies some white-painted wares which are clearly not local, with both bodies and paint compositions pointing to a different provenance and technology. As it continues, this project aims to establish the full range of Dzhulyunitsa pottery fabrics to reconstruct manufacturing technologies and raw material sourcing patterns, for comparison with contemporary sites across the region.
Following the assumption that the Neolithic witnessed the first widespread appearance of permanent houses and households, in line with the adoption of sedentism, this article examines the relevance of residential and construction practices to our understanding of the process of Neolithic expansion from Anatolia to the Balkans. Three practices, with a broad spatial distribution, are reviewed: house burning, the vertical superimposition of houses and intra-settlement burial. The article first outlines the basis of a contextual method to retrieve practices from material patterning left in the record, such as burnt houses for the practice of intentional house burning. The next section delves into the similarities in practices between Neolithic communities in Anatolia, Thrace and Greece, during the 7th and 6th millennia BC cal. to suggest that: 1) house burning was a key strategy to bring houses to ‘closure’ at the end of their use-lives; 2) people took advantage of the stability of extant houses to build new houses atop; and 3) this practice was closely connected with the burial of the dead in, or in close proximity to, houses. Common attitudes to residence and construction across a vast array of sites underpin similarities in house form and house use patterns. To conclude, the discussion highlights the need for a dynamic approach, based on comparative time-lines of practices, to determine the direction of spread.
The study presents archaeobotanical analyses of four Early Neolithic sites (Koprivets, Orlovets, Dzhulyunitsa, Samovodene) from Northeast Bulgaria. Those archaeobotanical data are linked to comprehensive series of 14C dates for the early Neolithic in northeastern Bulgaria allowing their attribution to high resolution radiocarbon chronology. In the considered sites the dominating cereal crop during the Early Neolithic is hulled barley (Hordeum vulgare var. vulgare), followed by einkorn (Triticum monococcum) and few emmer (Triticum dicoccum) what is a clear difference from the southern parts of Bulgaria where during the early Neolithic the dominating cereal crops are einkorn and emmer. Further principal crops, present from the earliest phases of the Neolithic in the region are lentil – Lens culinaris, pea – Pisum sativum, grass pea – Lathyrus sativus/cicera and flax – Linum usitatissimum. Wide spectrum of finds of gathered plants (at least 11 taxa) reflects the use of the natural vegetation resources. Useful for reconstructing the vegetation and land use in the Neolithic are also wood charcoal identifications, indicating apart of oak forests also presence of open vegetation, riparian forests and wetlands. The relatively open vegetation in the surrounding of the early Neolithic settlements could be one of the reasons why the corresponding locations were chosen by the Neolithic people to settle there. On the other hand this open vegetation could be caused by the Neolithic land use and animal husbandry, which have also led to certain reduction of the forests in the immediate surroundings of the settlements.
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.