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.
Site 5 is located at 500 m to the south of the village of Dravovishtitsa, Konstinbrod municipality (fig. 1). Rescue archaeological excavations conducted at the site in 2014 and 2015 identified cultural layers from several periods: Early Medieval, Late Roman and Early Bronze Age. Twenty-one fragments from different technological and typological groups from all three periods have been subjected to mineralogical and petrographic analysis. Four groups were identified according to optical characteristics. They comprise of 17 fragments of Late Roman vessels. The remaining four fragments (one Late Roman, two EBA and one Medieval) have no known petrographic analogues. In the Roman period, materials with particular properties were used for the different technological groups and the clay was initially purified. A routine practice was to add certain components to the clay – minerals and temper – or to mix different clays, thus combining their physical and chemical properties. The clays used in the Early Bronze Age and the Early Medieval period are more ‘natural’ showing very little trace of preliminary processing.
The paper summarizes all papers published by Bulgarian scientists in the field of archaeometry, issued in the last decade. The archaeometric investigations in Bulgaria cover the analyses of chemical composition of bronze, gold, silver, lead, glass, glaze, pottery, mortar, amber, resin and other archaeological objects. For their characterization many instrumental techniques such as AAS, ED-XRF, ICP-AES, INAA, LA-ICP-MS, SEM-EDS, etc. are used. These techniques, together with geophysical methods, archaeomagnetic investigations, dendrochronology and the various dating methods are all covered by the umbrella term ‘archaeometry’. MA programme in archaeometry has been offered in Sofia University ‘St. Kl. Ohridski’ in the last 10 years, whose graduates have been joining archaeological investigations professionally. In this way, archaeology is enriched with new understanding of the role of physics, chemistry, biology and geology.
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.
The application of archaeomagnetic method as a dating tool in archaeology has intensified considerably in the last few years. The successful use of archaeomagnetic methodology depends on different factors and many efforts have been made for their clarification. Sampling is the first stage of each archaeomagnetic study. The careful selection and accurate orientation of the collected materials in the field are crucial for the obtained archaeomagnetic results. That is why detailed description of the fieldwork techniques used in Palaeomagnetic laboratory in Sofia is given and the advantages and disadvantages of the different baked clay types of materials are summarized.
The late roman fortress Sexaginta Prista is situated on the right bank of Danube River beneath the level of the modern city of Ruse. In 2015 for about three months (the period March-May) on that territory over an area of 170 m2 were conducted rescue archaeological excavations. As a result part of the eastern wall, one U-shaped tower, the north side of the fortress gate, edifice adjoined to the wall and 40 pits were unearthed. During the research 226 coins from the 5th BC to 20th century were found whose analysis is the topic of this article.
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 paper presents a thorough critical analysis of the available information on the ancient settlement under the modern village of Baykal, Pleven District, which was convincingly identified some 35 years ago with Palatium and Παλατίολον/Παλάστολον, known from the Late Roman and Early Byzantine written sources. The important corrections in connection with the previously expressed views, as well as personal ground observations and reinterpretation of the evidence, enable the author to state a new and different perspective of the ancient history of Baykal.
This article is the first one of a planned series of publications designed to bring clarity and reject the existing defects in the current interpretation of various aspects related to the nature, structure and history of the Roman Danube Limes within the borders of Bulgaria.
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.
Metals of Power – Early Gold and Silver. 6th Archaeological Conferenceof Central Germany, October 17–19. 2013, Halle (Saale)
Book review: H. Meller, R. Risch, E. Pernicka (eds.). Metalle der Macht – Fr?hes Gold und Silber. 6. Mitteldeutschen Arch?ologentag vom 17 bis 19 Oktober 2013, Halle (Saale), 2014, Halle (Saale): Landesmuseum f?r Forgeschichte, ISBN 978-3-944507-13-2