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 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.