Chalcolithic superblades from Bulgaria: a case study of a recently found hoard from Sushina
The Bulgarian Chalcolithic period (and especially its final phase) is widely known for its striking social differentiation, evidenced by remarkable examples of copper and gold technology, as well as exceptional flint-knapping techniques. Superblades (over 25 cm long) are found mainly in mortuary contexts (as burial grave-goods) and hoards coming from domestic contexts and interpreted as reserves of precious items kept for future use. The superblades represent products of a sophisticated debitage technique – pressure using a lever or a crutch in standing position). The reconstruction of the skills for superblade removal requires very detailed and meticulous analysis of a spectrum of particular stigmata. The functional interpretation of the blades needs careful use-wear observations and expertise. Both analytical procedures have been applied to a hoard of 11 remarkably well-preserved superblades from a hoard discovered in the Chalcolithic tell near the village of Sushina in northern Bulgaria. This paper offers a detailed description, analysis and interpretation of the blades from this hoard in the context of the Balkan networks of materials and symbols during the Golden 5th millennium BC.
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