Bulgars, Slavs, Avars. About the early medieval cemeteries in Northwestern Bulgaria and the people who used them

  • Vladimir Staykov Department of Archaeology, Faculty of History, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, 15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd, 1504 Sofia
Keywords: Early Middle Age, Northwestern Bulgaria, necropolises, biritualism, slavs, bulgars, avars

Abstract

The main subject of the research are a group of necropolises in modern day Northwestern Bulgaria, widely dated from the end of 8th to the beginning of 11th c. AD and defined as “biritual, with cremations and inhumations in Christian way”. A thorough analysis of all element of the ritual is made, which leads to identification of some references between the burials ritual and the grave inventory. This helps for a definition of two horizons of inhumations – a pagan one, until the middle of 9th c. and Christian one, from the end of 9th and the beginning of 10th c. The sites in the group are collated with the protobulgarian biritual necropolises on the Lower Danube, the slavic cemeteries with cremation, the Christian necropolises and the Avar ones on the Middle Danube, the latter having considerable similarities with Dolni Lukovit – Galiche. A suggestion is made, that the population, that left the graves from type A in the sites, is influenced by the traditions of Avar Khaganate, or even it contains groups of people, coming from northwest. Among the most important conclusions, except the presence of early and late burials, is also the truly intriguing, but quite realistic assumption, that these necropolises, although pagan, continue to function after the Christianization.

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Published
2019-07-09