Символичните гробове от късния енеолит (по данни от некрополите от територията на България)

Symbolic graves from the Late Eneolitic period (according to the data from the territory of Bulgaria)


  • Radoslav Rachev BA programme, Department of Archaeology, Faculty of History, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”, 15 Tsar Osvoboditel Blvd, 1504 Sofia; Bulgaria


Symbolic graves, Late Eneolithic, cenotaphs, ritual sites, funerary practices


This paper focuses on the question of the function of the „symbolic graves“ from the Late Eneolithic necropolises in Bulgaria. Archaeological complexes located within the necropolises, without trace of human remains have been designated as such. They most often have goods very similar to those of real graves which are placed in pits. Those structures are an expression of religious beliefs and the reconstruction of their real function is very difficult. To fill the gaps in our understanding and knowledge on the topic, ethnographic parallels are often brought up. But it cannot be expect of them to recreate the real picture of the religious practices in general. Therefore, the most feasible method of obtaining information about complex features Comparative Analysis. The results of such an examination of burial complexes without human remains show significant differences between them, which may be due to the different functions that they had. At least part of these complexes may have been used for cenotaph; others may be the result of commemoration or other rituals in the burial environment. It is possible that they are traces of unknown religious practices that were not related at all to the world of the dead, even such with organizational function for the community. Probably some of the symbolic graves are actually real graves, but completely decomposed remains of the deceased. In the future, with the accumulation of more information on the topic and the exploration of new complexes and cemeteries, the question of the function of symbolic graves, probably will be reviewed and resolved more definitively.


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