Early Neolithic settlement unearthed in Bulgaria


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Bulgarian archaeologists say that they have found 60 houses from a Neolithic settlement, estimated to date back 8000 years, that were seven to eight metres high and that had streets between them.

Early Neolithic settlement unearthed in Bulgaria
The 8,000-year-old Early Neolithic settlement near Bulgaria’s Mursalevo was practically
 a prehistoric city with urban planning, straight streets, and small neighborhoods
 of 3-4 houses each [Credit: Radio Blagoevgrad]

The find was made near the village of Mursalevo, about 67km from Bulgarian capital Sofia, in the Kyustendil region in south-western Bulgaria by archaeologists working along the route of the Struma motorway being built to link Sofia to the Greek border.

According to archaeologists, the people who developed the settlement had a high level of culture, considering that it would have required strong social organisation to pre-plan the settlement.

Those who lived here are believed to have come from Anatolia (Asia Minor).

The archaeologist in charge of the dig, Professor Vassil Nikolov, said that they had built two-storey houses, with wooden frames and clay. The dig had found three parallel, wide streets.

Early Neolithic settlement unearthed in Bulgaria
Early Neolithic settlement unearthed in Bulgaria
Prehistoric artifacts from the 8,000-year-old Early Neolithic settlement near 
Bulgaria’s Mursalevo [Credit: Radio Blagoevgrad]

A report by Bulgarian National Television said that at the site,
evidence had been found of a “strange prehistoric custom”, that people
apparently had set strong fires inside their houses, which in turn had
roasted and preserved the walls, enabling the modern-day find – and that
the people who lived their had “buried” their houses symbolically.

Associated Professor Krum Buchvarov said that the fact of walls having been exposed to very high temperatures had enabled the team to “reconstruct” the ancient constructions.

Inside the remainders of rooms at the site, researchers found furnaces, stones for grinding flour and painted clay vessels.

Researchers said that people at the site had believed that their houses had souls, and therefore they had “buried them symbolically” – burying various pieces of the house in small burial pits.

Early Neolithic settlement unearthed in Bulgaria
What started as rescue excavations along the route of the Struma Highway
in Southwest 

Bulgaria has continued for more than a year after the
archaeologists found the Early Neolithic

 settlement at Mursalevo in
April-May 2014; they keep unearthing exciting finds 

[Credit: Radio Blagoevgrad]

Professor Nikolov said, “We can assume that there was a string of problems connected with the corresponding cycle of life and perhaps they wanted to break this cycle, to complete it and start a new cycle of life elsewhere, and therefore burnt the village”.

Archaeologists also had found shells, which probably had been strung into a necklace. This was one of the few objects that could say anything about the prestige of its owner, because otherwise, there was nothing to indicate a hierarchy.

“They were pastoralists and hunters and so were people who had a very rich culture, they were people of the first European civilisation. This civilisation which actually gave life to Europe in the sixth millennium,” Nikolov said.

The village was presenting scholars with mysteries, such as ritual pits four metres deep, though it was not known why they were so deep and why they were arranged in a line.

Source: The Sofia Globe [May 19, 2015]


  1. Ukrainian copper age villages display these same building techniques. Advanced tools and miniature models found. But this culture died out and was replaced with impoverished lifestyles.
    Perhaps dna damage reduces the capability of successive humans?



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