site.btaSeven-Millennia-Old Sanctuary Discovered on Hemus Motorway Site
A seven-thousand-year-old prehistoric sanctuary was discovered during exploratory excavations along the new Hemus Motorway route. Archaeological excavations have been carried out on Lot 4, in the area between the Lovech villages of Doyrentsi and Drenov. The ritual centre dates from the end of the sixth and the beginning of the fifth millennium BC, BTA learned on Thursday from Acad. Vassil Nikolov from the National Institute of Archaeology with the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. He and Galina Samichkova lead the excavations.
During the excavations in the pits, the archaeologists found richly decorated ceramic vessels and animal bones, which are to be analysed and subsequently labelled and dated.
According to Acad. Nikolov, when such a ritual place is found, the remains of settlements are usually nearby. About 20 complexes have been discovered so far, some of which consist of several pits, as shown by the initial geophysical survey. With the discovery of the humus layer, we come across other facilities that geophysical research has not always been able to find. When we study the entire area, many more complexes will be found, Nikolov said.
A very strong civilization developed here, which we are already successfully studying, and it turns out that this was the first European civilization. In fact, the Bulgarian lands are in the centre of this region, where the first European civilization developed, which covered today's Eastern Central Balkans and Northern Greece. This happened from the end of the seventh to the end of the fifth millennium BC, when a climate collapse destroyed this civilization, said Acad. Vassil Nikolov.
The place he and his team discovered was used right in the middle of this period, during the transition to the metal age, to the emergence and use of copper, and a little later - of gold.
Five teams from the National Institute of Archaeology are working in the area along the route of the Hemus Motorway. The work between Doyrentsi and Drenov is over, but Acad. Nikolov will request that the study be continued in a larger area in order to find everything along the new stretch of the motorway.
These studies have been delayed for a long time, and we have been waiting for several years for the expropriation procedures to be completed. Now, the five teams are working here, we are the first to complete this first research cycle. It is very interesting, we are digging and finding archaeological remains, the academician added.