Early Chalcolithic Pottery from the Region of Panagyurishte

Martin Hristov
National Museum of History, Sofia, Bulgaria

The prehistoric settlement, the materials of which have been discussed, is situated in the Bareto locality1 , which is at a distance of 3.5 km south from the town of Panagyurishte. It is situated on the left bank of the Louda Yana River, upon the first overflow fluvial terrace. Explorations within a small sounding were made in 1964. The thickness of the cultural layer, measured at that time was 0.7 m. No architectural structures were found and the published materials by Puntev in 1965 were insignificant.
     Among the ceramic fragments the greatest in number are those with mineral admixtures of inorganic origin, having a grain size below 1 mm, followed by those of a size about or over 1 mm. There have been added “schamot” or organic matter in a very few of them. The surface is most often polished or just smoothed on the outside and rough on the inside. Surfaces are one-layer but there are some that are with a three-layer surface. The surface color of some of them is red, red-brown, light brown, brown etc. The ones with entirely gray surface are only a few.
     The fragmented material gives no complete information about the forms of the vessels. Among the fragments there are fragments of vessels with a spherical form and a vessel with two tall, vertical and symmetrical handles.  The handles are vertical; vertical with expansion at the top or lower end, and in a form of two buds.
     There are several types of ornamentation. The first one is the incised ornamentation that consists of straight or arch-shaped lines. On their part they are combined in various ways. In their section they are either V- or U-shaped with a width of 1 to 3 mm. Occasionally they are filled up with white incrustation.
A sample from the fragment incrustation has been taken and tested by X-ray diffraction analysis. It contains Calcium Carbonate (Ca CO3) with the mineral calcite. This suggests a preliminarily mixing of the mineral with a clay material. It preserves its white color even after burning. The incrustation had a secondary infiltration of sluiced down embers that had a very fine structure.
     The channels represent another ornamentation type. They are narrow and shallow, situated on the middle, broadest part of the vessels and could be vertical or oblique in different direction. The little holes are laid below the rim part and are combined with graphite ornamentation. The closest parallels to this particular type of ornamentation could be found in the materials of culture Maritza.
     The painted ornamentation is associated with the use of graphite. These are lines of different thickness and different orientation that can combine and form angles as well. On occasion the graphite lines are also laid upon the handles and they are typical for Gradeshnica-Slatino-Dikilitash culture.
     There is an instance of combining red paint and incised lines filled up with white incrustation.
Another item from the material found at Bareto is a table leg. It is triangular in its section and is ornamented with incision in the form of an angle. A close parallel could be found in the early Chalcolithic material from the village of Borovan in Vratza region.
     Apart from the above-mentioned item, we have a ceramic fragment with an application of a stylized human image, ornamented with incisions. The head, the right and left hands are preserved. We have similar information from the same site, published by P. Puntev.
     On another fragment but this time a bottom, on the outer surface, we can see some incised signs. In this case, the space has probably been divided into four parts. A very close parallel to them is the one, on a vessel bottom again, from the first level of the early Chalcolithic settlement in Gradeshnitsa.
     The course of the river Louda Yana where this settlement of Bareto is situated is a part of the catchment basin of the Maritsa River. This is where the above commented materials are localized. The materials represented are in not enough for complete cultural characteristics of the micro-region. With regard to their specified chronological and cultural characteristics, it can be assumed that at this stage of exploring the early Chalcolithic in the most northwestern parts of the Upper Thracian lowlands, the population was stronger integrated with the Maritsa culture standards, then, the settlement belongs to this culture. At the same time, the materials common with Gradeshnitza-Slatino-Dikiltash culture complex should be stressed.  They have been also found in some other Early Chalcolithic sites in this area, and spread to the east, documented for instance at the tell of Kapitan Dimitrievo. In the sense of that, the most upper parts of the river Maritza course, both in the Early and the Late Chalcolithic, could be assumed to be a part of the transitional zone between these two cultures, with the eastern one having most likely a more powerful influence.
2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The Author
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
All rights reserved. Published: 12/21/02
Since 12/21/02
Under Construction