Communication Through and in the Religion in Ancient Thrace in the Early Bronze Age (According to Archaeological Data)

Kristina Kostova
Sofia University, Sofia, Bulgaria

On the territory of Ancient Thrace there are recorded two main types of sites connected with ritual practices that functioned during the Bronze Age – ring ditch enclosures and peak sanctuaries. The first are in use during the EBA and the second – from LBA onwards.
     The ritual complex Cherna gora 1 is situated in the south, central part of Bulgaria, Chirpan district. In the course of the excavation works in the period 1997-1999 there have been almost completely revealed some interrelated features dated in the EBA 3 – two ditches-outer and inner, a central pit, a well-basin, burnt clay destructions located south of the ditches and also pits from the E and LIA.
     The two ditches enclosed an almost circular area with a diameter of about 90 m. No traces of palisade or rampart are recorded around the enclosure site. Settlement features are not found in the inner area.
On the basis of the fill analysis and the planigraphic and statistic analysis the following assumptions have been made - the complex Cherna gora has served as a ritual place for the inhabitants of more than one settlement; the area of the complex was a place for contacts between people of different professional groups from both sexes; within the area of the sanctuary different rituals were performed most probably by different groups of participants in definite zones.   On the territory of Bulgaria there is another EBA ring ditch excavated at Drama-Merdjumekia, Yambol district. It is identical in construction and way of ditch filling with the ditch at Cherna gora. Many of the features presented at both sites – a ring or almost ring ditch, deposits of archaeological materials in the fill, emphasized treatment of entrance zone are common also for the prehistoric ditches known from Central and Western Europe and the Mediterranean.
The tradition of constructing ditch enclosures connected with cult practices goes on in the LBA and IA. Here we can mention the Celtic sanctuaries of Belgian type and a LIA example from Bulgaria partially investigated in the region of Chirpan.
     On the basis of these facts we can assume the existence of some levels of communication, more or less associated with the religious sphere:
     1. Regional level including some neighbour settlements visiting one and the same cult center.
     2. Second level of communication is within the area of the cult center
     3. Intra-regional level connected with exchange of religious ideas between the contemporaneous communities in Ancient Thrace.
     4. The transmission of ideas on wide territories and in time.
2002 © European Science Foundation
2002 © Prehistory Foundation & Reports of Prehistoric Research Projects
2002 ©The Authors
Editor: Lolita Nikolova
All rights reserved. Published: 12/21/02
Since 12/21/02