Location: Ilindentsi, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
In the seventh millenium BC the Balkan Peninsula was a gate through which farming, animal husbandry and generally Neolithisation spread to Europe from Anatolia and the Near East. Central parts of the Balkans were among the most important migration routes during that period. Six Early Neolithic settlements are mapped there, in the Middle Struma River Valley, on the natural road that connects the Eastern Mediterranean with the Central Europe. One of them is the prehistoric site near Ilindentsi. It is located on a high terrace at 250-253 m above sea-level in the Struma River Valley and at the foot of the Pirin Mountains – the third-highest range on the Balkans. During the previous seasons (2004-2009, 2011-2013) archaeologists unearthed there remains of various Early and Middle Neolithic settlement structures and features. Among them are several dwellings: one of them with stone foundations, another one with elaborate floor construction and under-floor drainage systems and a third one completely burnt with well preserved in situ "kitchen-space" including an oven, grain-store, quern-stone and what is more two Neolithic grave-pits: of a baby and a piglet and numerous waste pits. The geomagnetic map of the site created in 2010 shows some anomalies (so called Southern and Northern) that are found very intriguing by the the archaeologists. Excavations in 2011-2013 revealed the reasons for the Northern anomaly: a Neolithic ditch and a palisade, but the reason for the Southern anomaly is still to be revealed during the next seasons.
The excavation project at Ilindentsi aims to seek more detailed answers of either general questions regarding Balkan and European Prehistory:
or more site-related problems such as:
In 2014 the BIRTH OF EUROPE Field School Project (2011-2017) envisions further excavation of the Neolithic dwellings and their surroundings. Two field school sessions are available and each includes the following three modules: fieldwork including excavation of the Neolithic structures, maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling context sheets and labels, drawing an elevation plan/ a ground plan/ a cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a total station, and taking photographs at the site; lectures, workshops and field trainings in Prehistoric and Field Archaeology as well as Finds' processing and Documentation and excursions to various cultural and archaeological sites in the region including Blagoevgrad Regional Museum of History, the medieval town of Melnik, Rila Monastery (UNESCO World Heritage Site) and Rozhen Monastery.
All participants will receive:
Period(s) of Occupation: The Neolithic settlement in Ilindentsi, Bulgaria corresponds chronologically (6000 - 5400 BC) to other Balkan, Anatolian and Near Eastern sites and cultures such as: Karanovo I (Eastern Balkans), Achilleon (Southern Balkans), Hacilar VI-I, Çatalhöyük - Western Tell (Anatolia).
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 session (two weeks)
Room and Board Arrangements
In comfortable rooms with two to three beds (bathrooms with shower and WC, TV) in a local guest house, wich also provides a cheap laundry service and free Wi-Fi. Participants are not expected to bring any additional equipment, bedclothes or towels. Three meals (fresh, organic Bulgarian homemade food) per day are covered by the admission fee. They usually take place (except the lunch packages during the excursions) in the guest-house garden. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted. Staying an extra day at the guest house costs 16 EUR. Single rooms in the guest-house are limited but available upon request for the supplement of 200 EUR (for two-week period). Higher class single-room accommodation is also available at Kiossev Boutique Wine Cellar for the supplement of 300 EUR (for two-week period).
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