Location: Ilindentsi, Strumyani, Bulgaria, Bulgaria
In the seventh millenium B.C.E. 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. At this site the prehistoric cultural layer lies immediately (10 to 20 cm) under the topsoil humus, which has significantly facilitated the excavation process. During the previous seasons at the site (2004-2009, 2011-2012) archaeologists unearthed mainly Early Neolithic settlement structures and features (remains of dwellings with specific floor construction and under-floor drainage systems and one burnt dwelling with well preserved in situ "kitchen-space" including an oven, grain-store and quern-stone). The culture layer (app. 0,70-1.00 m thick throughout the excavated surface) was rich with artifacts such as white on red painted pottery, anthropomorphic clay figurines, stone and bone tools and jewels all of which are dated to the first half of 6th millenium B.C.E. In 2010 a geomagnetic survey of the site was performed and a geomagnetic map of the site was created. In consequence the excavated area was extended in 2011 and 2012 to search for the reasons for geomagnetic anomalies on the map. In one of these recent dig trenches beside the structures many Middle Neolithic (5600-5400 B.C.E.) artifacts were found which is the first evidence of horizontal stratigraphy at the site.
Scholars assume that the settlement near Ilindentsi was established by groups of people, coming from the earliest and the largest Early Neolithic settlement in the Valley, found near the village of Kovachevo. Thank to the results of a 20-year long Bulgarian-French Excavation Project in Kovachevo there is abundant evidence showing that the first inhabitants of that settlement were people of Anatolian origin. These migration patterns that traced the routes of European Neolithisation had various and complex reasons: increased population, limited environmental resources, climate change etc.
The excavation project at Ilindentsi aims to seek more detailed answers of the following questions, which are important for Balkan and European Prehistory:
All participants will receive:
Period(s) of Occupation: Early and Middle Balkan Neolithic (6200 - 5500 B.C.E.)
Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: 1 session (two weeks)
Room and Board Arrangements
In rooms with two to four beds (air-conditioning, TV, bathrooms with shower and WC) in the Art Center Ilindentsi. There is also a washing machine available. Participants are not expected to bring any additional equipment, bedclothes or towels. The Art Center consists of: accommodation facilities, kitchen, dining hall, conference room, art gallery, garden and sculpture park. Three meals per day are covered by the admission fee. Requests for vegetarian food are accepted!
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