Lead archaeologist Prof. Vasil Nikolov shows artifacts discovered in the Slatina Neolithic Settlment in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia at the presentation of the project for a museum park. Photo: Novinar daily
Bulgaria’s capital Sofia is going to build exact replicas of 8,000-year-old homes whose remains have been discovered in the Slatina Neolithic Settlement located in the city’s Slatina Quarter.
The project has been presented to the media by lead archaeologist Prof. Vasil Nikolov, who has been excavating and studying the Slatina Neolithic Settlement since 1985, and by Sofia Deputy Mayor Todor Chobanov.
“Apparently, the roots of the European civilization are connected with the Sofia Valley, and this has become a scientific fact," Nikolov has stated regarding the archaeologicalsignificance of the Slatina Neolithic Settlement, as quoted by the Novinar daily.
The lead archaeologist has also revealed that the latest data from radiocarbon dating indicates that the Early Neolithic settlement in Sofia is even older – it dates back to the end of the 7th millennium BC – whereas it was earlier dated to beginning of the 6th millennium BC, i.e. 6000-5500 BC.
One of the prehistorichomes to be rebuilt in the Bulgariancapital could have been one of Europe’s largest dwellings in the 6th millennium BC.
“Back in 1985, when I started the exploration in Slatina, I came across a very well preserved house with an area of 117 square meters – one of the largest for the 6th millennium BC. Our idea is to rebuild it in full so that the people can see something that cannot be seen anywhere else," Nikolov explains, as cited by the Monitor daily.
The excavations of the prehistoric settlement in Slatina, which was first found by accident by constructionworkers in 1950, had been terminated in 1997, and have been resumed in 2013.
The future Slatina Neolithic Settlement Park is expected to become a top attraction for recreational and cultural tourism located in one of the central quarters of the Bulgarian capital, according to Deputy Sofia Mayor Todor Chobanov. It will feature a visitor’s and children’s center.
“We are going to exhibit a Neolithichome under the leadership of Prof. Nikolov in order to guarantee its 100% authenticity. We have a very clear idea of what exactly the homes looked like. We have entire walls that have been preserved,"Chobanov says.
The archaeological excavations of the Slatina Neolithic Settlement are going to continue parallel to the restoration of the homes and the construction of the visitor’s center.
Unfortunately, some 90% of the total area of the Neolithic settlement was destroyed because of urban development projects back in the 1960s and 1970s.
Luckily, even the surviving 8 decares (app. 4 acres) of its territory harbor a great potential for further excavations. Learn more about the Slatina Neolithic Settlment in the Background Infonotes below.
Also check out this update about the Slatina Neolithic Settlment:
The 8,000-year-old Slatina Neolithic Settlement is located in the Slatina Quarter in Bulgaria’s capital Sofia.
It was discoveredby accident in 1950 by constructionworkers near the Shipchenski Prohod Blvd. During the first archaeologicalexcavations of the site in 1958, the archaeologists found remains from prehistoric homes, including clay-plastered poles, hearths, and ceramic vessels.
The prehistoricsettlementmound was found to be located on the left bank of the Slatinska River. At first, the settlement was dated back to the 3rd millennium BC.
However, new rescue excavations starting in 1985 revealed additional information, and based on the new data and more modern dating methods, in 1987, the settlement was dated to about 6000 BC, i.e. the Early Neolithic. Back then, the archaeologistsexcavated nine homes and discovered dozens of axes and clawhammers, flint knives, sickles, handmills, loom weights, as well as funerals of Neolithic people.
Thus, the SlatinaNeolithicSettlement is the earliest human settlement on the territory of the Bulgarian capital city ofSofia. It was settled in the Early Neolithic by people who came from AsiaMinor.
The Slatina Neolithic Settlement had a total territory of 80 decares (app. 20 acres). Unfortunately, during urban construction in the 1970s, most of it was destroyed, and today only 8 decares (app. 2 acres), have been preserved.
The Neolithic homes in Slatina were built of wattleplastered with clay. The ceilings were made of wood, and covered with straw or reed. The prehistoric people’s main food was wheat grown nearby; the archaeologists also found there 8,000-year-old lentils. The livestock was kept outside of the settlement.
The Slatina Neolithic homes had granaries inside them as well as kilns, cult (religious) hearths, and wooden beds. The materials used by the prehistoric people there include wood, clay, stone, flint, bone, and horns. Some of the clayvessels feature geometric motifs. One of the most interesting finds has been a part of a marblefigure of the MotherGoddess used for fertilityrituals.
The Slatina Neolithic Settlement in Bulgaria’s Sofia belongs to the first phase of the Neolithicperiod when the first agriculturalists and livestock breeders settled down in today’s Bulgaria. They came from Asia Minor to the Balkan Peninsula, gradually advancing from the south and southeast to the north, deeper into Europe.
Thus, similarNeolithicsettlements found in the Struma Valley in Southwest Bulgaria such as the Mursalevo Neolithic Settlement are about 50-100 years older than the Slatina settlement in Sofia.
The Slatina Neolithic Settlement was a large one and had contacts with all neighboring regions – it is believed that some ceramicvessels and other items were brought from today’s regions of Southern Bulgaria (Thrace), Southwest Bulgaria (the Struma Valley), Serbia, and Northwest Bulgaria.
The Stara Zagora Neolithic Dwellings Museumis part of the Stara Zagora Regional Museum of History. It features what are described as “Europe’s best preserved homes from the early Neolithic period". It is based on discoveries made at a Neolithic settlement in the western part of the city dating back to the 7th-6th millennium BC first excavated in 1969 during rescue digs. In addition to the best preserved in situ early Neolithic dwelling in Europe, the museum also features an exhibition of prehistoric art.