by Bogdan Athanassov, Raiko Krauß and Vladimir Slavčev
(26 March 2012)
A sword of Aegean type, until now the best parallel of the Aššuwa-sword, was given to the Archaeological Museum in Varna, Bulgaria. The following text deals with the chronological and typological position of the new find. The question of its origin evokes reflections about the possible forms of exchange between Northwestern Anatolia and the Balkans during the second millennium BC.
The site is located along the route of the “Trakia” Highway and administratively belongs to the village of Vratitsa, municipality of Kameno. It is situated in the field called Aladinova Chesma (Aladin’s Fountain), 1.5 km northeast of the village. This is an area of low hills and the region is well watered. In geographical terms, this area is part of the Burgas Plain, which forms a region on its own within the Black Sea climatic sub-zone. The site occupies a gentle slope facing south-southwest and is situated at the western edge of the plain where the southern terrace of the Karnobat Hills starts.
The Lofkënd burial tumulus in the Mallakaster region of Albania, jointly excavated by a team from the Cotsen Institute of Archaeology at UCLA and the Albanian Institute of Archaeology in Tiranë over four seasons (2004-2007), revealed 85 ancient and 15 modern burials, containing a total of over 150 individuals. On the basis of the vertical and horizontal stratification of the tombs, together with secure AMS 14C radiocarbon dates from human bone and charcoal, the Lofkënd burials can be dated to the period from the 14th to the 9th centuries B.C.
The study of similarities and dissimilarities in material culture is the essential basis upon which the Culture-Historical approach to archaeology rests. In Central and Eastern European Archaeology concepts derived from this tradition are still very dominant, while it has been largely abandoned in Anglo-Saxon Archaeology. Yet alternatives for the study of the spatial stylistic variation in material culture have not been properly developed, despite the promising start made by D. L. Clarke in his work “Analytical Archaeology”. In consequence, we still have to live with spatial archaeological units of classification – our traditional “Archaeological Cultures”, which are poorly defined and heavily biased by outdated concepts about ethnicity.
This contribution concerns the pottery type known as “Mainland Polychrome Matt-painted” that makes its appearance at the dawn of the Late Bronze Age. The term was first used by D. and E. French. Here an intra-ceramic approach is developed, based mostly on the main attributes of the pottery.
During the rescue excavations of a tumulus close to the village Ovchartsi, southeastern Bulgaria, a burial of ca. 65-year old woman with rich golden and bronze grave goods and a unique wheel-made vessel of unusual shape and painted decoration was discovered. The tumulus lies in the so-called Maritsa Iztok (Eastern Maritsa) region (Fig. 1). This region is one of the most intensively researched areas in Bulgaria, due to numerous archaeological rescue excavations, necessitated by the fact that whole stretches of landscape and archaeological monuments have been systematically destroyed since the 1960s by open charcoal mines.
Information on illegal digging led to the discovery of archaeological sites reported in the present publication. Clandestine and destructive activities left their traces at a number of sites in the vicinity of the city of Kateríni north of Mount Olympus, a region which is characterised by low hills and known to the local population under the name of Adhrianós. Discovered were two cemeteries of historical times, probably of Classical or Hellenistic date, as well as an Early Iron Age cemetery and a settlement site Kastro with EBA, EIA and Late Archaic to Hellenistic occupation. Interesting finds yielded especially the Early Iron Age levels.
In the last decades the research interest in the study of pre-Mycenaean contacts of the Aegean region with the geographical zones to the north and west has considerably diminished. While until the early 1970ies there was still much debate going on about aspects like the northern links of cord-decorated pottery or of the origin of the tumuli in Greece, already ten years later such subjects and the whole problem of possible Balkan connections of the earlier parts of the Aegean Bronze Age had almost disappeared as research topics of Aegean Archaeology. The question arises why this was the case.
by Robert Hofmann, Zilka Kujundžić-Vejzagić, Johannes Müller, Nils Müller-Scheeßel, Knut Rassmann
(11 April 2008)
This paper gives a summary of the aims, strategies and results of an interdisciplinary Bosnian-German research project which has been carrying out intensive fieldwork since 2002. Within the geographically clearly delimited Visoko Basin in central Bosnia it concentrates on questions concerning the development of the settlement system, the economy, the social organisation, the demography as well as the supra-regional exchange and communication network of the Late Neolithic. The fieldwork focuses on large scale excavations within the settlement mound Okolište. The latter comes into question as a central place because of its extraordinary size and the existence of an extensive fortification system. Although the spatial organisation of the settlement indicates a surprisingly high population, the reasons for this concentration of people are not identifiable, yet. However, it is clear that the disintegration of the settlement started soon after its establishment.
The search for the northern frontier of the Mycenaean world has a long history in Mycenaean studies. The starting point for my present investigation was offered by my study of Mycenaean seals and sealings. Seals made of various materials come from all over of Mycenaean Greece. Apart from the core areas of the Argolid, Messenia and Boeotia they have been found also in the area of western, central and northern Greece up to the mountain Olympos. These include golden signet rings with figural illustrations and hard stone seals which were made of semi-precious stones; glass was either engraved or pressed in moulds to produce seals, and finally seals were made of less valuable materials such as soft stones like steatite. Material, style and shapes link all those different categories of seals from all parts of the Greek mainland.
In a wide diachronic perspective the Bell Beakers are the end of a sequence of cultural phenomena that can be termed as supra-regional systems of expansion, being interpreted as ideologically motivated. Starting from the central and northern part of the European continent they gradually spread to its West and the fringes. This particular chapter of Europe's history begins in the middle of the fourth millennium BC in shape of the Cernavoda III-Boleráz and subsequent Baden sequence, proceeding – temporarily slightly offset – north of the Carpathians represented by the Globular Amphora culture, to reach its first height around 2800/2700 BC with the emergence of the Corded Ware / Single Grave cultures. The appearance of the latter is embedded in a trans-European process of transformation that from 2900 BC on shatters the previous existing material, social and economical foundations.
The aim of this project is to undertake the first systematic scientific research on the prehistory of the Ephesos region. It is precisely the geographical location of Ephesos, in an area with rivers serving as means of communication into the hinterland and with a connection to the Aegean through its coastal location, which presents an immense research potential regarding questions concerning its development in prehistoric times. Furthermore, questions about its cultural and topographical origins are also significant for the micro-region of the area and constitute an important contribution to the understanding of the diachronic development of a settlement from the prehistoric epoch up to modern times.
The term mattpainted pottery was first used by A. Furtwängler and G. Loeschke in their classification of pottery from Grave Circle A in Mycenae. It quickly gained wide use in research as the designation for a category of pottery with dull, lustreless, that is, ‘matt’ painting. In the course of time different chronological and technological appearances accumulated under this very flexible nomen. The spectrum ranges from the wheel-made and handmade polychrome ware of Middle Helladic southern Greece, to handmade pottery of the Late Bronze Age – with bichrome and monochrome ware in West Macedonia and monochrome ware in Central Macedonia – and the Iron Age phenomenon of mattpainted handmade pottery in Epirus and Albania.
The settlement of Angelochori is situated in the northern part of the prefecture of Imathia, about 100 km. west of Thessaloniki. Systematic excavation of the site, carried out by the 17th Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiquities, began in 1994; at the same time, a non-systematic surface survey was conducted in the surrounding area. This is the only Late Bronze Age settlement in western Macedonia to have been excavated in extent, making it possible to draw conclusions regarding its settlement phases, organization of habitation-areas, economy, and technology. Beginning in 2000, the excavation was included in a research program (the “Angelochori Project”), funded by the Shelby White-Leon Levy Program for Archaeological Publications.
Aiani is located approximately 20 km south of the city of Kozani, in western Macedonia. Aiani thus laid within the region of the ancient kingdom of Elimeia, which together with the other Greek kingdoms of Tymphaia, Orestis, Lyncestis, Eordaia and Pelagonia constituted the ancient Upper (i.e. mountainous) Macedonia. Systematic excavation research in Aiani, which began in 1983, has revealed the architectural remains of large and small buildings, rich in small finds, as well as groups of graves and organized cemeteries dating from the Prehistoric to the Late Hellenistic periods. The Late Bronze Age in Upper Macedonia is marked by the appearance of Mycenaean finds, together with the appearance and spread of matt-painted pottery.
Fine wheel-made (or handmade) burnished grey wares keep occurring in and around the Aegean area throughout the second millennium, but also in the preceding third and in the following first millennium B.C. What may (or may not) be just a coincidence, has often been interpreted as evidence for something: movement of people, development of culture, chronological cross-links. Whereas in some cases it is clear that grey and grey is not always the same, there are other instances, which have kept archaeological discourse busy for well over a century now.
This contribution intends to present a kind of entrée into the study of Aegean and Anatolian grey wares, on the background of the history of research, with an open eye also to the neighbouring regions, such as Bulgaria, Georgia and the Levant. Grey wares have received only a few monothematic studies and were mostly dealt with site by site, along with other types of pottery.
Wheel-made Grey Ware of the Early Iron Age (EIA) in Macedonia is a pottery category well-known to archaeologists working in the region. Other scholars may not be very be familiar with it, as it has never been treated in an exhaustive study exclusively devoted to this topic. Now, stratified finds from recent excavations enable a reassessment of the old problem concerning the derivation of this pottery category. While the class might have been first noted by Hubert Schmidt, it was defined for the first time by Stanley Casson, a British archaeologist who during World War I had worked in areas of Central Macedonia held by the Entente troops. His excavations in the Early Iron Age necropolis of Chauchitsa brought to light several examples of the type fossil of this Macedonian pottery class: a one-handled carinated cup with a high-swung handle.
The necropolis and the ritual structures are situated 2 km southeast of the village of Dubene, Karlovo region, between the Stara Planina and the Sredna Gora mountains in southern Bulgaria. The necropolis encompasses at least nine separate mounds, four of which are smaller and lower and five are larger and higher. The larger mounds reach 25 m in diameter and 2.70 m in height. The lower mounds, situated among the high ones, differ in diameter, ranging from 5.50 m to 14.50 m, while their height reaches 25cm above the surrounding terrain. The mounds should be dated to the third stage of the Early Bronze Age (Early Bronze Age III) in Thrace in the Bulgarian periodisation, that is, the late third millennium BC. A settlement was located 400 m southwest of the necropolis and the structures; it was inhabited continuously during the Early Bronze Age. Thus, the necropolis is likely related to it.
Interest in Grey Wares on Crete increased over the past years thanks to new finds and contributions, which have provided an occasion for an update on pottery imported from outside Crete and also on wheel-made grey ware. Recent overviews have also expanded the list of the LM III evidence to some extent. As this overview will show, the data have not increased in recent years, with the exception of Kommos and Chania; on the contrary, most of the information comes from old excavations and publications, from a time when both the identification and terminology of this ware were far from being easily recognizable (i.e. the use of term bucchero).
The excavations carried out till now were all concentrated in the fortified part on the highest peak of Dragoyna where an area of about 450 sq.m. was excavated. The site was inhabited, probably uninterrupted, from the Late Bronze Age till the Early Hellenistic Period. The peak was first occupied at the beginning of the Late Bronze Age (17-16th c. BC), as few sherds belong to vessels with a form and decoration typical for the late phases of the Early Bronze Age cultures in Thrace.