A team of archaeologists led by Corresponding Member Vassil Nikolov, Vice-President of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences discovered four Early Neolithic graves almost 8 000 years old in the village of Slatina in Sofia. Together with the two graves discovered last year, they are the earliest on the territory of Sofia and the Sofia plain. For the first time in the ritual complex, archaeologists have come across such extremely rare finds, explained Corr. Mem. Nikolov. These are skeletons of three adults and one child.

Excavations in the area have been going on for over 30 years, and the objects found so far show that the village was inhabited by farmers and cattle breeders. The settlement itself existed for about 500 years, from the end of the seventh to the middle of the sixth millennium BC. It is assumed that the civilization of Europe started from the Neolithic settlement in Slatina, said Corr. Mem. Vassil Nikolov and defined it as a cultural phenomenon.

The discovered graves are from the beginning of the sixth millennium, and very little is known about the rituals of this period. Probably there were also houses which unfortunately were destroyed, archaeologists suggest.

During the excavations, archaeologists from the National Archaeological Institute of BAS (NAIM) came across a double grave – most likely a man with a child next to him. The other remains are of a woman lying on her stomach and of a man who was laid very special – one of his hands remained under the skeleton. Anthropologists from the Institute of Experimental Morphology, Pathology and Anthropology of BAS (IEMPAM) are to continue their research in laboratory conditions. DNA analysis can show if there was kinship.

The work in Slatina is part of rescue archaeological excavations due to new housing construction. Among the new finds are objects such as ceramic vessels, loom weights, a furnace plug shaped like a human image, a vertebra for spindle and more.



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