Varna Necropolis

Hello all. Today let’s see some of the details about the Necropolis (Cemetery) of Varna.

Necropolis Research

In comparison with the necropolis researched and dated at the same time as this one, the burial appurtenances in the Varna necropolis are in a quantity and variety so far unknown. The gold finds stand out among them. They are more than 3000 in number and they weigh more than six kilog-rams. This excels all the gold finds of that epoch discovered so far throughout the world. Jewelry and other objects related to rituals, such as sceptres, diadems, zoomor- phic lamellae, and pectorals among other things, predominante. Altogether there are about 38 different types and varieties: beads, rings, appliques, amulets, platings, bracelets, zoomorphic figures, etc. – all generalized and in the emphatically geometrical forms which were characteristic of the style of art at that time.

Copper finds likewise hold an important place. Tools prevail – massive axes, hammers chisels and wedges, while ornamental things, such as bracelets and rings are very few. The number of flint finds is considerable. They are of sizes unknown in other settlements and necropolises: some of the lamellae are 44 cm long. This makes them unusable in practice, something which has also been confirmed in research work. Of interest among the finds of stone and minerals are the quartz beads for the polishing of which the craftsmen had to have great de- xtrity and professional skill. Shells of the Dentalium, a Mediterranean molusc, are abundant – more than 20,000. Several hundred finds of things made for ornamentation are from another Mediterranean mollusc – Spondylius.

Beautiful bracelets and a large variety of beads and appliques are made of it. Earthenware vessels are of particular interest. They are found in almost every grave, one or two most frequently, but occasionally even eight. What is more important is that the vessels are very poorly baked and sometimes even dried, although there are some which are well baked. Besides the conventional and well- known forms, there have been found vessels of diminished sizes for liquid or food. Among the finds there are two unique earthenware vessels – a small bowl and a large tray. They are decorated with geometrical designs, full of gold. They are the only intact vessels of that epoch which have been found so far.

The discovery of the Varna Necropolis

The discovery of the Varna Necropolis raises the question of a re-survey of the issue of the place and time of the first European civilization. According to the results of the researches so far into the Neolithic and Copper-Stone (Chalcolithic) Ages in Bulgaria in the sixth and fifth millennia BC, it is obvious that in the present-day Bulgarian lands a local agrarian and animal husbandry culture emerged and developed at that time. The symbols of authority, listed above, have also changed the ideas about the pre-historic society, which has so far been considered to have been classless. The relations of this culture with other religions were sporadic at the beginning, but were abruptly intensified with the mastering of copper and gold metallurgies.

A place of their own is taken by the find of the research team, headed by the Russian archaeologist Chernikh. In the second half of the Chal- colithic era (the time of the Varna Necropolis) about 30,000 tons of ore were excavated in the region of the town of Stara Zag- ora (South Bulgaria). Some 500-1000 tons of copper would have been obtained from that quantity – a proof of the lively metal-lurgical activities on the Balkan Peninsula.

The spectral analysis of the copper indicates that finds of copper, like those obtained in the Bulgarian lands, were also found in the central reaches of the Dniester River (the Ukraine) and as far as the town of Saratov on the Volga (Russia). This shows the extremely vast scope of the occurrence of copper and the wide-reaching contacts of those who exploited it. Probably this was the result of brisk commercial activities in nearby and distant lands.