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Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria

A prehistoric cult complex dating back 7,500 years has been unearthed in Bulgaria. Researchers have described the Palaeolithic settlement as including 'possibly Prehistoric Europe's largest stone building'.

Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria
Aerial view of the 7,500-year-old cult complex on Durankulak Lake, in the 
North East of Bulgaria [Credit: Impact Press Group/WENN.com]
The building once covered an area of over 2,153 square feet (200 square metres) - larger than a singles match tennis court - although archaeologists suspect the building had two floors, meaning it could be closer to 4,306 square feet (400 square metres).

The remains of the settlement, which is thought to have collapsed due to an earthquake, were uncovered on the 'big island' of Durankulak Lake, a 1.3 square mile (3.4 square km) lagoon in the north east of Bulgaria.

Excavations at the site, known as 'Dobrudzha Troy' started in the 1970s when artefacts dating back to around 10,000 BC were discovered, along with evidence of the Neolithic settlement, local Bulgarian sources reported.

Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria
Excavations at the site, known as ‘Dobrudzha Troy’, started in the 1970s when 
artefacts dating back to around 10,000 BC were discovered along with walls 
[Credit: Impact Press Group/WENN.com]
However, this summer, archaeologists unearthed a huge building containing a kiln, which they believe was used for around 80 years.

Built in the Chalcolithic, or copper age, the building is thought to have later collapsed as the result of an earthquake.

Petar Zidarov, an archaeologist from New Bulgarian University in Sofia told Bulgarian National Television: 'The challenge we are now facing is to reveal the sequence of the layers, or the stages of life, in one of the most monumental buildings ever in prehistoric Europe.'

Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria
The remains of the buildings make up what is thought to be Europe's first stone city, 
which was built in around 5,500BC when the Neolithic Hamangia-Durankulak Culture
was dominant [Credit: Impact Press Group/WENN.com]
It is possible the huge building had two floors.

Speaking about technology at the time, he added: 'The people who lived in this place were not just excellent builders but they were also among the first people in the world who started to smelt metals such as native copper and native gold, to forge jewels out of them, and to trade with them as far as the Mediterranean coast.'

The team also discovered a building nearby with cult objects. The remains of the buildings make up what is thought to be Europe's first stone city, which was built in around 5,500BC when the Neolithic Hamangia-Durankulak Culture was dominant.

Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria
The stone buildings are thought to have collapsed due to an earthquake 
[Credit: Impact Press Group/WENN.com]
Finds at the site range from the Palaeolithic Age, 10,000 years ago to the Middle Ages. Prehistoric remains date from the first sedentary agricultural culture in Europe, which created Europe's first stone buildings.

'The people who lived in this place were not just excellent builders but they were also among the first people in the world who started to smelt metals such as native copper and native gold, to forge jewels out of them, and to trade with them as far as the Mediterranean coast,' Zidarov adds.

Stone Age cult complex unearthed in Bulgaria
This summer, archaeologists unearthed a huge building containing a kiln, which 
they believe was used for around 80 years. Pictured here is a cult figurine
 discovered at the site [Credit: BNT]
Archaeologists have previously found what is believed to be the world's largest Palaeolithic-Neolithic necropolis at the site, containing traces of around 1,400 graves as old as 5,300BC.

Author: Sarah Griffiths | Source: Daily Mail Online [September 26, 2015]
TANN

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