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7 June 2011
Prototype of European towns unearthed in Bulgaria

Bulgarian archaeologists discovered what they believe to be the oldest town in Europe. Dubbed a 'proto-town', the site is located near the town of Pazardzhic, in the center of the country.
    In 2008 the team of archaeologist Yasen Boyadzhiev found in the area a large ancient graveyard, which became known under the current name of the area, Yunatsite (The Heroes). Later the excavations were extended and recently the researchers announced they have found a surprisingly large settlement, which during 4700-4600 BCE spread over 100,000 square metres.
    The site does have all the features of an urban center, Yasen Boyadzhiev was quoted to say. His team discovered vast fortified walls - one wall five meters wide and at least five meters tall - a ditch and then another defence wall, all running along each other.
    The citadel was only the highest part of the settlement, and beyond its walls the buildings continued. Within the walls the archaeologist discovered not only houses, but also what was apparently workshop centers.
    Settlements of this scale and planning were found only in urban centres of much later periods, such as classical antiquity. "Our conclusion would be that the urban planning, as we know it in Medeaval Europe, already existed at least several thousand years earlier," Yasen Boyadzhiev said.

Edited from Balkan Travellers (4 June 2011)

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