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6 July 2015
Chalcolithic flint workshop found in Bulgaria

An immense flint tool workshop dating to the Late Chalcolithic has been discovered by Bulgarian archaeologists during excavations of a settlement mound near the town of Kamenovo, in Northeast Bulgaria. The archaeologists started with the aim of excavating part of a Chalcolithic necropolis.
     The excavations covered an area of 70 square metres, with a single archaeological layer averaging 60 centimetres consisting of a black sediment mixed with fragments from ceramic vessels and a vast amount of flint, including raw materials, unfinished, and completed tools.
     The team believe the workshop began production during the Early Chalcolithic, within a settlement mound dating to 4,800 BCE, and later - between 4,500 and 4,200 BCE - expanded to produce flint tools for the entire southern part of the Balkan Peninsula.
     Many flint tools discovered in the known prehistoric settlements in Bulgaria are now believed to have originated precisely in the flint workshop in Kamenovo.
     Additional finds such as zoomorphic and anthropomorphic items, loom weights, cult artefacts, bone needles, and small fragments of plaster are all construed as evidence for the existence of a prehistoric settlement beyond the settlement mound.
     The excavations are due to continue in September with funding from Bulgaria's Ministry of Culture, and be expanded to include the grounds of a former school in the town whose construction in 1910 led to the discovery of a number of graves from the Late Chalcolithic.
     The archaeologists have yet to establish the precise extent and dating for the settlement, its flint workshop, and necropolis.
     The existence of the settlement was first recorded at the end of the 19th century. In 2000, the site was studied by French archaeologists who hypothesised that it had been the location of "workshops for prestigious flint tools", based on the tools having only been found in higher status graves - some of the earliest instances of social stratification in human history.

Edited from Archaeology in Bulgaria (23 June 2015)

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