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25 September 2015
'Dancing Priestess' figurine discovered in Bulgaria

A 7,500-year-old Neolithic clay figurine of what has been described as a 'dancing priestess' has been discovered by archaeologists during excavations of a settlement near the town of Varbitsa, in northeast Bulgaria. The settlement has a total area of 1.3 hectares, existed for about 300 years during the Neolithic period, and features archaeological layers from different time periods.
     The female figurine is seen as especially intriguing because of its detailed features.
     "The archaeological material has surpassed our expectations. We have found two cultural layers. The earlier one is from the Neolithic, and the later one is from the Roman Age," says Dr Svetlana Venelinova, deputy head of the archaeological team excavating the settlement.
     The intriguing female figurine has been described as depicting a young woman whose facial features show religious exultation while performing a ritual dedicated to the Mother Goddess and the cult of fertility. The detailed features of the figurine lead the archaeologists to believe that the woman in question was the priestess of the settlement.
     Another interesting find is a fragment of a ceramic vessel for grain with a relief depiction of a young woman in a praying pose. This is said to be the earliest known depiction of this kind, and appears to be connected with the cult for the harvesting and preservation of the crops.

Edited from Archaeology in Bulgaria (2 August 2015)

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