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30 November 2016
Copper Age human bone amulet discovered in Bulgaria

A team of researchers from Sofia University (Bulgaria) have been excavating a known Chalcolithic Settlement on the edge of Kaleshkovo, in the Southeast of the country.
     A study of the necropolis shows evidence of respectful burials, but curiously, with parts of the cranium removed. Also found were round amulets, which were made from the top front of the skulls. These amulets had been carefully crafted, with a central hole, suggesting that they were hung around the neck.
     So why were they made? It is possible that the practice is a parallel with a known and documented ritual carried out by Native Americans, to remove part of the scalp is to steal the enemy's power, or it may simply have been a very personal way of maintaining a form of contact with a departed loved one. But this settlement had more secrets to reveal.
     Further excavations uncovered a wealth of pottery. The team leader, Associate Professor Petya Georgieva, is quoted as saying "What's interesting about the Kozareva Mogila settlement is that it was probably a pottery production centre. This shows that a very simple local production such as pottery making was already included in exchange. The Late Aenolithic is a time when the structure of society changed, it became more complex, ceramics trade started. This shows a societal shift because it is normal to trade with rare goods, whereas clay is found everywhere, and if I am asked if this was a society on the threshold of civilisation, the answer is positive".

Edited from Archaeology in Bulgaria (18 October 2016)

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