31From the Ovče Pole region the crucial culture group of Anzabegovo is very promising, but still enigmatic from a lithicpoint of view. However the researcher, Elster mentioned thatamong the implements there was “honey-brown flint appearingto be similar to well known eastern European flint with noknown local source” (Elster, 1977, 161).The Iron Gates region will be also mentioned on the basis of Borić’s assessment on the lithic industries underlying “…ageneral trend toward the laminarization of blades and the useof steep retouch, as well as a tendency to use good quality rawmaterial of attractive appearance, such as yellow-spotted flintfrom pre-Balkan platform that most likely originated in theregion of Shumen in North-East Bulgaria” (Borić, 2005, 19).According to Kozłowski, the tardif phase of Golocut(Voyvodina) offers some dozen implements of yellow flint fromthe Pre-Balkan platform; the drawings of some implementsfrom the site confirm the typological similarity with the formaltools discussed in this paper (Kozłowski, 1982, 150, Figs. 11-12). The same author concludes that in the area of the Körös-Criş culture there are retouched blades and unretouched sicklesegments made of yellow imported flint – as a result of directdiffusion from the Balkans (Kozłowski, 1982, 154). In theSoutheast there is undeniable evidence of penetration of formal tools of Karanovo I aspect in Hoca Çeşme phase II(Gatsov, 2000; 2005).Comparative evidence from the Romanian Early Neolithicflint assemblages is very limited and the distribution of “yellow-spotted” raw material and items in this direction is still to beadequately documented, although Bonsall has reported thepresence of Balkan flint artefacts in Criş culture contexts atSchela Cladovei on the left bank of the Danube, a few kmdownstream from the Iron Gates gorge (Bonsall, 2003; 2008).As a concluding remark it should be stressed that no specialstudy elucidating the scale and intensity of the circulation andspread of yellow-spotted flint artefacts has been undertaken.The reasons are many, the most important being the scarcityof publications with relevant and detailed information aboutEarly Neolithic flint assemblages among which these formaltoolkits are detectable. This applies particularly to someemblematic sites adjacent to Bulgarian lands and culturalareas.
Raw material for the toolkits: where from?
How should we summarize our knowledge of the rawmaterial parameters of Early Neolithic assemblages and, inparticular, their formal toolkits? It has already been mentionedthat foreign specialists have drawn attention to the high qualityand yellow-honey-waxy colour of a particular raw material,originating from North-Еast Bulgaria (Pre-Balkan platform) andits spread across the region. One study fixed the provenancein the vicinity of Shumen (Voytek, 1987).At local scale the research has gone more slowly. Therehave been some sporadic studies of cryptocrystalline siliceousrocks ‘flint” over the past three decades. The first archaeologistto show the abundance and variety of the flint sources fromNorth-Еast Bulgaria, who also tried to establish a database anda link of the identified flint outcrops to prehistoric artefacts andtheir circulation, was Kanchev (1978; Kanchev et al., 1981).In his publication Gatsov (1993) presumed North-westBulgaria to be the region of provenance of the raw materialused for Early Neolithic assemblages from Western Bulgaria(
). At the same time, Skakun noticed that “certainspecimens are probably made of Dobrudzha flint”. On thebasis of her deep knowledge of North-East Bulgarian flintassemblages both from the Neolithic and Chalcolithic, sheconceived this fact rather as accidental emphasizing that theexploitation of Dobrudzha flint started no earlier than theChalcolithic (Skakun, 1993, 54). She had already reached thesame conclusion about a dozen implements from the ‘bighouse’ of Slatina (Skakun, 1992, 102).There are two general types of flint recognised among theassemblages from the Tells Karanovo and Azmak. Theinvestigation was done by V. Kurčatov who suggested that theabundance of artefacts was due to the proximity of localoutcrops and identified them (more theoretically than actually)in the region of the Sveti Ilia Hills in Eastern Thrace, not veryfar from the tells (Gatsov, Kurčatov, 1997, 215). Thisassumption has been quoted repeatedly, but never substantiated by further serious research. In fact, it could beconsidered as disproved.Preliminary research on a series from Yabalkovo has ledZlateva-Usunova to reveal that “…the predominant rawmaterial with identified origin comes from deposits in the Upper Thrace, the Sredna Gora, North (understand Western) Bulgariaand the Eastern Rhodopes” (Leshtakov et al., 2007, 201). Infact, the first to presume, somewhat theoretically, a north-eastern provenance for the raw material used for the Neolithicbig blades was Tsonev. He did this in the context of his theoryabout the role of long blades in “communal perception of longdistance exchange through common metaphors” (Tsonev,2004, 262).The research initiated by the present author (M. Gurova), incollaboration with the mineralogist Ch. Nachev, comprisesanalysis of archaeological artefacts from the sites of Karanovo,Kovačevo, Rakitovo, Yabalkovo and Dzhuljunitsa and differentflint outcrops from the country in order to identify theprovenance of the formal Early Neolithic toolkits raw material.Microscopic and comparative analyses of thin sections fromthe mentioned materials are in progress (Figs. 3, 4).
Fig. 3. Cryptocrystalline chalcedony and micro fauna filled with micro-crystalline chalcedony – blade fragment, archaeological site Rakitovo,sample N582; possible source – Upper Cretaceous (Moesian flint);transmitted light, crossed polars