New Evidence on the LBA Mortuary Practices in South Bulgaria
construction or in the tumuli-layers – mostly decorated part of walls, rims and handles. It is worth to notice that only several LBA metal items have been found until now – a bronzedagger
, a bronze knife, beams and several awls. There is not gold jewellery at all, only ‘con-servative’ as style pottery vessels with parallels encompassing East Macedonia and Thassos(Kisyov 1989:41-48). No settlement has been excavated
and the investigations of the tracesof old mining activities are very scanty yet. On the other side, the excavations at highland-sites identified as rock- and peak sanctuaries, are usually of limited scale, and no one triesto correlate their insufficient materials whit those coming from the graves.In general, the investigators of the West Rhodopes LBA culture created a
of a peo-ple living in a coherent but simple society with very strong traditions preferring the isola-tion as opposed to their southern neighbours. The ‘highlanders’ should have steady tradi-tions in supplying strategies and trade obviously, has never been the preferable economicactivity for them.
, the items under discussion could be interpreted in oppositedirection as we can see at the end of the report.
All the artefacts bear traces of secondary firing, well visible by the autopsy. The damages were caused most probably by the funeral fire. As it was already pointed out, it is not as-certained that all pieces are known to the museum keepers at present – for instance thedouble axe is a part of a private collection in Sofia. Nevertheless, according to the avail-able information it is possible to divide the grave goods into following groups:
III.1. Pottery vessels.
III.1.1. Kantharos No.1 (Fig. 3).
The fabric is semi-coarse, there is no decoration except the simple incised line, which un-derlines the transition between the shoulders and the neck of the vessel. Initially the baseends with a high pedestal, melt down by the pyre (Fig. 3). This is a popular type of vesselknown in vast territory of the Balkans and dated to the LBA in general.
III.1.2. Kantharos No.2 (Fig. 4).
This vessel is similar in shape and dimensions, but the entire body is densely covered by fine incised lines forming different motives (Fig 4). The base is also damaged by the fire;and as it could be seen from the traces there should also have been a pedestal below it.The ornamentation has got local features typical for the western part of the Rhodopes.Patterns in similar technique are rare for the Eastern Rhodope region and occur as im-ports in Upper Thrace.
The dagger from Trigrad is kept in Smolyan Museum, Inv, No. 1409.
There is a primary information of small dispersed settlements – some kind of small villages similar to the unit ‘mahala’ from the time of Bulgarian Revival, which are situated on high plateaus or on the south slopes of thepeaks above 1200-1500 m altitude. In 2005 we had the chance to excavate a house belonging to this kind of vil-lages which publication is forthcoming.