The Site of Kovacevo and the Beginnings of the Neolithic Period in Southwestern Bulgaria

The French-Bulgarian excavations 1986-2000'

Marion LICHARDUS-ITIEN, Jean-Paul DEMOULE (Paris), Liljana PERNICEVA Malgorzata GREBSKA-KULOV A and Ilija KULOV (Blagoevgrad)


1 Introduction l.l The project The framework for the Kovacevo? excavations is an Agreement between the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (C.N.R.S.), the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences and the Blagoevgrad Historical Museum'. Since 1986 fourteen excavation campaigns and one study campaign (1991) have been undertaken, each lasting about two months'. The research project was designed to study a site belonging to the earliest European Neolithic, situated in a key region as regards possible routes for the neolithization of southeastern Europe. The choice of this site, at Kovacevo in the middle valley of the Struma (Strymon) on the south-western edge of Bulgaria, corresponded to' three objectives: I. to study a site dating to the earliest period of the Neolithic in Europe, well known, but crucial in surface area, but also

'2. to carry out this research in a region which was not previously for possible neolithization routes, and 3. to undertake an excavation that would not only be extensive



We would like to express our special gratitude to our friend and collcgue, Michael lLETT, who agreed to translate this text from French into English language. For the transcription of names in Bulgarian and Cyrillic the Kovacevo project employs the transliteration system recommended by the "Organisation Internationale de Standardisation" (OlS-R9). This system is systematically applied to the Slavonic names mentioned in the text. In the bibliography however the transcriptions used by the authors have been maintained. The excavations are carried out under the responsability, on the French side, of J.-P. Demoule and M. Lichardus-Itten (University of Paris I and UMR 7041 of the C.N.R.S.; and on the Bulgarian side of R. Katincarov, then V. Nikolov and L. Perniceva for the Archaeological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and of I. Kulov and M. Grebska-Kulova for the Blagoevgrad Historical Museum. The authors thank these different institutions and their staff for their active support, in particular L Jovkov, R. Vassiliev, E. Georgieva and K. Grancarova for the Blagoevgrad Historical Museum. and Ph. Guillemin et Y. Saint-Geours for the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs. They would also like to thank. on several accounts, Prof. A. Fol (University of Sofia), the late Prof. V. Velkov, vice-President of the Academy of Sciences, as well as Mrs 1. Jurukova, director of the Archaeological Institute of the Academy of Sciences, Messrs D. Viart, V. Grirnaud, B. Texier and S. Plouhinec (Cultural Councillors at the French Embassy in Sofia), and the municipal authorities of Sandanski, Katunci and Kovacevo,


precise in methods 1.2 The research

of recording problem

and analysis'.

As well as explaining the absence of sites of the period in question, this observation casts doubt on a certain number of hypotheses which have already been expressed about possible (or impossible) landing points on the Aegean coast (Nikolov 1989, map I). 1.3 State of research in the Struma valley For reasons due both to the history of research and to geopolitics, the middle and lower valley of the Struma has for long been an archaeological desert, especially since, contrary to all the neighbouring regions, there are no "tells", a type of site which is both easier to identify and more favourable for constructing chrono-cultural frameworks. In his 1948 synthesis, James Harvey Gaul just mentions four sites of his "West Bulgarian Painted Culture", known only from 'surface finds and all located in the northern part of the valley: Sveti Bogorodica (today Priboj), Lagitenjuvo (today Nevestino), Kara Bujuk (parish of Dupnica), and Kodza Dermen (parish of Mursalevo) (Gaul 1948, map 2, p. 13). Thirty years later, the situation in the southern and middle Struma valley is more or less identical, for all periods of the Neolithic and Cha1colithic (Todorova 1981; Nikolov 1989, fig. I) and for later prehistory in general. It was only in the early 1980s, following a Bulgarian-Polish project survey, that the first test excavations took place on several sites in the Struma, dating from the Early Neolithic to the Iron Age, and that an ment pattern by period could be outlined (Sliwa/Dornaradzki 1983). Early Neolithic site to have been discovered was Kovacevo. involving systematic southern valley of the initial study of settleNonetheless, the 'only "~

While the neolithization of Europe clearly results from a process of agricultural colonization from the Near East, the regions situated immediately to the north of the Aegean Sea are still, curiously, amongst those where the Early Neolithic is the least well known. There are at present only two sites of this period in European Turkey, Hoca Cesrne at the mouth of the Marica (Evros, Marie) (Ozdogan et al. 1991, p. 8; 1993), and Asagi Pinar, near Kirklareli (Parzinger/Ozdogan 1995), currently under excavation. In Greece, Thrace and eastern and central Macedonia have produced no sites, with the possible exceptions of surface finds of a few sherds from Tumba, near Serres (Grammenos and Fotiadis 1980; Grammenos 1984; Koukouli-Chrysanthaki et alii. 1995), an insignificant material of Early Neolithic aspect from rescue excavations in the city of Thessaloniki", and a fragment of white-on-red painted pottery from the Dikili Tash excavations (Deshayes 1970, fig. 19). While this blank cou ld be real, it relates more to the state of research and above all to major landscape changes (marine transgression, erosion, alluvial deposition etc.) (Lichardus-Itten 1993 a and b). In western Greek Macedonia, the only Early Neolithic sites are Nea Nikomedeia (Pyke 1996; Yiouni 1996) and the more recently discovered sites of Giannitsa B (Chrysostomou 1992; 1994; 1997a and b; Chrysostomou and Chrysostomou 1993) and Axos (Chrysostomou 1994, p. 117), to which can be added some evidence from survey currently being undertaken in the Ptolemais basin and the plain of Florina, Apart from the Marica and the Mesta, two major communication routes link the north Aegean littoral and the interior of the Balkans. The first is the Vardar (Axios) valley and the second the Struma (Strymon) valley. However, the geological and topographic changes which have notably affected the southern parts of these valleys and the mouths of these rivers must be taken into consideration when estimating their importance as major routes at the beginning of the Neolithic. In fact there is already a considerable aniount of evidence (cores, trenches) indicating that, during the Early Neolithic, two large marine gulfs occupied the southern plains across which the two rivers flow today (cf. map in Rodden 1962, p. 287).

Shortly after the discovery of this site, two preliminary sondages each covering 30 m2 were carried out by Lilijana Perniceva in 1981, to confirm the dating and determine the stratigraphy (Pernitcheva 1990). They showed in particular that, contrary to the general situation, the Early Neolithic layers, which were up to 2 m thick, were directly accessible beneath the topsoil. • . Thus it is both the strategic nature of the Struma valley as regards neolithization processes, and the rarity of excavation and available information, that from the start orientated the directors of the current project to this region, and more specifically to the site of Kovacevo, as part of wider research into the neolithization of Europe. In fact this site is still relatively isolated (Fig. I). The nearest Early Neolithic sites are 180 km away as the crow tlies, for Nea Nikornedeia and Giannitsa, 240 km for Hoca Cesme and 80 km for the Ovce Pole sites. In the Struma valley, the nearest site is Brezani, 60 km to the north (Grebska-Kulowa 1998), while one can also mention the partly unpublished excavations at Elesnica (Nikolov/Maslarov 1987; Tao 2000) and Dobriniste (Nikolov/Radeva 1992) in the Mesta valley, and at Rakitovo on the other, northern side of the western Rhodops (Macanova 2000; ibid. this volume).

5 The present team includes, apart from the archaeologists mentioned, the following specialists: R.-M. Arbogast (C.N.R.S., zoology), J.-F. Berger (C.N.R.S., sedimentology), J.-L. Broehier (C.N.R.S., sedimentology), J. Evin (University of Lyon, radiocarbon dating), M. Gurova (Archaeological Institute Sofia, lithic use-wear analysis), R. Guilbert (University of Paris I, research student, lithic technology). L. KaraJi (University of Athens, malacology), E. Marinova (University of Bonn, botany), G. Schneider (University of Berlin, ceramology), P. Sellier (C.N.R.S., physicaJ anthropology), I. Sidera (C.N.R.S., bone industry), SI. Thiebault (C.N.R.S., botany). In previous years the following specialists participated in specific analyses: D. Casadei (A.FA.N., ceramology), S. Coubray-Maccharelli (Centre Jean Berard, Naples, botany), Y. Guichard (A.FA.N. anthropology), M. Kovaceva (Institute of Geophysics, Sofia, palaeomagnetic dating), C. Popova (Natural History Museum, Sofia, botany), N. Spassov (Natural History Museum, Sofia, zoology), F. Thiercelin (A.FA.N., ceramology). Amongst the students collaborating in the excavation a particular mention can be made of those who have participated in at least three campaigns: R.-M. Arbogast, M. Barle, J.-F. Berger, G. Boucounaud, L. Bouquet. D. Casadei, M. Chatelet, A. Costavara, R. Cottiaux, S. Desenne, M. Dikova, A. Gaulon, Y. Gauvry, L. Gohin, F. Gransar, R. Guilbert, I. I1ijeva, L. Mathery, A. Muller, V. Petrova, K. Raynaud, S. Sengelin-Ie-Brcton, F. Thiercelin, S. Thouvenot, and M. Villanueva. A total of 120 students have participated in this project, from the Universities of Paris I; Bonn, Marburg, Munster and Saarbriicken in Germany; Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo in Bulgaria.

2 The site 2.1 Geography and topography

The site of Kovacevo, at the "Podini" locality, 3,5 km south-west of the modern village of Kovacevo, lies in the south-western foothills of the Pirin massif, at an altitude of 450 m. The site is located on the sloping edge of a stony alluvial terrace laid down by the Pirinska (or Katunska) Bistrica, on the right bank of this mountain river which tlows down from the Pirin

6 Personal communication from M. Pappa, cf. also Alram-Stem 1996, p. 407.



and joins the Struma about twenty kilometres downstream. Surface finds indicate that the site covers about 6 hectares. The southern limit is defined by the abrupt terrace edge, lying about twenty metres above the river, and the eastern limit is a ravine dug by a small tributary of the Bistrica (PI. 1, 1). The other limits are not defined by natural topographic features. Today the site is divided in two by the road which, crossing the Pirin mountains, links the valleys of the Struma (Kulata) and Mesta (Goce Delcev), The larger part lies north-west of this road (fig. 2), with quite a steep average slope of 8%. Up till 1988 this wascovered by fruit trees, the uprooting of which must have damaged the upper part of the stratigraphy. The plants that are now cultivated (tobacco, maize) reveal a certain number of crop-marks which mainly appear to correspond to recent irrigation channels, two of which were uncovered lower down in the excavated area. As the n? 2 sondage of 1981 showed, the thickness of archaeological layers beneath the topsoil in this zone is apparently never more than 0,6 to 0,8 m (Pernitcheva 1990, p. 147). To the south-east of the road, the site continues for about half a hectare, right on the edge of the terrace. The slope is less steep here, hardly exceeding 5%. The first 1981 sondage, located near the road, showed that the archaeological layers at this point could reach 1,80 to 2,00 m below the topsoil. This is why the decision was made to place the excavation in this second zone, working outwards from the sondage in order to benefit from its stratigraphic information. 2.2 The nature of the site Kovacevo is not a settlement mound (magoula, mogila, tell) of the kind known in neighbouring Greece, or in the eastern and northern part of Bulgaria. The site represents an extensive settlement, covering a surface area of fi ve to six hectares, with a stratigraphy of up to two metres. This situation is very favourable, since the Early Neolithic levels are directly exposed about fifteen centimetres below the present-day surface. However, the identification of layers and archaeological features is extremely difficult, which perhaps explains the rarity of large-scale investigations on this type of site. 2.3 The stratigraphy of the site

The general stratigraphy of the site indeed turned out to be much more complex than was implied both by the results of the 1981 sondage and by the present-day topography of the site (Pernitcheva 1990). At the base of the layers lies the Quaternary alluvial terrace, consisting of a thick layer of pebbles which were in fact used on the site. Although the surface of the site is at present sloping, the terrace itself is almost horizontal at the base of the archaeological layers in the excavated part of the site. The pebble layer is covered by a yellowish loam deposit, on which the first yillage is located. About 60 ern thick on the western side of the excavated zone, this loam tends to disappear towards the edge of the terrace, so the stones appear directly (Brochier 1994). This yellow loam was directly employed as building material and the archaeological layers are derived from the collapse of this architectural material, gradually enriched through the course of time in organic elements. After their deposition, the Early Neolithic layers were subject to considerable erosion. The erosion is accentuated on the more sloping ground, that is to say throughout the part north-west of the road, where the layers are the least thick and where recent agriculture has caused the most damage.

Fig. I.

Distribution 3 Dobriniste, salevo, II 16 Nevestino,

map of Early 4 Elesnica, Vaksevo, 17 Siskovci,

Neolithic 5 Bacevo, 18 Priboj, 25 Buchovo,


in south-west 7 Rakitovo, 13 Sapareva

Bulgaria. Banja,

I Kovacevo, 9 Vetren, 14 Kramici, 21 Kurilo,

2 Brezani, 10 Mur15 Galabnik, 22 Rebrovo,

6 Belica,

8 Dorkovo,

12 Stanke


19 Pernik,

20 Sofia-Slatina,

23 Lozen, 24 Krernikovci,

26 Jana, 27 Cavdar.



In the south-eastern part. there is quite a long hiatus for the Late Neolithic and Early Cha1colithic periods corresponding to Karanovo V and VI (Fig. Definition of the latter will have to be based on detailed study of the archaeological finds and in particular the decorated pottery. close to the terrace edge. pp. as a small stone cist dating to this period was dug into the colluvium. 104 105 . the Neolithic levels are heavily truncated and disappear completely over the last metres. 567). These Early Neolithic layers were then covered by Middle Neolithic layers. colluvium accumulated in the lower part of the' site in the form of brown-black sediments which can be over a metre deep and which contain very fragmentary and heterogeneous finds. P and R) only consist of negative features (trenches. This process pre-dates Roman times. Kovacevo II = Middle Neolithic. with at least 4 periods of development (Ia-Id). certainly ancient. 2. based on typological observations. Fig. p. It can be noted however that it might be possible to distinguish different periods within Kovacevo II and III.) are sporadically present (Demoule/Lichardus-Itten 1994. 2. with the exception of several pits again dug into the Early Neolithic layers. Nevertheless. which were in turn completely or heavily eroded. and thus we distinguish: Kovacevo I = Early Neolithic. These four periods however can group several phases of occupation of the site. Thus part of Sesklo is included in the Early Neolithic and the periods Karanovo !II and IV are both placed in the Middle Neolithic. since 1998 it has been possible to observe that the traces of the earliest occupations in the southern sectors (M. scatters of remains on the edge of the terrace and in the southern part of the excavation. Roman. it must be stressed that the four Early Neolithic periods were established on the grounds of stratigraphic evidence at Kovacevo itself. This is where the most complete sequence can be observed and once the principles of development have been established it should also be possible to define possible interruptions in the occupation in the southern and eastern sectors where the corresponding layers have disappeared. After the Bronze Age. as far as Europe is concerned. the Bronze Age layers formed. several massive stone bastions and an enclosure ditch dug into the terrace. furthermore. to the Middle Chalcolithic. Interpretation of their horizontal stratigraphy and their chronological succession will in fact require the methods normally applied to sites of the Danubian Neolithic in Central Europe. due to the proximity"of the Aegean world. in turn eroded. both by the milder slope and by the presence of the road. in which they have remained trapped. since there is no stratigraphic evidence to separate them on the site of Kovacevo (Demoule/Lichardus-Itten 1994. In the latter zone where the archaeological layers are thus completely destroyed. In any case. Then. Since points of comparison are still too rare it is preferable to designate these broad periods with the evidence from Kovacevo itself. however. 3). Plan of the site of Kovacevo and position of the 1986-2000 excavations. On the other hand. 568-573). Middle Ages etc. the layers are better protected. While later periods (Iron Age. after a hiatus of about one and a half millennia. Thus the stratigraphy of the site is best preserved in the north-west part of the excavation. Kovacevo !II = Early Bronze Age. with the exception of a few features dug into the Early Neolithic sediments.4 The chronological sequence The interpretation of this stratigraphy has led to a provisional distinction of the three major periods of occupation of the site of Kovacevo".occupation from the beginning of the Iron Age can also be mentioned. with the exception of a few pits dug into the alluvial terrace. the latest dating to the metal ages. An 7 It must be pointed out that this project uses the European terminology (Lichardus et alii 1985) which differs in particular from those generally employed in Greece and Bulgaria. post holes and pits) that are so densely distributed that they must cover a very long period of time. this part was in fallow when the e)(cavation started and had never been mechanically cultivated. the topsoil is over a metre deep and directly overlies the geological substratum. we use the term "Early Bronze Age" for a period which corresponds. This colluvium thins out and stops about two metres in front of the present terrace edge. However.

) to the fairly systematic destruction of architectural features.) of directly interpretable nature (pits. structures etc.1 Field organization Schematic plan of the Kovacevo excavation.The excavation data and finds for the Karanovo II and III periods will be presented in a future study and the present article will only describe the results of work on the Early Neolithic periods (Kovacevo I). Within large. Chronological scheme indicating the various periods of occupation of the site of Kovacevo relative to neighbouring regions. 3. separated by I m wide stratigraphic balks which are themselves gradually removed as the excavation progresses. which already affected the Early Neolithic layers. Furthermore. but were clearly also the cause of large scale destruction of archaeological features. together with human activities (construction. corresponding either to features (str. 4. In certain cases (pithos contents or silo pits). The finds are recorded by stratigraphic units. It can also be pointed out that the whole site was dug by trowel'. levelling. XY XIY XIII XII Xl 3 The excavation (1986-2000) and methods x IX VIII YII YI 3. XYI 16 17 18 19 Kovacevo III Karanovo VII VI V IV III II I Bulgarian terminology Early Bro~ze Age Late Chalcolithic Early Chalcolithic Late Neolithic Middle Neolithic XY XIY XIII XII XI X IX VIII VII YI 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 20 21 Early Neolithic 22 23 24 23 24· Fig. As early as 1986 an open area of 1450 m' was uncovered. The excavated area is laid out in to m square sectors (A. drainage etc. in order to excavate two large circular stone features dating to the Early Bronze Age. as well as more gradual erosion have contributed. 106 107 . starting from the 1981 sondage which had revealed the deepest stratigraphy. organized features the finds are recorded by m' and by 10 em spits. the almost total absence of burnt remains makes the identification of buildings particularly diffi- 8 Thus an approximate total of 2250 rrr' of sediment was worked through by hand. 3. 25 XYI Fig. but as a general rule the sediment turns out to contain very few macro-botanical remains. Thus the total surface area investigated is about 1500 m2 (Fig. It was only in 1999 that it became necessary to enlarge the southern and south-western part of the area (sectors P and T). violent storms). destruction. 2 m wide. It is obvious that the excavation has been carried out strictly with stratigraphic methods. wet-sieving tests are carried out with a I to 2 mm mesh. Accidental ground movement (earthquakes.). which has been preserved (PI. The "features" and "Excavation Units" are numbered from I to n for the whole site. Now these phenomena not only contributed to the general configuration.2 The Early Neolithic features (Kovacevo I) The extremely complex stratigraphic configuration of the Kovacevo site appears in fact to originate from the erosion phenomena described above. or to layers. sometimes subdivided according to their size into I ) All the sediment is dry-sieved with a 5 mm mesh. European period Middle Chalcolithic Early Chalcolithic Late Neolithic Middle Neolithic North Greece Sitagroi IVNa Sitagroi IlIb/c Sitagroi IlIa Sitagroi IIII South-western Bulgaria RadomirHotovo Kolarovo Slatino Damjanica II ? "Kovacevo" Early Neolithic Nea Nikomedeia Giannitsa Dobriniste Elesnica Id Ic Ib Ia artificial excavation units (UF). apart from the main north-south balk. 4). ditches. 1. agriculture.2).T).

2 and 3).. XYI 16 XY XIY XIII XII XI X IX YIII YII YI 16 17 18 19 t ... 16 and (7) produced detailed information on the successive phases of construction and renewal (PI. and thus only the complete vessels and large fragments found in closed contexts (houses.. The oven (str. It is therefore necessary to distinguish the finds in primary and secondary position. Since the excavation is not yet finished and the geological bedrock has only been reached in some of the sectors (Fig. ':-0 .. graves etc.. 7'7': 17 18 19 . Some posts at least (chemical analysis has indeed confirmed the existence of decomposed wood) appear to date to later periods since they damaged remains belonging to the houses. ..:~' 24 x IX YIII YII substratum YI has been Fig. p.::'. 20 21 22 22 23 10 m 23 24 25 XYI XY XIY excavation ::)):r~:::::::::):j:~::~::::::: XIII XII XI .. p. while the construction material. The Kovacevo reached and the areas (shading) where the geological (situation in late 2000).''..''. 569). Their dating in relationship to the two houses is extremely delicate. extensive excavation revealed that the actual layers themselves also contain fairly heterogeneous pottery finds. .·r-b.... fig. the houses at Kovacevo were mainly built with earth and once they fell into ruin this earth often cannot be distinguished from the adjacent soil.. It became clear that large pits post-dating the Early Neolithic were particularly abundant in the area of the 1981 sondage n? I (Demoule/Lichardus-Itten 1994. Kovacevo Id: House 216 in sector K Excavated during the campaigns from 1987 to 1990. Following the destruction by fire of the first building and the collapse of its floor into an underlying hollow.. a number of remarks must remain quite provisional.... It is interesting to note that even a broken large storage vessel (pithos) was used to level a unevenness under this second floor.. 2. A _... Excavation in progress in the northern sectors should uncover remains of new buildings and this will certainly complete the present picture. fragments mixed with daub etc. Perniceva (1990) on the basis of observations in the two 1981 sondages was our initial guide.. defined. I). necessarily contains earlier elements.. The distribution pattern of burnt daub suggests a square or subrectangular plan with walls about 5 metres long. 16) was built. 63) escaped destruction from ploughing. in other words the earth used to build the houses.'.:. the first traces of which appear directly underneath the topsoil.'. the floor of which is represented by a layer of white carbonate concretions (Brochier 1994.2. At the same time.. Similarly.) enable us to define the characteristics of a settlement phase.... As with most contemporary sites in the Balkans.. its particular aspect (corrosion. the extensive excavation from 1986 onwards evidently enabled this sequence to be tested and clarified the nature of the features. Pottery fragmentation..'-... which are then found in later features. at least for the main trends in the development of the Early Neolithic at Kovacevo..===~ · . Thus the digging of construction pits and their fill created considerable disturbances which make very late elements appear in lower levels.'-. the burnt architectural remains were apparently spread out over the whole surface and a new oven (str.) and the precise context have to be observed.::'. action of fire etc.. In addition. at a depth of 15 to 20 em below the present surface of the terrace.'-.. The definition of the outer edges of these two presumed houses was rendered particularly difficult by the fact that only a small number of post holes could be observed.. -. which is doubtless explained by diverse activities. .1 The houses Work undertaken up to 1999 at Kovacevo has uncovered the remains of a certain number of buildings. this house is exceptional because it was destroyed by fire. Both have two superimposed floors.:. ~..::-:::':::'. The sequence proposed by L..''... Careful excavation of two ovens (str. because precise dating obviously depends on the study of the finds. it is not yet possible to propose a general plan of buildings for each occupation phase.. and also to separate the pottery which dates from the "construction pottery" (paving sherds.. 108 109 .cult.''.. It is evident that the analysis of the immense quantity of pottery (roughly 2 tons recorded each campaign) will also produce especially important statistical results.. 3. the most significant aspects of which will be described by chronological period. 17) on the other hand apparently belongs to this first building...'" '.. S. but the fact that the clay slabs of fea- ture 16 overlie a layer largely made up of burnt daub indicates that this feature was built after the destruction by fire of an earlier building in the same location. 5). 634-636) which dips markedly towards the centre of the house.. as well as a new floor whose clay covering (str. The small surface area of the 1981 sondages and the particularities of the site's sediments made the identification of later disturbance very difficult and despite the fact that it was possible to recognize pits there remains a certain amount of doubt about the homogeneity of the finds grouped by layer (Pernitcheva 1995.:: :::~:~:~?::t::::~:~:: ~ ::~: F 20 21 Q ... followed by the remains which indicate the presence of internal or external facilities...:-t..'..)...0.

slightly more to the south-east and thus extending under the sector's east and south balks (PI 3. better preserved. showing up as white concretion layers about 10 cm apart. the shifts in position of the three carbonate layers rather suggest a sequence of three different buldings. The absence of post holes and above all rows of post holes suggests in fact that the walls were mainly built of earth. The pattern of bands about 30 to 35 cm wide. with large amounts of concretions. Although it was initially considered during excavation that the three superimposed floors could possibly belong to a single house. a hard texture and a duller colour (str. in other words in a trench and then in a sort of casing. can mostly be interpreted as construction pottery. is another house built over a hollow. were observed (PI. The upper levels in this sector were in fact very disturbed by large pits and hollows of the Middle Neolithic and Early Bronze Age and all that could be identified were lenses of carbonate concretions. the pit of house 1656 is impressively deep. This house caused a number of problems during excavation. On the other hand. all 110 III . particularly large sherds lying flat. since the pottery fragments are so well preserved and intact that it was possible to reconstruct whole vessels. This is clearly a construction material that was prepared with a great deal of care. these bands appear to correspond to walls made of unfired earth. 329 and 334 The hypotheses outlined above were confirmed by observations made during the 1993 to 1996 campaigns in sector E where. Further down. connected remains of superimposed floor linings. 3.(. 238 and 239). orientated either north-westlsouth-east or north-eastlsouth-west. All that is preserved is the base of an earth wall. 1). 37). Houses 2034. They lie stratigraphically under the three previously described houses. This soil is quite specific in nature and was so hard under excavation that we termed it "compact earthen concrete" (BTC: beton de terre compact). by comparison with the building (str. These structural remains are poorly preserved and always sloping. soft concretions of a soapy texture and a clear white colour (str. these remains did not contain evidence for an oven or hearth. renewed several times. 216) in sector K. In some places. Pending the results of chemical and granulometric analyses. both for the Early and Middle Neolithic periods. with faint traces of white paint. placed upside down. Rapport n° 10. B. Further traces of houses appeared in sectors A. Kovacevo Ie: The houses in sector E. 907). The constraints or reasons that motivated the builders to employ this kind of architecture seem to be linked to the very nature of the site and its rather unstable sediments. but this time without such dense and massive paving. slight traces of hearths and concentrations of stones. This technique requires very few load-bearing posts. Interrupted to the north by pits and hollows of underfloor space kind which were dug later (str. Artifact scatters. Kovacevo Ib: The shallow pit of house 907 in sector E The remains of this building were uncovered in 1996. located in the north-west corner of sector I and chronologically very close. As with house 90. 2. House 216 in sector K was emptied before its destruction. yellow and black daub and carbonate powders (Brochier 1995. and thin layers of white carbonate concretions may well indicate. It can be defined as a mixture of anthropized grey loam with numerous nodules of red. Encountered here for the first time on this excavation. these sediments and layers of lining became increasingly damp. The 1993 and 1994 excavations uncovered at least three levels of floors. 2). to such an extent that in 1998 they had turned into a kind of shapeless muddy substance and work had to cease. suggests that the bands are the remains of earth walls. Under a thick layer of large pieces of burned daub representing the fired remains of the roof and walls. different textures and colours could be observed and these helped to link patches of floor with slightly crumbled. at the suggestion of the sedimentologists. These layers of concretions cover almost all the northern half of sector E. House 1656 in sector I To the south-west of this shallow pit 907. this type of construction turned out to be quite typical of the site. p. These floors are not bordered by rows of post holes. 334). a multitude of very thin and markedly tilting layers of carbonate concretions were surrounded by a sticky black soil containing a great deal of organic matter. 2055 and 2199 in sector K Recent discoveries include the remains of three buildings excavated in 1999 and 2000 in sector K. abundant but covered in concretions and very fragmentary. Only one nearly complete vessel was found in it. 2.20 m under the present surface appeared the first extensive. apparently serving to level out the building level.) but also with graded stones and fragments of vessels that had been selected and layed as a form of dense paving at the bottom of the hollow (str. The grading implies deliberate selection and one is very probably dealing here with a special method of isolation and arrangement to control the flow of water and air underneath the building. More or less well preserved and always slightly sloping. It thus turns out that the occupation of the site was much denser than had been supposed at the start of the excavation. to such an extent that all that remain are their floors and a few fragments of burned clay. Consisting of very hard soil. The rest of the pottery. The archaeomagnetic dating of oven 17 (cf. It seems that even the oven and hearths were flattened. 259.This house was constructed on a sort of shallow pit dug before the wooden floor was laid down. in the form of 30 to 35 cm wide bands. This indicates that they were protected here by an empty space until the house floor collapsed. these layers are quite varied in nature (PI. pottery and bone fragments. To complicate the situation the whole of this feature is cut and thus partially destroyed by a later ditch of the same depth as the pit (cf. mixed with small fragments of pottery and small stones. cutting down almost one metre into the geological substratum. infra). these layers reflect building and renewals of successive floors. judging not only from its stratigraphic position but also from the aspect of the pottery. orientated south-westlnorth-east and the underfloor space filled not only with the debris of the house (fragments of floor. F and G. which means that it is difficult to define their edges. However several interruptions in the floors. This building must date to the end of the Early Neolithic (Kovacevo Id). This seems to be the best explanation for the markedly sloping layers of carbonate concretions which represent the various floor linings. E. 329) and to distinguish them clearly from an underlying floor. and these were in fact encountered during the excavation in the form of a post mold surrounded by a ring of ETC (PI. This was not a kind of paved floor surface. Situated in the eastern and western parts of the sector and extending beyond it. between two floors there are dense concentrations of stones. str. probably built with the "pise" technique. its linings etc. often bordering a bed of particular carbonate concretions. at a depth of about 1. infra) confirms this proposition. the presence of house floors. 2). 2).

it which governed architecture on the site. 9 This part of the excavation is reminiscent of the settlement sites of the earliest Neolithic in central Europe. 1714) found in the south-east part of the sector (PI. 6. There are very few small fragments of pottery between the linings and this pottery displays quite early typological traits. A quite similar situation was encountered during the 2000 campaign. there remain few internal features. First of all. recut later (str. the earliest in this area. On the north-east side of this house it is interesting to note an long pit (str. This floor ends to the north-west with a trench (str. The floor of this house. organized in a relatively continuous manner and on a horizontal level. thin layers of carbonate concretions appeared. In these houses the floors are about 10 em apart (PI. not only becauseof its elongated shape but also its special position in relationship to the house. Nevertheless. and is without doubt earlier than this house and also house 1730. with nearly vertical sides. apart from a complete small monochrome vessel placed on one of the upper floors of house 2055. 6. Better preservation however meant that the various floors (up to nine were superimposed) could be excavated more effectively. 112 113 . where at least two houses with horizontal floors were delimited by rows of post holes (PI. of shallow depth. Unlike house 1714. 5. in sectors M and P. and its sides are about 6 m long. Provisional conclusions on the architecture: Kovacevo are all relatively poorly preserved. thanks to careful is possible to define some of the main principles The evidence from sectors A and E indicates that Ia: Houses 1714. While house 2019 is clearly delimited by this trench. is house 2019. contemporary or later. I). These trenches are accompanied by isolated post holes and pits and all these features are dug deeply into the sterile geological substratum of the terrace.60 m long. systematically orientated north-west/south-east or southwestlnorth-east and thus reflecting classic traditions (PI. as a burned structures. This is particularly visible in the lowest levels of the sector. 50 cm wide and 5. The edges of the feature are quite distinct: it is of quadrangular shape. is orientated north-westlsouth-east. belong to later levels. with large numbers of buidings which overlap or are stratigraphically close to one another. 2029). in sector A. Its floor passes under wall 1723 of house 1730 and appears as a thin layer of carbonate concretions. large numbers of post holes appeared. Once these were removed. the top level only produced concentrations of burned soil and pieces of red daub reflecting a possible fire that was restricted to the immediate area of a probable oven or hearth. 7. 2). had been levelled out with a dense paving of fragments of pottery and stones also containing complete vessels (str. 1736) which stops exactly opposite the corner of the wall. Indeed one of the major surprises of the 1997 campaign was the sudden appearance of architectural remains and especially floors. At the same time. Kovacevo cause of the edge of the excavation determined by the asphalt road) by walls (str. all consisting on the surface of thin layers of white carbonate concretions and all tilting strongly towards the centre of the construction (PI. as do the bases of certain trenches.). Later destruction (notably in the northern part of house 2055) prevent recognition of the external walls. reddened in places by fire. with very closely spaced. It lies under and in almost the same position as house 1714. 1730). Another house (str. The situation in sectors M and P on the southern edge of the excavation: The observation clearly made in sector E of the presence of wide trenches in which quite big posts had been set at regular intervals has been confirmed. Seven post holes measuring 20 to 30 cm in diameter were dug at regular intervals along the bottom of this trench. This confirms the observations made in sector E and it remains to be seen in the other sectors whether these trenches are the general rule in the lowest levels. the post holes are much easier to identify as these buildings lie under a layer about 60 ern thick with no evidence for architecture. 1). dug between 1997 and 1999. The entrance to the house is in the wall to the south-east. according to the habitual and classic principle. 4. also built directly on the ground. they must have collapsed into the underlying hollow which was very deep. with all that this implies as regards the chronological interpretation of the data. 2). These layers evidently correspond to floors with their white lining and when the wood in the floors was more or less rotten. At least five floors lined with carbonate concretions were uncovered in a house (str. once the lowest floors have been removed. but unlike these house 1730 only produced a single bed of very sparse white concretions. The last building excavated in sector E. House 617/2071 in sectors M and N The most spectacular example of a building over an underfloor space extends between sectors M and N. Traces of posts and the bases of earth walls have been found in the underlying sediment. 4. Certain post holes found on either side of the main balk very probably belong to this building. including several lower and upper grindstones (not weighed) and an unusual quantity of bracelet fragments. 1730 and 2019 in sector E As has already been stressed several times. 2000). after its abandonment. As a result a large part lies under the main site balk. The whole surface here produced an impressive quantity of wide trenches of this type. the definition of the margins of floors is not easy. with or without concretions. post holes etc. it is clearly bordered (despite the fact that it is only partially visible be- The various Early Neolithic buildings at result of erosion and also the absence of methods of excavation and recording. for the moment sector E presents the most complete stratigraphic sequence on the site. It contained a particularly large amount of finds (about 40 kg). This house's pit cuts deeply into the sterile subsoil. this time built. No finds were made of hearth or oven or other internal features. The best preserved wall is about 6 m long. 2). 5. It is also the richest and most complex part of the excavation. The precise edges of this house are unknown. 1723). The orientation is exactly the same as all the buildings described above. not all of which are aligned and some of which. belongs to this group. The large quantity of spatially overlapping subsoil features suggests that there were several phases of occupation". described above. lies directly to the north-west. I). in the current unfinished state of excavation. 2028). dark sediment with much organic matter (PI. As with the other cases. I).these houses are also of the type built over hollows. A cylindrical pit with fire-reddened sides. indicating that there had been a fire. This pit is strikingly reminiscent of the construction pits known elsewhere. We cannot rule out the possibility that there may have been an earlier pit beneath the hollow. relatively thin posts that were originally linked by wattle and covered with daub (PI. large pieces of burned daub were discovered. Disturbed in several places by later activity (pits. separated by sticky. exactly parallel to the earlier wall 1723. on either side of the balk. In this case. tbe Linear Pottery culture.

The outer limits of these buildings are difficult to identify. carefully modelled in "BTC" was uncovered in sector E. whilst others. The state of preservation is insufficient for reconstructing the initial shape. Circular features filled with carbonate concretions very probably indicate the presence of ash pits. 2014 for example) can possibly be interpreted as impressions of posts. for example to built extensive paving or the foundations of walls. This is a ditch which is orientated in the same manner. this storage vessel is deformed. The purpose of this feature was certainly to control the internal level of this unique water-supply system. is circular in shape and 16 cm high. Another dug feature was found a little to the north. 8. 3. The orientation of the houses is north-westlsouth-east with the entrance on the south-east side. which would explain the black marks on one of the walls. the base of which had been painted white (protection against fungi etc. The fill of this canal is characterized by the regular presence of layers of sand. However one often finds just small concentrations of burned earth or slabs of fired clay. but the situation is even more complicated. 8. yellowish ground. Thus the density of structures. lying on a base made of large pebbles. The absence. but the latest finds date from the Kovacevo Id period. 2). This area only produced a paving consisting of large numbers of small stones and quite large pottery fragments of the same period (str. this ditch has parallel edges which are reinforced by bands of "BTC". In a zone in the centre of sector E. The quadrangular houses have a more or less square groundplan with 5 or 6 m sides and walls made of posts. The neck. will all have to be investigated in more detail before the development of this site can be clarified. their mediocre state of conservation. This would indeed offer a logical explanation both for the absence of ovens from many houses and for their concentration outside the buildings. It is perhaps worth noting that there are no buildings of this period to the south of this "canal". Several containers of this kind were reconstructed from a concentration of large sherds which were excavated in 1989 in sector L. since there was a large fragment of daub with an impression of a small post from the framework. Ovens and hearths: House 216 in sector K contained a horseshoe-shaped oven (str. for example associated with floor 334 in sector E.?) A sort of circular basin. This clearly shows that the various occupation phases on the site will have to be examined in much more detail than is currently possible in the absence of exploitation of all the data concerning the archaeological finds. Nevertheless these features are clearly visible and are spatially distributed in a fairly systematic manner. in most cases. especially in the lower part. It reap- 114 115 . The rather heavily made bases possibly had a negative effect on the raised house floors. 249) (PI. since the identification of architectural units is rendered much more difficult by the invention of the pit below the floor. etc. a large quantity of fragments of several big storage vessels were found beneath the floor of house 334. In 2000 we descovered a kind of dam at the south-eastern end of the canal (PI. The same remarks apply to the later periods (especially Kovacevo Ic). Investigated over a distance of about twenty metres. I). With a capacity of about 100 litres. The section is still quadrangular at shoulder level and measures 52 x 52 cm. sector K. 16) which is later as it was built on the remains of the first and on the burned daub of the first house (cf. It was 60 em in diameter and contained a large oval stone (a little used grindstone") and some pieces of burned daub. apparently with an opening on top. 7). Impressions of wooden elements preserved in the daub show that the vault was built with branches and wattle. which meant that the dome could be of the earliest settlement involved structures built on the ground according to the traditional techniques of the region. or outside the houses. 17) with the remains of the vault still preserved. there is a second oven (str. supra). The first period (Kovacevo Ia) includes evidence in sector E for at least three overlapping and thus chronologically successive houses (2019-1730-1714). rather than oven.In house 216. of hearths or ovens is notable. stones and fragments of pottery. Ditches and canals: In several places on the excavation some rather particular features were observed. and the considerable pottery fragmentation. Originally it was poorly fired but underwent secondary firing. The flat. wattle and daub. quadrangular base measures 42 x 42 cm. set into very hard. indicating the presence of large storage containers. Not far from feature 17 and still inside house 216. The pottery from the fill is chronologically heterogeneous. Other parts of the excavation produced many fragments of pithos. It is 73 ern high with walls 3 ern thick. The dimensions and orientations of these houses built over pits appear to match the houses built on solid ground. This oven has two floors. as in sector A (str. Pieces of large storage vessels have been used also as a construction material. the dismantling of feature 133 uncovered fragments of a large pithos which could be reconstructed. crossing sector I and stopping somewhere in the middle of this sector. these fragments are still being refitted. but rather a son of "canal" for evacuating or controlling water at the edge of the village. basins.2 Internal and external facilities Pithos: Major concentrations of coarse pottery or fragments of unfired or poorly fired clay were discovered in several parts of the excavation. This is a kind of modified ditch crossing the whole of sectors M and N from the north-west to the south-east (PI. Ash pits. are found either inside the houses. however. It seems that their function was again to prepare the ground or the base of the pit beneath a house. smaller and only lined with concretions (str. without clear edges or particular foundations. In this case it is preferable to use the term simple hearth. 2) where numerous hearths with or without bases are clustered over a relatively small area. This oven also has two superimposed floors. at least one of which can be related to water management. Thus it is not a simple irrigation ditch of the kind still used in the region. probably when the first house burned. layed out flat on the bottom of a large hollow about 30 em deep. but differs from the first in that there is no pebble base. Scarcely fired. Additional solid ovens.2. very probably of the same type as they are built on massive pebble bases. In the majority of cases one might suggest that the walls were made of "BTC" with very little underlying timber. However a vault was probably involved here as well. 7.

2. 3. The present excavations at Kovacevo are evidently on the edge of the site. 34). pp. 9. Furthermore. whose buildings were at roughly the same level. pp. in the southern parts of sectors K and L. a flat. p. in other words the east face of the west balk of sectors P-M-I-E. while the upper part shows wide trenches in section. pp. 217). The first child burial (K-149) was discovered during the 1989 campaign near house 216. This would appear to reflect a strong tradition and a continuous development on the site. it was possible in 1999 and 2000 to study the various balks in the western and central sectors where the area excavation was finished. None of these burials are accompanied by grave-goods. 33-34). Rapport n° 12. Sellier 1993. K and L is characterized by a slower fill and the absence of sand. the ditch in sectors I. with 5-6 quite closely spaced buildings. Post-holes are more typical of the lower part of the stratigraphy.pears in the east balk of this sector and then continues. five children of low age can be dated from their stratigraphic position to the Early Neolithic.2. nor does it appear to have suffered a violent death. In quite the opposite manner. Rapport n" 8. 9. Sellier 1992. fig. 1803) and is probably a very young infant. about 40 ern high at the shoulders. As these data are still being analysed. 2008) date to the Middle Neolithic. On the contrary. Current evidence suggests that this ditch dates to the Kovacevo Ie period. Guichard and P. the west face of the east balk in sectors E-I-M-P and the east face of the west balk in sectors K and N. 2) was discovered in the course of excavation of a poorly preserved house in sector E (str. yet incomplete.2. Its function must have been different and has yet to be identified. the evidence suggests a symbolic or ritual gesture during the construction of house 217. the dense and often overlapping features suggest the existence of several occupation phases. again buried in a pot. The five cases described show the extent to which burial customs on the site of Kovacevo are varied. The fourth grave (1-1249) is probably a still-born infant (PI. The "canal" apparently delimits the village on its south side. This is a primary inhumation in a pit that was immediately filled in (P. corresponding to the buildings constructed on ground level in period Ia. superimposed layers. This ditch is also edged on both sides by bands of exteremely hard "BTC" (Berger 1977. we will simply recall that the site of Kovacevo does not present a straightforward stratigraphy with regular. At the base of the balk. Rapport n" 7. The systematic orientation of architectural remains is another phenomenum worth underlining. but this seems far from obvious. The presence of fragments of human bone in the bone material texts on the site (pits and layers) can also be noted. Rapport n" 7. It is a primary inhumation in a small pit. Hopefully it will be possible to distinguish these chronologically and spatially. The child was buried in a semi-seated position with its legs maintained bent (PI. especially those relating to the precise synchronization of the data. with the collaboration of the sedimentologists 1. it is striking to observe that very often the trenches and post-holes are intercutting. Rapport n° 12. Guichard/P. It is a child between 10 and 12 months old. pp. The east balk in sector E illustrates this phenomenum well. The child burials so far discovered are located under or near houses dating to the periods Ie and Id. In particular the two long north/south balks. a certain number of remarks can already be made about the organization of the settlement. orientated east-west (PI. The dog had obviously not died on this spot. 36). 561) (PI. Rapport n° 9. The results of this palaeozoological analysis are interesting. had been intentionally placed with a particular arrangement. The hypothesis of a container or a rigid shroud (leather bag?) was put proposed (Y. this is either a secondary burial or the body had been dislocated shortly after death. alternating for example the lower limbs on the left side and on the right side.50 m.-L. For periods Ia and lc. A more detailed anthropological study is in progress. aimed also to serve as a reference for Neolithic infants in this region. Berger. in a good state of preservation. 10. pp. While two children or adolescents found in sectors N (str. which would be the only possible explanation for the presence of such a late type of pottery. Brochier and J. but the choice of this area was determined by the better preservation of layers here. It was found in fact when the BTC wall on the south-east side was being taken out. Rapport n" 8. since the treatment was different for each child. who excavated and studied the skeleton in laboratory conditions back in France (P. Several of these were found near buildings. It appears that the periods Kovacevo Ib and Id are relatively well defined. The fifth child has yet to be examined anthropologically. 573). 3. The possibility of terrace layout has been discussed (Demoule/Lichardus-Itten 1994. The second burial (E-224) is of an infant 1 to 3 months old. 32-38). I.5 Settlement organization While it is still too early to propose village plans for each period or phase at Kovacevo. 60-62). at a considerable depth below the sterile subsoil surface. 2). 1). It was found in sector K (str. The discovery of an anthropomorphic marble figurine beneath the skeleton reinforces this hypothesis. 553) and K (str. On the other hand it was quite old and had undergone a recovered from various con- rather special treatment in so far as its skeleton. examined by the sedimentologists and each was drawn over a distance of 40 m and a height of about 2. whose relative dating cannot be based solely on their altitude. The east-west balks in sectors E. and was then removed and examined in laboratory conditions back in France (Arbogast 1994. p. 69-73). All the available evidence points to the existence of several chronologically successive villages. Sellier 1993. however. Sellier 1992.-F. Pebbles and stones regularly occur at the bottom of these pits. The third grave (E-374) contained a child 8 to 9 months old (Y.4 The ritual deposit of a dog The skeleton of a dog (str. 3. as this clearly domestic animal-Was relatively small. 10. K and P were also studied by the same procedure. were recleaned. 32-38). Unlike the canal in sectors M and N. It is above all in period Id that important alterations can be observed in the southern part of the excavated area. buried in hyperflexed position in a pottery vessel (Sellier 1997. horizontal sedimentation can be observed.3 The child burials Variously preserved skeletons of children were discovered in several parts of the site. orientated east-west and lying on its right side. while the upper parts of the balk include several pits. two foetuses or still-born infants were buried in pots (1-249 and K-1803). substantial digging activity can be observed almost everywhere. Although several questions remain in suspense. According to Pascal Sellier. turning slightly east. 116 117 . 1).

II. coil building seems typical. but it is present from the start of the occupation of the site. Paint is applied before firing and a red slip covering the surface of the vessels can generally be observed. this phenomenon enables one to orientate very small sherds and attribute them to a particular stylistic group or standard. The painted vessels reflect a high level of technical skill. is organized in either metopes (PI.2). pp. 11 A total of about 3300 artefacts have been recorded for the Blagoevgrad Historical Museum. It must be stressed however that the decorated pottery only represents about 3% of all the pottery at Kovacevo. 11. while the trend further east. The finds of museographic value undergo the same computer treatment. red-browns and reds. are not uncommon.13) appear less well executed. but also by the fact that all the material is kept. These horizontal bands are filled either with hatched triangles. Finds bags are recorded on computer and to date (late 2(00) about 53000 bags have been recorded. Koprivec or Poljanica-Platoto is now seriously contested.4 The finds The finds currently recorded and stored at the field base at Katunci must represent a weight of about thirty-five tons. various browns. This work has yet to be undertaken and it would be imprudent at this stage to venture an over-elaborate schematization which would be difficult to correct or modify later. by decoration painted in white on red.1 Definition of stylistic groups Group A (PI. Unlike other excavations in the Balkans.15). sherds for example) are systematically brought back. despite the large quantity of decoration motifs and the numerous associations. curvilinear motifs. 28-33. and this does not include the lithic industry. with large dots on one side. 12. altars. layout and nature of motifs. As a general rule the pottery is well fired in oxidizing conditions. This trend in paint colours is typical of the Starcevo and Koros/Cris cultures. The clay. is tempered with very fine sand. Nevertheless. colours. but also facilitates evaluation of the representativity of the material. right into the Carpathian basin. Furthermore. 6. petrographic and chemical analyses show that the fabrics are extremely homogeneous (Thiercelin/Schneider 1988.11. with the paints ranging from brilliant white to off-whites and a rather pasty yellowish cream. as at Kovacevo.1. a change in painting techniques can be observed on the sites located to the north and north-west of Kovacevo. stamp-seals etC. Casadei 1994.3-5. 118 119 .4. When two lines with dots are placed opposite each other. 1. There is a slight drop in the frequency of painted pottery in the lowest levels. Vessels with tall annular bases. of local origin. cf. Pots with extremely thin walls. 2-3 mm thick. in Bulgaria.2. the different combinations of colours are chronologically significant. ornaments. are particularly characteristic. the neck always decorated with a hatched band. Thus the remarks that follow are only provisional and descriptive. 4. is characterized almost exclusively. Group B (PI. continuous profiles and straight rims are typical. This is not only interesting for undertaking statistical analysis. Once the principles have been recognized and identified. or even burnished. 12. pp. so that the specialists involved can exploit a maximum amount of information". with the abandonment of white paint on a red background and the application of dark colours 10 All the archaeological material obviously remains in Bulgaria. and the backgrounds ranging from relatively pale orange. even though at present certain chronological trends are already apparent. In the current state of the excavation. Bands accompanied by dots are quite rare and the dots The Early Neolithic painted pottery from Kovacevo is characterized. with the Karanovo I culture.14. It is too early to present precise results as regards the archaeological finds. Although white paint on a red background is typical of the earliest manifestations of the Early Neolithic over a major part of the Balkans.1 The Early Neolithic decorated pottery (reds and browns) on a red then light brown background. 4. systematically recurring "standards" can be observed. in curvilinear or rectlinear motifs. 12): This group contains vessels painted white on red on their external surfaces only. The definitive results of the quantitative and qualitative analyses of the decorated and undecorated Early Neolithic pottery from Kovacevo are obviously not yet available. or continuous linked meanders. horizontal bands from the rim to the base. stone and bone tools. figurines. a fact which is also explained by their relatively closed shapes. 5659). Despite this apparent uniformity. The few items that have to be transported to France for specific laboratory analyses (skeletal material. Rapport n? 3. also Stefanova 1996. there is no evidence at Kovacevo for an initial period with only monochrome pottery". White paint on a red background is typical and the decoration covers the whole surface in a style consisting of several wide. The wide lines delimiting the bands. It is indeed quite surprising to encounter such a high degree of schematization and standardization in the combinations of vessel shapes. before being registered in the manner normally applied by the Blagoevgrad Historical Museum". and this is seems typical in fact of other sites of the same period. the marked standardization already permits definition of several typological groups and a broad outline of the development of pottery styles (Lichardus-Itten et alii. whether in the Struma valley. there is nevertheless a great deal of variation in the colours. It is interesting to note that this stylistic group includes vessels with painting of great quality and astonishing precision (PI. Macedonia or the central Balkans.9) or chevrons (PI. with a few rare exceptions. 2(00). 12 The existence of such a horizon on sites like Kramici. Ceramological. including complete vessels. It can also be noted that all the finds are washed (with the exception of daub and grinding equipment). the Sofia Basin. just like the decoration motifs and themes and the vessel shapes. whilst others (PI. The main decoration. the dots alternate perfectly. to crimson and bordeaux. all the daub and every single piece of flint and quartz available for study. As will be seen later. by white paint on red. These quantities are not just explained by the richness of the site. Unlike group A there are forms with necks. the aim is to render all the pottrey finds. 11): This group is defined by vessels which are only decorated on their external surfaces. Rapport n" 9. The surfaces are very carefully polished. all the pottery and bone is numbered. as well as reconstruction of the "chaines operatoires" of the different technologies applied.

rectilinear. the absence of bands giving rhythm to the vessel surface. as well as the fragmentary state of the material. brown-red or bordeaux background. A decoration motifs and the absence of microscopic relief Rapport n? 9. sometimes accompanied by very small dots. tifs consist of fine parallel lines and hatched triangles. 15. This paint is sometimes extremely difficult to recognize. Unlike group B. The vessels are systematically painted on both sides. the group F vessels (PI. 16-18) are stylistically very close to group C. 18): The vessels of this group are characterized by relatively simple forms exclusively decorated on the outside. Very wide bands and a "positive/negative" decorative effect are typical". chequered motifs are fundamentally different. undergone technological and chemical analysis.1. open bowls of group E. but the wavy are arguments against this technique. it appears that the decoration on certain vessels is of lesser quality (PI. is typical. The exclusively rectlinear decoration is painted in white or beige on a red or more often bordeaux background.. aptechnique using polishing was also envisaged. The colours are red on red or brown on brown. 14): The definition of this group is not yet satisfactory. 4. A typical theme for this group consists of two. whilst others are absolutely perfect. horizontal or oblique bands. It could be plied with a kind of soft brush. Once again.2). sometimes white-grey. 4-13). p. such as an absence of internal decoration. The painted motif is thus visible only because it shines on the duller background. as well as decoration with a "positive/negative" effect covering the whole surface. but it is striking that the motif applied is always the same. a decoration consisting of 3 to 4 relatively wide. Vessels decorated in this style are still quite uncommon. Group G (PI. 14). 15): Group E vessels (PI. However the fine. 57 and figs. as are orange. rims are not decorated with horizontal bands. The forms are open and have a short annular base. the main decoration extends right up to the vessel mouth. 17): This stylistic group is mostly defined by its decorative motifs and it is still difficult to reconstruct forms. Certain fragments (PI. Compared to the wide. there is often no real rim decoration. The total absence of rim decoration organized in a horizontal band is notable. They do share some common features. oblique parallel lines and the "ladder" motif are particularly typical. Groups E and F (PI. can often be observed within this group. The colours of the shiny motifs and the vessel background vary from brown to dark grey. but not exclusively. The external decoration is in fact very standardized and it is more the internal decoration that individualizes the vessel. Depending on the more or less open nature of the vessels. due to the considerable variability of motifs and decoration.12) seem to represent the same "flag" theme. more or less undulating. but also its consistency. this type of decoration occurs just on the outer surface or on both surfaces. 16. The hemispherical forms are generally open. but are never associated with wavy lines. 18. Only one complete vessel has a hollow annular base (PI. The extremely fine lines and the dark background colours are the most striking characteristics of this group. or more rarely three. The main decoration motifs are mostly curvilinear. functional or chronological 14 A number of sherds of this type have already of the paint was not determined. or wavy. 44-46. 15. but a more precise definition is ruled out for the moment. often curvilinear. 16. Decoration consists of extremely fine lines. 13. 16): The vessels of this group differ clearly from all the groups described above in that the painted motif is very slightly darker than the vessel background. rejoined respectively by two or three parallel but oblique wavy lines. straight parallel lines accompanied by small dots (PI. A pasty cream or ivory coloured paint. Thus it is not only the colour of the paint which differs from the previously described groups. Rim decoration in the form of a band is totally absent. the main decoration on the external side extends right up to the rim. A true rim decoration is only found on the internal side. revealing bands accompanied by dots. red and rarely brown backgrounds. Fine. They are systematically decorated on the outside and the inside. associated with the ladder motif. cf. Motifs are rectlinear and. orange-red.7. White paint. The nature a liquid derived from resin or other organic substances. 4. 1-15) are more closed and as a result only the external surfaces are decorated. 12. applied more thickly to such an extent that this is perceptible by touch. The painting is white on red. brown or brown-red backgrounds. The differences observed can obviously have diverse origins relating to social.2 Tentative interpretation of the stylistic groups (A-I) This attempt to systematize the painted pottery from Kovacevo is based on the observation of regular associations of forms. Group C (PI. and there are no true curvilinear motifs. in: 120 121 . especially on the inside. Group D (PI. They have been provisionally individualized because they do not fit into the other groups. "W" motifs and wavy or zigzag lines are characteristic motifs. Group H (PI. The geometrical mo13 The term "positive/negative" refers to a decoration since they appear in both white and red. with a continuous profile and a hollow annular base. either repeated or isolated (PI. The internal rim decoration consists most often of triangles alternating with short. however. Casadei 1994. parallel lines is particularly frequent. applied on a light red or orange background. This is a special technique involving the application of a liquid and barely visible substance" on a backround that is mainly the same colour.are less large than in group A. oblique lines. leaving no space for a rim decoration. The main theme of internal decoration is often materialized by complicated and continuous meanders. but unlike group C the lines are finer and the motifs usually. colours. and decoration motifs and themes. On the external side. The decoration is painted white on a red or dark red-brown background. 13): Group C vessels are particularly abundant. The vessels are only decorated on the outside. The motifs are strictly rectilinear. as the vessels are very heterogeneous. straight and vertical parallel lines. type in which the motifs are difficult to distinguish. The main decoration extends right up to the vessel rim. 1-3) have been added to this group because the decoration technique seems very similar. painted in white on a very dark. Hatched triangles. This involves wide. vertical. Group I (PI. The simple or slightly carinated forms are flat rather than annular based.

brown-red and bordeaux-red and the tendency is for these to lighten. whilst the remainder are from sector A 19. 19. 3. I.1. 4. occurs rarely on other Bulgarian sites. From this.1. filled with fine oblique wavy lines. The general trend seen in the development of the painted pottery is from simple rectilinear motifs consisting of fine straight or wavy lines with small dots. to more extensive painting which associates wide bands in rectlinear and curvilinear motifs. K. the same remarks do not apply to group G and a few rare vessels of unfamiliar appearance. 4. These are rare or extremely rare and quite exceptional examples (PI. UF 887 and level 8. level 4. Whilst certain characteristics of the painted pottery can be found on other sites in south-west Bulgaria.. before evolving into simpler. By using statigraphic position it is in fact possible to suggest a provisional arrangement in broad periods which will of course have to be more precisely defined in relation to the site's actual settlement phases.aspects. The decision was made to proceed in this way because excavation of the lowest levels is still unfinished.2 The lithic and bone industries The lithic industry includes quartz and it is clear that this was abundantly worked on the site. 46. The motif. level 411992 and str. Examining the broad category of white painted pottery. and the tendency is for them to increase in height towards the end of the sequence. UF 23211992 19 Sector A. Only detailed quantitative and qualitative analysis will provide a definitive answer to the question of the significance of these groups. 20 These studies have been entrusted to R. it is quite likely that coexistence of several stylistic groups or standards within a period or perhaps even an occupation phase will be observed. at the end of the sequence. The vessel fragment with a simple profile (PI. with mainly red and orange shades. fig. I Id Ie Ib Ia ? H G F E D C B A Although clear chronological trends can be recognized in the white on red painted pottery at Kovacevo. level 4. notably at Rakitovo (Nikolov 1986. Nikolov 1993. Their stratigraphic positions suggest a date at the very end of the Early Neolithic (Kovacevo Id at the earliest). 2). for example at Hacilar. fig. 8-11. Another vessel. with perhaps maximum frequency in layer IIa (Mellaart 1970. However further work is necessary to examine whether the different groups really are so exclusive in chronological terms. where it will be recalled that the sequence is the most complete. vessels have neither rim nor internal decoration. Provisional proposition for the general sequence of the different stylistic groups of painted pottery at Kovacevo. 19. a central lozenge with four triangles at the corners. before becoming white again. is in perfect accordance with the overall pat15 The fragments of this vessel were found in two sectors: sect. str. hemispherical forms. pl. 3. 19. Abundant use of very varied imported raw materials. Wide. fig. Preliminary analyses of the flint industry have already been carried out. The latter trait occurs only from Kovacevo Ib onwards. from the points of view of both technology and use-wear". geared towards production of relatively standardized and unvarying blanks. • • • • • • • • ? • Fig. Sir. with flint very much in the minority but at least partially knapped on the site on small cores.4). with an almost complete form as just the rim is missing (PI. it is already clear that chronological factors also contributed to the formation of these groups. I) is painted beige on a brown backround. Both colours and motifs can easily be attributed to the Cavdar style" and once again the conclusion is that this vessel was imported from the Sofia basin. Nikolov 1991. 4. 1950 and 2108. 1-2. Nikolov 1995.3) have polychrome paint. notably with rather complex spirals and meanders. 3. where it is found in layers V to II. Several fragments which could not be refitted but seem to come from a single vessel (PI. 17 Georgiev 1981. square xrTI-16. At the beginning. However. Carinated forms occur. p. fig. 6. Nikolov 1994. Both colour combination and motif are completely atypical of the pottery production at Kovacevo. brown bands accompanied by small white dots are painted on a red slip. One fragment was found in sector E1. it is in fact very typical of the developed Early Neolithic (Kremikovci group) either in the northern Struma valley or in the Sofia basin'v It is clearly an import from the north. at the start of the sequence. Systematic sieving has produced numerous lithic finds. totally differs from the rest of the pottery production at Kovacevo". Group G suddenly appears in considerable quantity during the Kovacevo Ib period. level 5/1999. Early background colours are dark. 3. 10. sect. fig. Spatial analysis will hopefully produce evidence to clarify this observation. curiously. 4. Guilbert (technology) and M. which could also be interpreted in terms of traditions. 16 Gaul 1948. 122 123 . especially fig.4. 18 Sector E. pI. Gurova (use-wear).4 Specific vessels Some vessel fragments cannot be integrated into the stylistic groups defined above. level 7. 1288. 19). s~ it will be easier to add new elements. Painted dark brown-red on a beige background in broad vertical zones. IV. 3. fig. it must be stressed that the Kovacevo stratigraphic sequence is unique and that group I especially has yet to be found elsewhere. Nikolov 1987. and have to be treated separately.2174 and 2189. one can conclude fairly safely that Kovacevo is the earliest Bulgarian Early Neolithic site. Furthermore. annular bases are totally absent at the beginning. 3. Georgiev et alii 1986. 350 for example). As far as forms are concerned. It turns out in fact that the various groups designated by the letters of the alphabet mainly evolve in reverse order. 2113. in other words from group I to group A.3 Chronological trends The proposed sequence of stylistic groups is based on stratigraphic observations which were mostly made in sector E. GurovalGatsov 2000). one notes that the white paint typical of the very beginning is partially transformed into beige. The artefacts are generally comparable in several aspects to Early Neolithic material from neighbouring regions (Perles 1987. fig. and is especially typical of Anatolian pottery. Bakamska/Pavuk 1995. sometimes translucent.

since as a general rule only a single leg. termed "altars". but rather these were objects with a special function (hunting?) (Lichardus et alii 2000). sometimes minute figurines with a cylindrical head and bun hair style. the next most common are shells. cat- 21 Made from Glycimeris Linne shells (identification L. Functional analyses are currently revealing a wide variety of activities. Bracelets are particularly common.(5). and eyes and mouth represented by fine incisions (PI. despite the exceptional abundance of figurine fragments. are common. After stone ornaments. The whole figurine was then carefully smoothed. Although the majority of these are female representations in fired clay. pp. in: Rapport n" 9. 22). as are vessels with anthropomorphic or zoomorphic signs. hooked pointed tools. the interpretation is not that there were possible contacts with an as yet poorly defined local Mesolithic. 18-22). with representations of sophisticated hair styles (especially buns) and other quite characteristic traits. This is the case both for clay bracelets. 22. 7. pp. Particularly characteristic of the beginning of the occupation at Kovacevo are small. thus indicating that there was a long tradition of this kind of sculpture which is indeed very widespread and characteristic of the Balkano-Carpathian Neolithic. Mortars. 43-50). Often discovered in situ. Gimbutas et alii 1989. querns and grinders. a trend towards increased schematization can be observed. The initial proposition has been to distinguish five functional classes. 21. 2000. It can also be pointed out that there are very few refits. There are very few burins. Manufacturing techniques include majority use of stone for the cutting and shaping of hone. While the earliest clay figurines often portray individual features. the function of which is not yet clear. It is an important feature of industries in this part of the Neolithic world (Stordeur 1988. 124 125 . as well as by numerous sickle inserts which occasionally have a well developed gloss. as well as polished stone axes. 1-17). At present it seems that this fine marble industry was more typical of the developed Early Neolithic and the Middle Neolithic periods.5 Diverse objects Small fired clay tables. Karali). 6) is made from a dark red. shiny stone (cf. 22. A majority of these disks have a central perforation and thus could have been suspended. poorly preserved example is decorated with white on red paint (PI. 20. Other raw materials such as jadeite were also worked. Kovacevo is characterized by a majority of blades with short bilateral retouch. 22. '. 228. as is shown by small phallic pendants or small plaques. 22. made from a monochrome or more rarely a painted sherd (PI. Analysis of the particularly abundant bone industry (Sidera 1994. in: Rapport n° 13. The origin of the practice of thermal treatment must be sought in the Near East. Bracelets" as well as small cylindrical or tubular beads are typical. rubbing tools. cutting plants (sickle inserts). One of the most common types is a bipartite figurine made from two thighs. Decoration is limited either to incisions or impressions. a modelled nose. tle and pig are apparently represented (PI. sawing wood and cutting plants. such as sawing and scraping wood. which are: cutting tools.tern from other sites of this period. The latter are less frequent in the lowest levels. cutting and rubbing tools were treated in this manner. black or dark grey shine which indicates that thermal treatment was used to harden the bones. sickle hafts. n04. all of which are very similar to types from the Levant and Anatolia (PI. Some blades have been shown to combine several uses. 4. ibid. or the torso or the head is found. A function as weights Sheep. such as cutting up meat or fresh bone (knives. 22. The torso and head are then modelled onto the two fixed legs. there are also finely produced marble figurines. and perforating tools. pp. This Near Eastern heritage can also be seen in artefacts such as spoons. This situation must originate from substantial losses. The arms are formed by two short stumps and the breasts by small modelled protuberances. 13). Sidera 1998). 4. 21. Debitage involves either polishers or saws. This is especially visible with the marble figurines (PI. The latter are found in all stages of manufacture.11). but could be related to the very different technology and raw material. The presence of composite artefacts. p. 42-47. Zoomorphic figurines are only made of fired clay and are also very fragmentary. boring and scraping fresh skin (borers. characteristic ornaments include bracelets and rings as well as elements belonging to necklaces (beads and various types of pendant) (PI. scrapers). Since this kind of artefact can even occur in Bulgaria on sites dating to the Karanovo III-IV periods. This type of figurine has provided evidence for deliberate breakage. 1-10). but it is later than the Early Neolithic. The spoons from Kovacevo reflect a total mastery of shapes and cutting techniques. scrapers and geometries. sawing wood (blades). Relatively small examples with "staircase" legs are particularly characteristic of the beginning of the occupation at Kovacevo. sawing methods are quite varied. is a small disk. The presence of a few microburins and microliths such as segments (half-moons with curved back and direct steep retouch) is noteworthy. probably hafted: is noteworthy. pI. which usually have a round section. chisels and hooks. The examples attributed to the Early Neolithic are quadrangular in shape and most are decorated with impressions and excisions. tubular beads. Another very common type of object. 3956) has provided firm evidence in terms of function and technology as well as typology. 12. Several fragments are painted white on red. 22. polishing pottery (blades) etc. from rough-outs often broken during perforation to finished products. II). or sawing wood and cutting up meat (Gurova 1998. are numerous. 1-8). blades and flakes). One of the most notable characteristics of the figurines is their high fragmentation. The fact that the original breaks are always located in the same places even suggests that breakage was deliberate. Several artefacts have a brown. Only one figurine of this type was refitted. 4. and for marble bracelets whose sections are very varied. although the vast majority are broken. 16-17). primitive adzes. 20. Perforating. sometimes covered with a slip and then decorated with incisions or impressions. cutting tools on whole tibias of small ruminants. in: Rapport n? IS. cutting and rubbing tools. A single. A minute "frog" shaped representation (PI. Bone and clay are minority raw materials for ornament manufacture. In the course of time the heads become flatter and the figurines generally increase in size (PI.3 Ornaments Ornaments are an important category of finds at Kovacevo.4 Figurines Over 300 figurine fragments have so far been found (PI. 9-1 OJ. Animal figurines are in the minority. fixed together by a small rod in a perishable material (PI.

in order to be able to relate horizontal and stratigraphic observations. but more work is still required on facies classification and stratigraphic correlation. Study of the malacological material from Kovacevo began in 1999 (Karali 1999. grape and hazelnut. fox. wild cat. Finally. fig. however. They are poorly fired and are not well preserved (PI. 48-50 et 1999. The ritual deposit of a dog during construction of an Early Neolithic house has already been mentioned (Arbogast 1994. notably Sofia-Slatina (Bokonyi 1992).S. raspberry. Rapport n° 2. ranging from general site stratigraphy and erosion problems to the nature of architectural structures. p. This kind of collaboration was necessary because of the specific nature of the site at Kovacevo and notably the absence of burned features. 33-34. pp. 26-32. Rapport n? 14. pp. A large data base has been established (with more than 1200 stratigraphic units identified). pp. cattle occupy the third position. Firstly. obviously refer to work done together with the sedimentologists. Many of the observations mentioned above. pp. It will be recalled that two skeletons of older children date to the Middle Neolithic. Preliminary anthracological analyses (Thiebault 1997. An initial presentation of analalytical principles and results was published after the first five campaigns (Brochier 1994).). Rapport n" 7. p.R. ibid. 1993. further confrontation with the archaeological data is necessary before the sedimentary phasing of the anthropogenic sequence can be elaborated. 40-46). Plants and fruits that were collected include cornel ian cherry. p. 23 Carried out by J.-F. 26-27. three of which were excavated under laboratory conditions in France (Sellier 1992. Wild animals are rare. published by Pernitcheva 1990. with about 14%. while only one burial was examined by an anthropologist on the site (Sellier et Guichard. The seven graves so far found on the site are all of children (cf. The range of species is quite broad. There are also smoothers and polishers made Sling shots characteristically occur on Balkan Early Neolithic sites. Rapport n" 13. Rapport n° 3.-L. loom can perhaps be envisaged. Although preservation conditions are far from favourable at Kovacevo. 21. We indeed hope to be able to draw a maximum number of conclusions about anthropogenic and natural sedimentation on the site. Rapport n° 14. were found either in sondage n° 2 of 1981. 1987. Palaeobotanical analyses are limited by preservation conditions. 126 127 . Rapport n? 12. 1. The bone remains are mostly very fragmentary. The regular presence of animals within the village is also confirmed by the quantity in the sediments of spheroliths from dung (Brochier 1994. bitter vetch and pea. in: Rodden 1962. pollen is practically absent from samples studied so far. I. 20. amongst the wild plants and weeds. 25-27. but also reflects once again destruction of the smallest particles through erosion. 271-274). Rapport n? 10.5% of the remains. or on the surface. a palaeozoological campaign was carried out in 1995 on material of certain Early Neolithic date (Arbogast 1995. in: Gimbutas et alii 1989. some are carbonized. Rapport n? 9. 5 The contribution of natural sciences The study of archaological sediment dynamics" is one of the most innovative contributions of the Kovacevo excavation. Rapport n" 12. 60-62). The very detailed examination undertaken in laboratory conditions by specialists in funerary anthropology aims to look for particularities in the type of deposition and the exact position of the children buried. An apparent concentration of these objects was observed in level 10 of sector E. pp. Achilleion (Bokonyi. Nea Nikomedeia (Higgs. a vessel containing the bones of a very young infant has yet to be analysed. all of which suggests that this is 22 The main excavation produced 30 pintaderas and two additional examples. In addition. 14. wolf. and some show the effects of scavenging by dogs or of other secondary agents. 4). p. hedgehog. snake. aurochs. bear. They are elaborately decorated with geometric motifs (PI. beaver. 42). Rapport n" 10. 25). the available botanical evidence is quite typical of the Early Neolithic. dogs are very rare. since it is no doubt one of the first times that this kind of analysis has been thoroughly integrated with fieldwork. and secondly charcoal is extremely fragmentary. After less disturbed levels were encountered. 18-29).315-332) and Anzabegovo (Bokonyi 1976). pigs represent less than 2 I % and their morphology is already quite distinct from the wild species. Sheep and goat account for about 65% of the remains. Its predominance shows that the soil around Kovacevo was of very high quality. pp. pp. Palaeo-anthropological studies have been undertaken on the five Early Neolithic child burials discovered so far. offers excellent preservation of plant remains. The abundant presence of marine shells on the site is no doubt explained by 24 Coubray-Maccharelli 1987. a damp zone on the banks of the Bistrica (poplar). M and P) and central sectors (K and N) where the natural subsoil has been reached (Fig. Arbogast 1995. pp. etc. 8erger (CN. pp. and the nearby mountains (pine). 627). hare. turtle. Rapport n° 7. The most common pulse is lentil. 44-46) confirm the regular exploitation of several biotopes: the immediate surroundings of the village with a fairly open deciduous oak forest.for a vertical from sherds.) (Spassov 1988. 69-73). The assemblage of clay stamp-seals (pintaderas) from Kovacevo is already one of the richest for the Bulgarian Early Neolithic". baskets etc. Popova 1992. 1988.2. as well as investigating the questions of possible containers (bags. The poor preservation of plant macroremains is certainly a result of the relatively harsh and contrasting continental climate. goat. of which emmer (triticum dicoccum) seems to be the main species. The catalogue of sedimentary facies is now complete and since 1997 particular attention has been paid to the balks in the western (E. pig. For this reason all the fragments of daub (several tons) have been recorded and stored. Rapport n° 8. 11-12). the primary or secondary position of the bones and the existence or not of empty spaces in the grave fill. Marinova 1998. mainly consumption refuse. 32-38). followed by chickpea. pp. Herded animals include all the Neolithic species: sheep. Broehier and J. representing barely 3. Rapport n? 2. 1997. above). which also makes radiocarbon dating difficult. durum wheat (triticum turgidum/durumi and barley (hordeum vulgare) are also present". 23-25. Studies have shown that the cultivated plants are mostly cereals. 31-32).). Rapport n? 3. pp. plum. however (red deer and roe deer make up half the assemblage. but are extremely rare at Kovacevo. Einkorn (triticum monococcum). The burned daub from house walls. Two main forms can be distinguished: conic in pintaderas with circular faces and pintaderas with tenons and rectangular faces. Rapport n? 1. The sections have been described with the same sedimentary code as has been used since the beginning of the excavation for surface recording. p. 32-36. as well as cattle and dog. Faunal analysis was undertaken from the start of the excavation. 26-28. there are several species which indicate agriculture and provide precise information about the climate and the vegetation around the settlement. Preliminary results are comparable to faunal evidence from other Balkan Early Neolithic sites. and initially involved levels in which the Early Neolithic was still partly disturbed by Middle Neolithic and Early Bronze age features (Arbogast 1986. and there are also wild boar. pp.

fig. The groups with white on red painted pottery are characterized by a total predominance of rectilinear motifs. 103. since sufficient quantities of charcoal are very rarely available.5. Although large fragments are rare. figs.8). parallel lines and ladder motifs. The best analogies are from a few sites in western Bulgaria. as is illustrated by the stratified sites of Galabnik (Pavuk/Cochadziev 1984. with group C. Todorova/Vajsov 1993. 2) and some of the material found on the site of Elesnica. such as triangles. 1. also Stefanova 1996. F. annular-based beakers with an extensive painted style of hatched triangles (PI. which must correspond to the last period of the Early Neolithic. I and 2). It can also be stressed that no other stratified site of this kind. 38-42). 15 and 16). fig. These dates. such as the eponymous site of Karanovo (Georgiev 1961.12). 21. Whilst decoration with "positive/negative" effect is also present on sites such as Galabnik (in the first level with white on red painted pottery) (Pavuk/Cochadziev 1984. as we have seen. Two samples have been dated by the Lyon university laboratory". 46 and 48) and Youra (Sampson 1998. The stratigraphic sequence is a further element which makes Kovacevo one of the key sites. discussed earlier. Rapport n" 5. Additional land and river species complete the list. In period Ic a dominant style can once again be observed. include more closed forms which are therefore only decorated on the outside. Group G. 1994). Rhodops (Macanova 2000. rings. 3 and 4). Other vessels probably corresponding to relatively tall. fig. Cf. fig. Azmak (Georgiev 1967. are reminiscent of certain vessels from the site of Rakitovo in the western 25 By J. classified as group A. Spondylus gaederopus. 13).C. Kapitan Dimitrijevo (Detev 1950. Brinna 1985. fig. 36 et 37. Nevertheless. fig. Other features. 31. while the published vessels from the eponymous site of Karanovo (HillerlNikolov 1997) do not appear to have this very characteristic decoration. As a general rule the lines are rather fine and simple curvilinear motifs are extremely rare. 83 and 84. Nevetheless the directors of the project are convinced that the investment was absolutely necessary. In general the forms are open. which differs from the classic definition of a tell. fig. This pottery. the fragments are larger and carination is generally more common. I). pI. Nikolov. at Kovacevo.3) could well fit into this context. 102. as far as we know. Hopefully the. 19. Cardium and Unio. 10-12. Also the imported vessel of "Cavdar" type (PI. Some comparable traits occur on sites like Kramici (Tchochadzjiev/Bakamska 1990. are unique in the Early Neolithic of the region. unlike the groups described previously. however. fig. Forms are either open with decoration on both sides (group E) or more closed with decoration only on the outside (groups F and G). A considerable effort has been made in recent campaigns to obtain further charcoal samples for radiocarbon dating. 2) belongs also to this context. black and polished and occasionally decorated with fine grooves. The analogies in south-west Bulgaria are very tenuous. which occur particularly frequently.5. is completely original and it is currently impossible to suggest comparisons with finds from excavations in neighbouring regions. which as a general rule has both internal and external decoration (PI. in the upper Mesta valley. ibid. since a whole range of questions and a general research design could only have been defined through extensive excavation and very careful recording of features and finds.6. II. 6. Hiller/Nikolov 1997. pI. 28 For example. this tradition is replaced by dark paint on a light background and trichrome pottery of Starcevo type. 7. "27 Oral information from V. There are as yet very few radiocarbon dates. fig. The oven from house 216 in sector K (str. has been excavated in the region over such an extensive area and with such detailed recording. are quite like some Sesklo" decorations and more especially decoration on the Sporadic islands. 6 Kovacevo and its importance in the Balkan Early Neolithic It will have emerged from the discussion of work on the architectural remains that Kovacevo is far from being a classic settlement site. fig. these shells also represented a high quality raw material for the making of ornaments such as bracelets. 2). the excavation in fact turned out to be extremely difficult. fig. 4) and Drenkovo (Dimitrov 1996. quantities and qualities will prove sufficient to produce coherent dates for the beginning of the occupation at Kovacevo. Nikolov 1991. apparently offers some strong points of comparison as well". 6-10. Dated between 5590 and 5410 B. match the date previously obtained by palaeo-magnetism. Achilleion (Gimbutas 1989.4. 10). and G (PI. The imported vessel of "Krernikovci" type (PI. It can be stressed that there is no comparable pottery throughout northern Greece. 128 129 . Nevestino (Genadieva 1990. 5) or Tsani (Waceffhompson 1912. 1983. Evin and his team. The nature of the paint and the colours also recalls the material from these sites. 17) was dated in this manner (Kovacheva 1990. pp. either in Bulgaria. or in the plain of Sofia. one still hesitates to set up closer links with this site as its pottery is otherwise quite different". fig. for example at Cavdar (Georgiev 1981. whilst in the northern Struma valley. fig. Besides their interest as food. 4.. such as the very extensive decoration with "positive-negative" effect. The group D vessels (PI.9) are the only ones to offer parallels with sites of the Karanovo I culture in Bulgarian Thrace. 7h) and Muldava (Detev 1968. Clearly. The pottery from the last Early Neolithic level at Kovacevo thus indicates the presence of a particular and original cultural group maintaining for longer the tradition of white on red painting. Pavuk/Bakamska 1989. Paviik/Bakamska 1989) or Sapareva Banja (Georgiev et alii 1986). 6830±85 BP (LY 6554) and 6760±160 BP (LY 6553). The chequered motifs. figs. A great deal of painted pottery was found in the layers belonging to the end of the Early Neolithic (Kovacevo Id) which were heavily disturbed by large Middle Neolithic pits (and underfloor spaces). 8. fig. it should belong to the period corresponding to Karanovo II in Bulgarian Thrace. II and III). 12. notably on the sites of Agios Petros (Efstratiou 1985. 8) or "metopes" (PI. 19.86. does not have any parallels in Bulgaria. White paint on a red background is predominant. 6. whose significance reaches far beyond the middle Struma valley. 2. further to the east. 5 and 6). pI. In the recent publication of Tao 2000.the proximity in the Early Neolithic of the Struma gulf and thus the Aegean. Certain vessels of this group (PI. fig. this period also sees the appearance of a relatively rare pottery type. II. there are however some traits which can be linked typologically also to the later periods of Kovacevo (Ic and Id). 26 It is much heavier. The main species determined are Glycimeris glycimeris. fig. pendants. This is the first time in the Balkan Early Neolithic that the presence of underfloor spaces has been clearly shown. 65-67). In the underlying layers (Kovacevo Ib) there are vessels provisionally attributed to groups E. the painted pottery from the Kovacevo Id period generally reflects a marked regionaiization or even a certain isolation at the end of the Early Neolithic. pI. fig. this style is standardised to such an extent that it is very easy to recognize. such as Dobriniste (NikolovlRadeva 1992) or Nevestino (Genadieva 1991. ibid. Greece or Macedonia. 5 and 7. recalling the pottery production from Karanovo II (Georgiev 1961). fig. 14). 4. 5. which can also be attributed to the period Kovacevo Ic. hemispheric and stand on a cylindrical annular base. I and 2. and beads. with its undulating lines painted in the same colour as the background.

I. 1994.7. In: Hiller. Pan. Bauhorizont I. Lichardus et alii 1985). but they form straight motifs. bases are flat. with exclusively geometric motifs consisting of very narrow lines and rows of small round dots.). Chrysostomou.135-146. Hell. 1. 130 131 . 31 Rodden 1962. In: Gimbutas. p.. 118. I. Eine vorlaufige Mitteilung uber die Tierknochenfunde von Sofiu-Slatina. Undulating lines painted white do occur. Acta Prahist. at Nea Nikornedcia" and especially at Giannitsa". Bintliff.40. 119-134. This issue could be addressed when there are more data from north-western Turkey for this period. there are on the other hand firm analogies and similarities in the economic and ideological data (burial practices). Archaiologiko Ergo sti Makedonia kai Thraki lOA.Conclusions .. 1996 (1997). Ser.und Diminikultur Thessaliens (Mainz 1985). Die agaische Fruhzeit (2. Genadieva 1991. to the Anatolian regions of origin. Balcanica 23.lNikolov. 4. 10. cf. Aslanis. V.1993 (1997).2. Kovacevo clearly does not take part in the general development observed in neighbouring regions to the west and north-west. Hung. ibid. 17 and 18).). Bokonyi. Brochier. (edit. where the Starcevo culture emerges.).. also Alram-Stern 1996. ibid. It appears however that early levels of Kovacevo have produced pottery which is earlier than the Karanovo I culture as it is defined in Bulgarian Thrace. It is still too early to establish in which directions these relations operated. they must only have taken place. 32 Chrysostomou 1992.. Band: Das Neolithikum in Griechenland mit Ausnahme von Kreta und Zypern (Wien 1996). rian Thrace cannot be ruled out.1991 (1994). 389-392. fig. Bokonyi. Pan. as relations open up towards the north and above all the north-east (Mesta valley and western Rhodops). as well as in the general material culture..Prospects. 7 Bibliography Alram-Stern. and from southern Albania in the west to European Turkey in the east. H. Vrsnik). 2 (BudapestI989a) 9-12. in a later period (Kovacevo Id). Oi neolithikes ereynes stin poli kai tin eparchia Giannitson kata to 1991 (Neolithic excavation in the city and the area of Giannitsa in 1991). I (Los Angeles 1976). layer Ib (Gimbutas 1976. (edit. Chrysostomou. Tell Karanovo und das Balkan-Neolithikum (SalzburgI989b) 65-81. 0 neolithikos oikismos ton Giannitson B (The neolithic settlement of Giannitsa B). at Anzabegovo. A. pI. I.39. 1997. 1996). The styles termed "Cavdar" and "Kremikovci" (Nikolov 1991. 5. 7).. Natural Environment and Human Settlement in Prehistoric Greece. Imported vessels at Kovacevo are extremely rare and the most eloquent examples (PI.4. Archaiologiko Ergo sti Makedonia kai Thraki 3. In fact as more sites are discovered.8. There are no annular bases. XVII. Neolithic Macedonia. 1994. Kovacevo might well turn out to be as close as other Aegean Early Neolithic sites. These few comparisons show that the beginnings of the occupation at Kovacevo are characterized by pottery with affinities more to the regions to the south and west.. in which dark paint on a light background as well as trichrome decoration become determining features. 1994. Die Stellung Zentralmakedoniens im Rahmen der Kommunikationswege des Balkan mit dem Suden. and at Veluska Tumba'".42. J. Etude de la sedimentation anthropique. 5. Yiouni 1996.159-172. Chrysostomou.5. fig. ibid. 199-220. 19. S. In south-west Bulgaria only a very few relatively isolated examples of sherds are known". Sites like Hoca Cesme (Ozdogan 1993) or Asagi Pmar (Parzinger/Ozdogan 1995) at least reveal that Turkish Thrace was not unoccupied. ibid. Neolithic of Southeastern Europe and its Near Eastern Connections. Die rotbemalte Keramik und der Anfang der Starcevo-Kultur. The considerable variability in stylistic expressions would support this and speaks in favour of the existence of numerous and successive direct relations between Asia Minor and the European continent. Kovacevo is really part of a regional facies that extends from Greek western Macedonia in the south (Nea Nikomedeia.5..3) come from the north (northern Struma valley or Sofia basin). cf. 1992. 29-45. Giannitsa) to the Ovce Pole in the north (Anzabegovo. and rather more comparisons can be made either in the Republic of Macedonia. 2) or Id (PI. Arch. 3) at the earliest. Forschungsbericht 1975-1993). 3. 5. Bull. (edit.1. Die verzierte Keramik der Sesklo. 2. Monumenta Arch. ibid. Brinna. Report on Work Completed . 1995) can thus be synchronised with Kovacevo periods Ic (PI. 19. It is extremely difficult to find comparable material. La strategic des ethnofacies sedimentaires en milieu de constructions en terre. Das Neolithikum und das Chalkolithikum im Nordgriechischen Raum. 24. Varia Arch.245-247. The Vertebrate Fauna from Anza. cf. XIX. pI.. Neolithic settlement of the former coastal zone of the Tennaic Gulf. 111-124.. Typical vessels have flat bases and are only decorated on the outside... 25). 19. Aslanis. is indeed convincingly logical (Demoule 1993. L. Southeast-Yougoslavia. 0 neolithikos oikismos Giannitson B (The neolithic settlement at Yannitsa B'). Kovacevo is much more related to the eastern domain. in der Vorgeschichte unter dem Einfluss sei- Bakarnska. BAR Int. Through its preference for white paint on a red background. 1989 (1992). S.The earliest pottery (Kovacevo Ia) corresponds to stylistic groups H and I (PI. Corr. As reflected by Excavation at Anza. ChrysostomoulChrysostomou 1993. 1. so the possible existence of direct routes between Anatolia and Bulga29 For example at Nevestino (A) near Kjustendil. M. Pan. thus rather significant differences occur on this site in the painting style and organization of the motifs. E./Pavuk. the situation involving the broad family of Balkan Early Neolithic cultures becomes increasingly complicated.. In the earliest period. or in Greek western Macedonia. S. If ever there were direct contacts between Kovacevo and Karanovo I in Bulgarian Thrace. 32. which interconnect these phenomena from the Aegean coast in the south to Hungary in the north. A small group of vessels (group H) is decorated with zigzag lines and the "W" motif. from the structural point of view. and that this appears to change in the course of time. to judge from the pottery styles. Die kulturelle Stellung Zentralmakedoniens ner Naturgrenzen.. 28 (Oxford 1977). Acta Mus. Archaiologiko Ergo sti Makedonia kai Thraki 5. 313-363. fig. J. 0.619-645. that of the Karanovo I culture (Nikolov 1995. If this view were to be accepted. Washburn 1984. In. S. It has yet to be proven that the two groups are strictly contemporary. Chrysostomou.2 and 13. J. Archaiologiko Ergo sti Makedonia kai Thraki 7. I. Napoc. 30 SimoskalSanev 1975. fig. Serie. Whilst pottery styles are relatively distinct and reveal small.1992. Pan. Aslanis. 1995. and not just in the Middle Neolithic (in European terminology.35. quite particular regional groups. Bokonyi. pp. To see a region covering northern Greece and south-west Bulgaria as already belonging to the same cultural entity as far back as the Early Neolithic. I. The red and very dark brown-red colours of the vessel surfaces are typical.

pres du village de Kovacevo D. 12. 561-618. site V. Le vallee du Strymon . Kulturgruppen de Laet (edit. D. entre la Mcditerranee I. Muz. J. Kovacevo: or de pologika de l'un des plus anciens villages MAN (Paris 1989) 33-37. selista ot dolinata NBU 2-3. ancien 2.). Praehist.139-159. Die neolithische Siedlung bei Cavdar. Stip toric Bulgaria. (Odzaci 1975). Barutnica kaj Amzibegovo vo Makedonija. J...lNikolov.). M.. Stud. Praistoriceski nachodki i izsledvanija. Praehist. V.. Univ. Inst. K. 1993a) 69- G. 1950. Arch. G. Hiller. Muz. Sbornik I. prelirninairc). 15-53.lCauvin. La Protohistoire La Nouvelle de l'Europe.lNikolova.-P. (Liege Gurova. und Kupferzeit in der Ebene von Thrazien.1960/61. 1994.lShimabuku. Die Grabung des Balkans. Nikolov (edit. R. A. A Neolithic Settlement in Thessaly. Periodisierung In: S. Archaiologiko F.. Yougoslavia.. Demoule. vols. In: Bailey. V. Dissert. 241 (Oxford und das Problem I. Predistoriska 1973). Gimbutas. Fouilles franco-bulgares du site neolithique ancien de Kovacevo In: Le premier 1.. Prehistoric ancien des Balkans. I.). In: 3. V. Efstration. Arch.1-252. A.227-238.IKulova.). 1980. M. M. Arch. Depart. P. Excavations W. (Sofia V. 1948.. 1986-2001. Novootkriti seliste pri selo Muldava. N... (edit.1996.IKonstantinopoulou.Chrysostomou. 1932. Monumerua Arch. 1939). Research S. de Paris I. Ena pro- Ergo sti Makedonia kai Thraki 6.. 1992 (1995). School PrehisL fivot v mestnosta Res.. 1-16. Die neolithische Siedlung Kremenik bei Bez. 799-808. Prahistorische Siedlungen 1989). I. Gaul. 1991. Le Neolithi1985). Zbornik Nar.1993b.1-17.une route au Neolithique v pamet na Prof. 1998) 143-158.-P.IWinn./Fotiadis. 1976). Bulgarian Monogr. Monogr. M. Slikana kerarnika sa lokaliteta Donja Branjevina kod Deronja (Odzaci 1968). and her surrounding Area). 1. Plovdiv na Gorna Struma. Banja. rannoneolitni Godisnik Nar.5-18. kai Thraki 4. de l'Europe. Un site du Ncolithiquc 11112.lGarasanin. 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Stud. vallee de la Struma (Strymon). Bulga85 franco-bulgare en Bulgarie... Comrnunautes du Proche-Orient 11l'Atiantique avant notre ere). M. 94. Praistoriceskoto Dimitrov. 22 (Madison 1995).. Bohrn/S. 132 133 . ERAUL J.lGrembska-Kulova. Heurtley. D. 1968.. Macedonia. Georgiev.. M.62-67. Anatolie evolutive Kongress 1980 Wien (Sofia 1984) 75-87.lPanayotov. Georgi ancien? In: Nikolov. Selisnata Karmanski.-P. Fouille l'Hurnanite Demoule. zum Neolithikum et les Balkans: in Sudosteuropa La logique (Wien 2000) 253-262. Corr.. Eurasia (southeast of Mesolithic in south-eastern 11la fin de l'Age de la pierre (Prague der neolithischen und bronzezeitlichen 1961) 45-100. I. Lichardus-Itten. Grebska-Kulowa. Southeast- of Neolithic Sites at Giannitsa 169-186. 209-224. rie sud-occidentale. M. bulgares Demoule. Greece.. 2. Problems of the Early Neolithic Bd.un etablissement villageoises du Neolithique Ie plus (Wien 2000) Heurtley. I.. Dikili Tash.5600 BC. M.63-109. In: 1. Anatolica 19. Plovdiv 2. 14 (Los Angeles Grammenos. S. des Neolithikums im Tal der Struma (Siidwest-Bulgarien). I (Los Angeles As reflected by Excavation at Anza. Bull. (edit.lKorosec. Detev.1-12.IGurova.. 3: Beitrage Demoule. Rapports des fouilles neolithiques franco- J. Izvestija Arch. der jungsteinzeitlichen Aegean Relationships during Koukouli-Chrysanthaki. I. Anthro- Grammenos. 108-151. H. Prehis(communication Thracia 3. M. Kjustendil der Jungstein- 3. M. S. The Neolithic Genadieva.l Aslanis. M. Arheologiceski Izvestija danni za poselisten "Mosteni" que et Ie Chalcolithique Lichardus. (edit. Neolithikes ereynez et Giannitsa kai etni Periochi Toyz Gimbutas. 155-163. Karanovo in Sudosteuropa dans la vallee du Strymon. Ch. Kovacheva. World Arch. gramma 561-575.. In: Hiller. 1992. In: Guilaine. In: Otte.). A Neolithic site in the Northern Sporades. ellinoboulgarikis BAR 1nL Ser... Prehistoire Genese de deux mondes. Omamentika P. Apo tous proistorikous oikismous tis Anatolikis Makedonias 2. 1981. 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Perles. 73. N. (edit. Vinca and Anatolia: of Near Eastern Y. de Franchthi (Argolide. Times (Krakow Stefanova... Periodizacija na neolita v jugozapadna Balgarija. 1-22..lOzbaran Anatolica A new look at a very old problem tradition).Lichardus-Itten. In: Hiller. L'Bakamska. Kustendil. Prehist.. Outils et armes en os de Mallaha. zur gemaiten Ornamentierung auf den Tongefassen aus Cavdar (Gruppe lyse de l'industrie Prehistoire mondes. V. 21. 1984. 1-14. A. dans Ie Neolithique d'Anatolie.5-10. neolithique ancien. In: 1995) fruhneolithischen Nikolov. Parzinger. 1994. Sidera.1977. Acta Arch.lRadeva. 1992. Godisnik A. Nikolov. V. Sbornik 1993) 59-68.).). Nica.). and "Karanovo 1996.. H. BSA 93. 185-208. 3: Beitrage from Delnicite near Elesnica. 53-57. at the Early Neolithic vrchu rannoneolitni i izsledvanija. Youra.. 195-228. British School Athens V. The Early Neolithic Karanovo Bd. sadove ot Balgarija. Paviik. von Anatolien nach Mitteleuropa.lMiyake. J.1992. Bokonyi. travaux centre de recherche francais Jerusalem 6 (Paris from the perspective Ozdogan. in Eastern 19. Prehistoric Cultures I. Arheologija Ozdogan. na dolinata na r. 1998. proche-orientale M. Interdisz.. kerarnicni v pamet Soc.. V (edit. ERAUL Simoska. I. (edit. Mellaart.. Tchohadzjiev. R. Die Ausgrabungen zwischen Anatolien in Kirklareli (Turkiscn- Thrakien) und ihre Bedeutung bis zur Frtihbron- ramik aus der friihneolithischen (SW-Bulgarien). 1990.lOzdo!.fDemoule. 59- Ber. variant 32.59-121. World Arch. season).P. Tellsiedlung bei Gl!Il!bnik in Westbulgarien. Dacia N.. Arch. Excavations Proc. 27-50. zezeit. H.231-242.. (edit. M. Bemerkungen Kremikovci). Sofia 17. Nikolov.lNikolov.Antidoron der stidwestlichen Dragoslavo Srejovic Variante (Beograd (Sofia Srejovicu T. village in northern 1961-1964. 1983). 99-140. Nikolov. Beitrage zu den Beziehungen Keramik der zwischen Vorderasien und Sudosteuropa aufgrund der Perniceva.. 142-196. der Ausgrabung Neolithic Anatolica 19.lSanev. 1975. Rannoneolitno V. V. Greece K. 2-3. Cave. als Teil der StraBe Acta Praeh. I. und Chronologie. Praehist. 1996. Vrazki 7. Zur bema Iten KeS.lNikolov.lNikolov. S. Periodisierung Dragoslavu V. 1990. Sliwa.lKulov. 32..25-88. NBU Annu. Archeologija Sofia 28. 1962. (edit.. An interim zurn Neolithikum in Stidosteuropa (Wien 2000) 51-57. Nikolov.. 19. S.. Arch. DemoulelLichardus-Itten R. (edit. Stordeur.. 17-32.. von Kovacevo in Sudosteuropa Stratigraphie M.. 22. Le site de Kovatchevo.. Dede. Siedlung L. terdisciplinaren Nikolov Bulgarien.. 134 135 . 1995.. Jugozapaden V.) bemalten FluBtal Neolithic aus dem Zentralbalkan. Sampson. Alonnessos. In: Nikolov. Nea Nikomedeia 1: The Suppl. H. Valley in Prehistoric.). Rakitovo.7-18. Toptepe M. A Comparative I Horizon" Analysis of Pottery from the "Monochrome Early Neolithic Porocilo Horizon" 23. 5 (Indianopolis L. Ancient M.). In: Jacobsen. Polichromno V. S. elements osseuse. Bulgaria.). M. Uzdarje Nikolov. Godisnik Depart. 2 (Budapest Nikolov.) 1986-2001. H. NBU I. (edit. 10. Stud. RGK 76. Nouvelles (edit. Greece.. L. Varia Arch. I. Keramik 13-53. Report of Excavations at Yanmburgaz and Tao. W. I.. J. Pottery Mem. Mac.). 3: Beitrage zum Neolithikum in Sudosteuropa (Wien 2000) in Galabnik of Southeastern zur Erforschung Europe Stidosteuropa. In: Bokonyi. Ljubljana na rannoneolitnoto Sofia 34..51-76. Georgi I.. In: Hiller. Razlozko. Monogr. The Neolithic V. Structures excavation vol.S. (edit. (edit.. naselba Veluska tumba kaj Bitola. 1991. J. S. 1-8. Mesta s Anatolija prez rannija neolit. 3 Beitrage Neolithische Karanovo J. 1989) 191-199. Praehist. Hung. Pernitcheva.. ornamentacija nachodki Razkopki i proucvanija 25. der Kultur Karanovo 1997) 139-145. V. Nikolov. Neolithische 1989) 223-231. J. 2. Varia Arch.. ziliste risuvana Praistoriceski ot Slatina (Sofija). 1984. Nikolov. 173-193. Greek Macedonia (1961 V.5-29. Bd. M. Excavations at Hacilar (Edinburgh 1970). V. and architecture.. Beitrag der Protostarcevo-Kultur. Site at Nea Nikomedea.. Napoc. d'origine In: Otte. Beitrag Pavuk. Risuvanata Arch. fur die Kulturbeziehungen und dem Balkan Yom Neolithikum zum Neolithikum Siedlung bei (Wien 2000).fDomaradzki.. and the Problems of the Neolithization of Bulgaria.. cf. Neolitska M. 1990. seliste v Dobriniste. na Prof. 28. M. Izsled. Bd.247-266.. 15-38. The lower Strurnesnica und Chronologie . G.lPerniceva. C. Nouveaux 85 (Liege D. 267 -288. na kultura Karanovo I. Nikolov. zur Definition A. Depart. W. Arheologija Sofia 38.9-24. 1988). Karanovo V. Das S.269-282... (edit. and Mesolithic Occupation of the Cave of Cyclope. 2 (Budapest Paviik.lPanayotov. In: Rodden. J. Pernicheva. I. 5. 1991. Die ornamentale der bemalten friihneolithischen aus der Ebene von Sofia. ancien d'Oltenie. Slovenska Arch. A. In: Hiller.). dans Ie dcparternent de Blagoevgrad. Stud. (Madison Struma of Southeastern Europe and its Near Eastern Connections. L. ancien balkanique: Genese de deux Ana- I.). Grece). Excava- tions at Franchthi 2. in the Middle Prehistoric Struma Valley: Neolithic and Eneolithic. (edit. ancien de Kramitsi dans Ie departement de Thrace.1993. J.1986. Greece. Etude du site neolithique 10. donnees sur Ie Neolithique Verzierung V.lBakl!mska. za centralnobalkanskite migracionni patista prez rannija neolit: In- Problemat pochod. K. des Neolithikums in Macanova. Stud. In: D. Anatolica (or redefining Vinca Culture D. In: 1998) 215-239. Les industries taillees M. 1994. 1987). V. 17.. 1993. 1995. Ancient and Medieval V./Wardle. 1987.lGrembska-Kulova. V. Acta Mus.lMaslarov. V.) and its Near Eastern Connec- tions. T.5-163. (Sofia Rodden. Bayley. M. Nikolov. 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Siebenbiirgen. British School Athens Suppl. 136 137 . Eine friihneolithische Kultur mit bemalter Keramik der Vor-Starcevo-Zeit Baciului. J. vol. K. 51-56.2. Arch. A. A Study of the Red on Cream and Cream on Read Designs on Early Neolithic Ceramics from Neo Nikomedeia. 307-324. General view of the site and excavation at Kovacevo... 29. American Journ.203-216. Slovenska Arch.1972.Todorova.1981. 88. Zdravkovski. Prehistoric Thcssaly (Cambridge 1912). I. In: Rodden. 1984. N. in in Cluj-Gura Washburn. Nea Nikomedeia 1: The excavation of an early Neolithic village in northern Greece 1961-1964. PI. J.174-197. Novokamcnnata epocha v Balgarija (Sofia 1993).. Aerial view of the excavation at Kovacevo in September 2000. Vlassa. 47. BJrhompson. Yiouni. 1987-1989 (1990).lWardle. P. Zeitschr. 1. 25 (London 1996) 55-193... Za granicite na anzabegovo-vrsniekata kulturna grupa vo sredniot ncolit. Prahist. D. I. K.). Mac. M. (edit. R. H.. Das Chronologiesystem von Karanovo im Lichte der neuen Forschungsergebnisse Bulgarien. PI. I. Todorova. A.. The Early Neolithic Pottery. II.Najsov. S. D. Wace. Acta Arch. H.

. Kovacevo... Post hole surrounded by a ring of beton de terre._ ". 2. 334) in sector E.-'I -. 970) filled with stones and sherds and its limit (scales) on the NW side. 1. 2. 2. Kovacevo._. Kovacevo. 3. PI. Carbonated floor (str.. The scales indicate the ~~ientat'ion of the interruptions (walls ?). Pit (str. 216) in sector K. 138 139 . 1. •. . Remains of the burned house (str. 2. PI. PI. Kovacevo.-_ . 3. sector E.PI.

2. str. Kovacevo. concretion floors of house 1714 in sector E. 2199 on the left).T PI. 2055 in the background on the right. 1. I. on the left. 5. 2. orientation Superposed of the walls. str. The scales indicate the 140 141 . PI. 4. Kovacevo. Kovacevo. background Sector K with the steeply tilting concretion floors of three houses (Sir. 4. Section through house 2034 in sector K. Kovacevo. 2034 in the PI. 5. Section through collapsed floors in the "underfloor space" of house 617 in sector M. the floors and concretion layers sloping towards the centre of PI.

pits and trenches are dug into the geological substratum. PI. The entrance is in the wall to the soutb-east. Kovacevo. The post holes in the interior are later. tated SW-NE belong to two different buildings. . Kovacevo. Circular oven on a stone base (str. 1. 7. The lines of posts orien- PI. 6. Kovacevo. deeply The walls were made of posts. 6. 7. Kovacevo. General view of sector A at the end of the 2000 season. 1. 2. 143 . 249) in sector A. 2. South-east part of house 1730 in sector E. PI. The post holes. wattle and daub. 142 .PI. Sector M after removal of the last layer.

Kovacevo. 374). KOB 93 SECT" E STR. buried in semi-seated position in (bag or basket ?) in sector E. 8. I. a container Skeleton of a child 8 to 9 months old (str. found in secondary position in sector K. orientated E-W. {~ . I Kovacevo. . The "canal" in sector N. 144 145 . 9. Kovacevo. The ditch used for controlling reinforced with beton. 2. 374 PI. water Skeleton of a child 10 to 12 months old (str. and its dam in front of the river bed (in the background on the right) PI. 149). 8. Kovacevo. de terre. 9. PI. 2. \j.-'-1.-. PI.

deliberately figurine placed beneath a house PI. 10. White on red painted pottery (stylistic group A) (1:3). A marble domestic dog (str. 146 147 . 561). II. Kovacevo.~. E " STR. anthropomorphic was found underneath the bones. 561 3 4 5 8 11 12 ~::~" . (foundation Bones of an elderly rite ?). 2.\ · ·KOB 94 SECT. Kovacevo. 13 f_9 14 15 PI.

148 IJ 14 PI. Kovacevo. 12. 149 ./ I~ I I~\ 2 5 4 ~::6 II 5 9 /PI. White on red or brown-red painted pottery (stylistic group C) (1:3). 13. White on red painted pottery (stylistic group 8) (I :3). Kovacevo.

150 151 . Kovacevo . groups E (16-18) PI. 15. White on red painted pottery (stylistic group D) (1:3).14 I . . 14. Wh·t e or cream on red or brown-red painted pottery of stylistic and F (1-15) (1:3). PI. Kovacevo.

PI..~- . Kovacevo. White on dar k re d painted pottery (stylistic group H) (1:3).\/IP~ I_~ Ct" 5.I s----~. Tone on tone decorated group G (1:3). 9 ) . 152 . red on red or beige) of stylistic PI. .m .. Kovacevo.I~\r) '*14 13 153 . pottery (b rown on brown. 17. 10 r.) ( II) 1=\ 11 I-----.I 1~\lJ . 16.

Fragment of a vessel decorated with an "Anatolian" motif.( CJ 3 . typical of productions from the Sofia dark brown-red ( PI. typical of from the Sofia plain (Cavdar). Kovacevo.2. 19. "_"_ __ on beige.. Kovacevo. Kovacevo. White on dark red painted 154 10 ~----. 18. F) 4 PI. 155 . PI.. s 6 7 r!!! 8 9 PI. 1.. pottery (stylistic group I) (1:3). 3. productions Fragments of a vessel painted brown and white on a red background. 19. 19.-. Vessel painted plain (Kremikovci). Kovacevo.

'f~ I. 21. - k. 157 . Shell. stone and clay ornaments (1-17) and fired clay pintaderas (18-29) (1:2). sling shots (11-12) and unperforated 156 10 disk on a white on red PI. -~ --~J PI. (1-10). !' L· f· ! I Scm 'L L. )j I." . I ""~ e.(e e . 20.'" r: ~1 . ~ . Kovacevo. Bone industry painted sherd (13) (1:2).!: .:I { \< I~~ 4 '. 8 I :r. Kovacevo. :- .

I \ . / "_ . 13 ~... ~".. \ 10 11 '.'. 18- 158 . I' /0" "/ " .~ 14 ~-~-~ IS 17 PI.' ~ 12 .U~ _(' a- / ' 1 \ . Kovacevo. -.~. 22. (18-22) figurines in fired clay (1-15. Anthropomorphic (1-17) and zoomorphic 22) and marble (16-17) (I :2).

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