Topic ID #24304 - posted 10/26/2012 2:58 AM




(YU.EXC 13)

Project description: In the seventh millenium BC the Balkan Peninsula was a gate through which farming, animal husbandry and generally Neolithisation spread to Europe from Anatolia and the Near East. App. 1000 years later in the very beginning of the fifth millennium BC prehistoric population in Central and Eastern Balkans turned known metal-processing technologies into an industry for the first time in human history (The World oldest copper mines are found near Rudna glava, Serbia and Mechi kladenets/Ai bunar near Stara Zagora, Bulgaria). Archaeological evidence shows that in the fifth millennium BC these prehistoric cultures enjoyed a constant raise of population and wealth meanwhile experiencing social stratification due the intensive trade with metal products, salt and other goods with the rest of prehistoric Europe and Asia. These Balkan Copper age cultures had all characteristics of the first civilizations including: the very first urban settlements in Europe (Tell Yunatsite, Durankulak and Provadia in Bulgaria), dense network of settlements, “industrial” proportions of production of goods, esp. metal products and salt, developed trade, distinguished social and professional stratification, pictograms and characters interpreted by some scholars as the World’oldest script (Gradeshnitsa tablet for instance dates back to the sixth or early fifth millennium BC) as well as precious artifacts made of gold, pottery, bone and stone (the World oldest gold treasure found in the Varna Copper age necropolis). This very first civilization in Europe was Pre-Indo-European and emerged for not more a millennium covering large parts of the Balkans, NW Anatolia and Eastern Europe. It collapsed around the end of the fifth millennium under the pressure of both drastic climatic changes and invasion of Early Indo-Europeans. The period of study of this very first civilization in Europe has been quite short - about 40 years have passed, since the excavation of the Varna Copper age necropolis brought to light the first certain evidences about its existence. Nowadays scholars from all over the World are still discovering new facts and adding new data about the “lost” first civilization in Europe.
The RISE AND FALL OF THE FIRST EUROPEAN "CIVILIZATION" 2013 PROJECT envisions further excavation of the following:
  1. the Early/Middle Copper age structures: foundations of a dwelling and a high number of ovens, found along with numerous artifacts (weapons, Spondylus jewels, decorated fineware pottery, shards marked by characters/pictograms) in 2012 when the excavation of 1939-trench was restarted. All of them belong to the earliest tell layers excavated so far. The area provides an amazing opportunity for all field school participants to study textbook clear stratigraphy, to practice all basic excavation techniques in the field and to look through centuries of the everyday life of the Copper age inhabitants of Tell Yunatsite. The objective: to continue exploring in depth the earliest stages of tell's history.
  2. the sector where the segment of prehistoric fortification wall and ditch were uncovered. The objective: to gain further data about the structure of the earliest fortification of the Copper age settlement (optional).
The field school project has two versions: Standard (two weeks) and Extended (three weeks) available in 2013. Both project versions include following three modules: fieldwork including excavation, maintaining a field journal on a daily basis, filling context sheets and labels, drawing an elevation plan/ a ground plan/ a cross-section, 3D positioning of finds, taking coordinates with a level device, and taking photographs at the site; lectures, workshops and field trainings in Prehistoric and Field Archaeology, Finds' processing and Documentation as well as excursions to various cultural and archaeological sites in the region such as the ancient town of Plovdiv. Participants who join the Extended Field School Project will be able to train and develop further skills and competences regarding the field work and finds processing gained during the intensive first two-week course and to attend a pair of extra lectures, workshops and an excursion to Stara Zagora and the Museum of the Europe' best preserved Neolithic (5600 BC) dwellings.

Dates: Standard Field School Project: 20 July–3 August, 2013

           Extended Field School Project:  20 July-10 August, 2013

Special requirements: The project is is not recommended for individuals with solar allergies or other special illnesses that might be exacerbated during the intensive outdoor activities. The average summer temperatures in the area are 28-38 C or higher. All participants should bring clothes and cosmetics suitable for hot and sunny weather. All participants are expected to have some (at least theoretical) background in archaeological field techniques and methods. Participants will use the tools and equipment available at the site and are not expected to bring any additional equipment.

Cost: Admission Fee - €1,249 (app. $1,590) for the Standard Project including all educational and fieldwork activities, travel to and from the fieldwork venues, full-board accommodation, administrative costs, Project Handbook, issue of Certificate of Attendance and excursions/sightseeing tours/entrance fees. Discounts off the admission fee are available in case of: 1) AIA membership; 2) Participation in more than 1 BH project or project session in 2013; 3) Small Groups (two or three people, who participate in a BH project in 2013); 4) Larger Groups (four or more people, who participate in a BH project in 2013).

Contact Information
Ms. Anna Parmakova - Admission / Balkan Heritage Field School
204 Sveta Troitsa str.
Stara Zagora, BG-6004
Phone: +359 877 725 057, +359 888 165 402


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