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Prehistory Hall

The Prehistory Hall is on the ground floor of the northern wing in the museum building. The chronological frame the exhibition covers the Paleolithic, the Neolithic, the Chalcolithic (Copper Age), the Early and the Middle Bronze Age (1,600,000 - 1,600 years BC) in the Bulgarian territories. From a historical point of view this is the longest period in the history of mankind, from the appearance of man until the first written records on the territory of modern Bulgaria.

Some large collections from various sites are the hightlights of the exhibition. The collection of artifacts from the caves Kozarnika, Belogradchik region, and Temnata Dupka, Lukovit region; tells Karanovo and Ezero, Nova Zagora region; the early Neolithic settlement Chavdar, Pirdop region; the early Calcolithic settlement Salmanovo, Shumen region; the late Chalcolitic settlements Kodzhadermen, Shumen region, and Krivodol, Vratsa region are among them. Artifacts from different regions of Bulgaria outline the characteristics of the local prehistoric cultures and ethno-cultural regions in the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic.

The exhibition followed the thematic approach. The exhibits within each period were distinguished by topics: stone, bone, horn, copper and bronze tools and weapons, ceramics with the characteristic regional peculiarities and ritual artifacts.

Texts, facilitating the understanding of the exhibition, accompany every chronological section and the cases, presenting artifacts from the most important prehistoric settlements, Kozarnika and Karanovo. The exhibits in the sections are supplied also with maps of the most important sites from the respective period in Bulgaria. Settlements, especially marked on the maps, are presented in the exhibition.

The Paleolithic marks the beginning of civilization. It is the longest period in the history of mankind. It began 2.5 million years ago, when in Africa man created the first stone tools, and ended 10,000 years ago. Processes of fundamental importance for mankind develop during the Paleolithic period. These processes marked the future development of our culture.

The first few cases in the Prehistory Hall present the Paleolithic period in the Bulgarian territories. Early Paleolithic covered the period from, 1.6 million to 250,000 years BC. The discoveries in the cave Kozarnika, documented the first settlements in Europe 1.6 million years ago. Artifacts dating from the end of the Lower and the Middle Paleolithic from the region of Shiroka Poliana, West Rhodope mountains ara also on display.

The Paleolithic marks the beginning of civilization. It is the longest period in the history of mankind. It began 2.5 million years ago, when in Africa man created the first stone tools, and ended 10,000 years ago. Processes of fundamental importance for mankind develop during the Paleolithic period. These processes marked the future development of our culture.

The first few cases in the Prehistory Hall present the Paleolithic period in the Bulgarian territories. Early Paleolithic covered the period from, 1.6 million to 250,000 years BC. The discoveries in the cave Kozarnika, documented the first settlements in Europe 1.6 million years ago. Artifacts dating from the end of the Lower and the Middle Paleolithic from the region of Shiroka Poliana, West Rhodope mountains ara also on display.

Middle Paleolithic (50,000 to 45,000 BC) is the next topic of the exhibition. Artifacts from this period from Bacho Kiro, Muselievo, Samuilitsa, and Kozarnika caves are presented in the Hall.

Upper Paleolithic (45,000 to 10,000 BC) is presented by technology of bone and stone tool making. The objects from this period are more sophisticated and mark the beginning of art, social structuresand the economy. The displayed artifacts from Temnata Dupka and Kozarnika caves are dated to initial stages of the Upper Paleolithic.

Bones and teeth of some typical animals of this time period such as Ursus spelaeus, Dinobastis Latideus, Rangifer tarandus, Megaloceros giganteus, Alces latifrous, Mammuthus meridionalis, and Equus cf. Germanicus ara also shown in the case. Bone weapons and ornaments from the Morovitsa, Temnata Dupka and Kozarnika caves are on display as well.

Some unique artifacts of European and world importance, such as the engraved rock fragment which the earliest graphic expression on stone in Europe from Temnata Dupka cave, dating from about 50,000 BC and the engraved bone fragment from Kozarnika cave with the first graphic expression found on bone in Europe, dating from about 1.1 million BC are on display in the same case.

The Neolithic covers 6,200 to 4,900 BC. Artifacts from the prehistoric settlement Chavdar, Pirdop region, represent the early Neolithic. Richly ornamented ceramics drow special attention among the artifacts in this section. Selected artifacts from the Devetashka cave, Lovetch region, Topolnitsa, Petrich region and Sapareva Bania, Kustendil region illustrate typical features of the ceramics during the Neolithic in the western regions of the country.

The Chalcolithic–Copper Age (4,900 to 3,800 years BC) section of the exhibition presents settlement collections from: early Chalcolitic sites in Thrace such as Maritsa culture; from sites in Northeast Bulgaria, Salmanovo, Shumen region; from the late Chalcolitic Kodzhadermen culture in Northeast Bulgaria; and the late Chalcolithic Krivodol culture in Northwest Bulgaria. On display are also pottery shapes, characteristic for the period, with delicate inlay and graphite ornaments as a basic indicator of the ethno-cultural reference as well as tools from various media, typical for each of the settlements. Thus organized, this section of the exhibition gives to visitors and especially to archaeologists the opportunity to compare the development of culture in various regions of the country.

Metal working – the processing of gold and copper – is typical for the economy in the Chalcolithic. Thus the exhibition focuses on copper tools and weapons.

The richest prehistoric collection in the Museum from Tell Karanovo, Nova Zagora region, excavated from 1946 to 1957, is the highlight of this section. Tell Karanovo produced artifacts from almost all prehistoric periods, Early and Late Neolithic, Early and Late Chalcolithic, and Early Bronze Age. The exhibits from Tell Karanovo illustrate the basic prehistoric periods with emphasis upon the development and the typology of the ceramics as a ground for working up the chronology. The chronology of this tell, where archaeological research continues even nowadays, is the ground for the chronology of South-Eastern Europe. Rich collection of tools from the Neolithic and the Chalcolitic layer of the same tell are also on display. Thus the section provides valuable information necessary for students and specialists in Prehistory. Various ritual artifacts of Tell Karanovo collection are distinguished in two chronological groups, Neolithic and Chalcolitic. Unique anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, a stamp with inscribed pre-written signs, small ceramic altars and other ritual artifacts are on display in the cases.

The richest prehistoric collection in the Museum from Tell Karanovo, Nova Zagora region, excavated from 1946 to 1957, is the highlight of this section. Tell Karanovo produced artifacts from almost all prehistoric periods, Early and Late Neolithic, Early and Late Chalcolithic, and Early Bronze Age. The exhibits from Tell Karanovo illustrate the basic prehistoric periods with emphasis upon the development and the typology of the ceramics as a ground for working up the chronology. The chronology of this tell, where archaeological research continues even nowadays, is the ground for the chronology of South-Eastern Europe. Rich collection of tools from the Neolithic and the Chalcolitic layer of the same tell are also on display. Thus the section provides valuable information necessary for students and specialists in Prehistory. Various ritual artifacts of Tell Karanovo collection are distinguished in two chronological groups, Neolithic and Chalcolitic. Unique anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines, a stamp with inscribed pre-written signs, small ceramic altars and other ritual artifacts are on display in the cases.

Stone tools and weapons are the artifacts in the first few cases in the section of the exhibition displaying various exhibits from the Early and Middle Bronze Age (3,100 to 1,600 BC). A typology of these, characteristic for the period, tools is presented. Thus the artifacts emphasize the nature of the new period i. e. the significance of the metallurgy and the society stratification. The Early Bronze Age section (3,300 to 2,000/1,900 BC) of the exhibition, presents the second largest standard collection in the exhibition, the one from Tell Ezero near Nova Zagora.

The objects from Tell Ezero (ceramics, stone, bone, horn and bronze tools and weapons, ritual artifacts and ornaments) illustrate the style of life of the period in Thrace. The general change in ceramics is obvious and is thought an indicator of an ethnically new population in the region. The exhibition ended with two displays of artifacts from the Early and the Middle Bronze Age presented in chronological order. The collection of ceramics from various sites in Thrace and North Bulgaria gives hits to the typological difference in the traditional culture and especially in ceramics as an indicator for a different ethno-cultural situation in both regions. Typologically distinguished bronze tools and weapons, and especially the typology of the bronze axe are presented in the second section of this period. Golden ornaments from different regions of the country are on display in the same.

The topic Spiritual Life of the population during the Neolithic and the Chalcolithic, displayed in the central part of the Hall, presents the opportunity to underline the aesthetic features of the most representative ritual artifacts in the period, clay and bone anthropomorphic figurines, zoomorphic figurines, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic vessels, as well as clay house and fire-place models. Masterpieces of the prehistoric art are also on display. Ornaments and the amulets, among which the unique golden amulets, dating from the Chalcolithic in the Museum’s Collection, are also included in the exhibition.

Thus organized, the prehistoric exhibition presents overall perspective of the traditional culture and spiritual life of the earliest inhabitants in our territories, of the chronology and the regional peculiarities of the prehistoric cultures on the territory of Bulgaria.

Lilyana Pernicheva, Stanimira Taneva


Тракология 2017 / Thracology 2017


Publications
Годишник на Националния археологически музей