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Exhibit of the month – May 2024


Gold anthropomorphic amulet and gold ring from Grave 138
Late Chalcolithic. Second half of 5th millennium BC
Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis
Photo: O. Pelevina

The Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis was accidentally discovered in 1972 in the Western Industrial Zone of Varna. It is known for some of the earliest evidence of gold metallurgy worldwide. Until 1991, 301 graves were examined, dated to 4530 - 4350 BC. The necropolis illustrates the earliest stage of the emergence of a class society, a thousand years earlier than the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt. After a thirty-year hiatus, exploration of the site resumed in 2021. In 2023, 11 more graves were discovered, bringing the total to 327. Most of the buried individuals are male. The graves include pottery, deer antler battle axes, stone adzes, copper awls and various ornaments. In one of the few female graves, No 318, a gold amulet and ring-earring were discovered.

The exhibits are part of the “Bulgarian archaeology 2023” temporary exhibition which is on display in the National Archaeology Museum until May 26th, 2024.

Бояджиев, К., Василева, Ж. 2024: Българска археология 2023 г. Каталог към изложба. Национален археологически музей Каталози, том ХХХVІ. София, 2024.