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New edition of Dissertations series published by NAIM-BAS has been released

The ninth volume of Dissertations series entitled "Weapons from the Chalcolithic Period in Bulgaria" by Dr. Kamen Boyadzhiev, Chief Assistant (NAIM-BAS) has been published.

The presented study is focused on the objects of the Chalcolithic period from the Bulgarian lands which were specifically designed as weapons. In the archaeological scholarship a large number of artifacts dated to that period are defined as weapons. Terms like stone maces, battle axes made of stone, copper and horn, arrowheads and spears of flint and bone, stone and clay "war balls" are commonly encountered. In most cases, however, these types of items and the issue of their function in particular has not been a subject of research. There are also no research summaries of the weapons and the related issues, especially of any presumed "military" conflicts during the early period of human development under consideration.

The study is focused on weapons intended for use in battle and also on those for both hunting and military use. That includes the analysis of all types of items for which similar function is supposed in the scholarship (although without specific arguments in most cases).

The study set itself three central aims as follows:

  • to clarify what types of items of the Chalcolithic period may actually be considered as special weapon;
  • to determine, if possible, their specific function – fighting or hunting, i.e. to answer the question about the existence of specialized military weapons in this age;
  • to outline the chronological development and/or regional specificities in dissemination of different types of weapons during the Chalcolithic period and therefore to be considered cultural indicators as well as a source of information for any supposed armed conflicts.

Chronological framework of the topic is admittedly defined by the object of study. Most of the weapons under consideration first appear in the Chalcolithic period (also known as Eneolithic or Stone-Copper Age covering the 5th millennium BC) and are among the artifacts typical of that age. 

The research is focused on the Bulgarian lands in terms of territory. The choice is directly related to the object and aims of the study. It is on the territory of modern Bulgaria, where contact areas between the major cultural events in the Balkans during the stage of prehistory in question can be traced out – the clearest expression of these phenomena is the formation of the Late Chalcolithic complexes Krivodol-Salcutsa-Bubani hum Ia, Kodzhadermen-Gumelnitsa-Karanovo VI and Varna.

The study includes a detailed analysis of different types of artifacts which can be used as specialized weapons, presenting their specific characteristics, chronological development and territorial distribution. Particular attention is paid to the problem of their function. As a result of the analysis of different types of weapons and their distribution, the study makes an attempt to look beyond the artifacts themselves and to place them in context of other data that make it possible to trace the probable armed conflicts during the Chalcolithic period.

Kamen Boyadzhiev. Weapons from the Chalcolithic Period in Bulgaria. (Dissertations, Volume 9), Sofia, NAIM-BAS. 2014. ISBN 978-954-9472-30-1. 231 pages, 44 illustrations, 6 maps.

Годишник на Националния археологически музей