Archaeologists uncover oldest prehistoric town in Europe

Nov 01, 2012 by Bob Yirka weblog

(Phys.org)—Archaeologists in Bulgaria have uncovered what is believed to be the remains of the oldest prehistoric town in all of Europe. The researchers believe the town existed as a salt producing settlement around the time 4700 to 4200 BC. Excavation of the site, which was first discovered in 2005, has uncovered two story homes, three meter high walls surrounding the town – and two meters thick, and a small burial ground with the remains of some of the people that used to live there.

The site is located near the town of Provadia; about 25 miles from the . Researchers there believe the people that lived in the town dug salt from the ground and boiled it to remove impurities and made out of it for use and for trade as currency with others in the region. At that time in history, salt was a precious commodity needed by both humans and for survival. In speaking with the AFP Newswire, the researchers said the town could have supported between 300 and 350 people and some evidence indicates that it might have been a two class society, with wealthy land or mine owners in one group, and workers in another. They also said that evidence of burial rituals have been found, where some bodies were mutilated and others laid to rest unharmed. Some of those mutilated were actually cut in half with their torsos planted upright.

The big walls surrounding the town attest to how valuable salt was and to what lengths the people of the town were willing to go to protect it from marauders. A correspondent for the BBC has suggested that the existence of the ancient town serves as an explanation for a trove of gold discovered 40 years ago in a cemetery 21 miles away. The researchers say that the tall thick walls are possibly the most massive fortification of its type in all of prehistoric Europe. They also said that evidence of a class system came in the form of spiral copper which are believed to have been used by rich women in the town to hold their hair up high.

Explore further: Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

Related Stories

Wildfire razes Canadian town

May 16, 2011

A wildfire engulfed the town of Slave Lake in western Canada, forcing the evacuation of its 7,000 residents at the start of the forest fire season, authorities said Monday.

Oldest evidence of writing found in Europe

Apr 04, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- In a study to be published this month in the Proceedings of the Athens Archaeological Society, archaeologist Michael Cosmopoulos of the University of Missouri-St. Louis shares his discovery of a c ...

Japan 'Cove' town plans dolphin park

May 01, 2012

The dolphin-hunting Japanese town of Taiji, made infamous by the Oscar-winning documentary "The Cove", plans to open a marine mammal park where visitors can swim with the creatures, a media report said.

Recommended for you

Violent aftermath for the warriors at Alken Enge

Jul 29, 2014

Denmark attracted international attention in 2012 when archaeological excavations revealed the bones of an entire army, whose warriors had been thrown into the bogs near the Alken Enge wetlands in East Jutland ...

Dinosaurs doing well before asteroid impact

Jul 29, 2014

A new analysis of fossils from the last years of the dinosaurs concludes that extra-terrestrial impact was likely the sole cause of extinction in most cases.

A word in your ear, but make it snappy

Jul 28, 2014

To most, crocodiles conjure images of sharp teeth, powerful jaws and ferocious, predatory displays – but they are certainly not famous for their hearing abilities. However, this could all change, as new ...

User comments : 0