November 2, 2012 2:30
In the east, Bulgaria found settlement, which, according to preliminary data, it may be the oldest in Europe. Apparently, it was a major center of salt production.
Under the leadership of Vasil Nikolov from the National Institute of Archaeology around Provadia (Varna region) excavated two-storey houses, ritual pits, some gates, fortifications. Radiocarbon dating showed that existed in 4700? 4200 years BC. e.
The work is from 2005, and no end in sight. This season, the necropolis discovered human remains in unusual poses and objects typically exist in other Neolithic tombs in Bulgaria. The same bewildering is the high walls of stone blocks, built at a time when the south-east of Europe did not yet know the wheels and trucks. What or whom they protected?
The answer is simple: salt.
In this area, there are salt deposits, which are not only some of the largest in south-east Europe, but were the only ones that have been developed from VI millennium BC. e. (By the way, have a commercial value to this day.)
In ancient times, salt was considered a very valuable commodity. She is not only used for food and for food preservation (especially meat), and an analogue of money. In mound discovered floor furnaces in which saline solution was evaporated from local sources, and which date back to the mid-VI millennium BC. e. By the end of the millennium salt extraction moved out of the city, and its production has been steadily increasing. According to Mr. Nikolov, in the middle of VI millennium BC. e. one batch of raw material is loaded into the oven, giving about 25 kg of salt bricks, and by 4700? 4500 years BC. e. (That is, a thousand years later) — 4 × 5 t local people (researchers believe that the settlement was received and held about 350 people, not including visitors) are literally sitting on gold.
Thus solved the riddle of Varna necropolis existed ca. 4300 BC. e. It was found about three thousand pieces of gold and precious stones. It is the oldest treasure of the world. Until now it was completely unclear how local farmers and ranchers are able to accumulate wealth.
On this occasion, Mr. Nikolov complained to journalists at a chronic lack of public funding of excavation. If it were not so patrons do not care colleagues from the UK, Germany and Japan, the most important for the settlement of historical science-Provadia Solnitsata would have remained unknown.