Varna Necropolis

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Description:
The Varna Necropolis () (also Varna Cemetery) is a burial site in the western industrial zone of Varna (approximately half a kilometre from Lake Varna and 4 km from the city centre), Bulgaria, internationally considered one of the key archaeological sites in world prehistory.

Discovery and excavation

The site was accidentally discovered in October 1972 by excavator operator Raycho Marinov. Research excavation was under the direction of Mihail Lazarov (1972–1976) and Ivan Ivanov (1972–1991). About 30% of estimated necropolis area is still not excavated.

A total of 294 graves have been found in the necropolis, many containing sophisticated examples of metallurgy (gold and copper), pottery (about 600 pieces, including gold-painted ones), high-quality flint and obsidian blades, beads, and shells.

Chronology

The graves have been dated to 4700-4200 BC (radiocarbon dating, 2004) and belong to the Eneolithic Varna culture, which is the local variant of the KGKVI.

Burial rites

There are crouched and extended inhumations. Some graves do not contain a skeleton, but grave gifts (cenotaphs). Interestingly, the symbolic (empty) graves are the richest in gold artifacts. 3000 gold artifacts were found, with a weight of approximately 6 kilograms. Grave 43 contained more gold than has been found in the entire rest of the world for that epoch. Three symbolic graves contained masks of unfired clay .

The findings showed that the Varna culture had trade relations with distant...
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