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Target vectors with astronomical character in the area of the megalithic complex "Buzovgrad" near the town of Kazanluk

The research focuses on the spatial-temporal organization of the sanctuary’s interior of a rock-cut monument from the Bronze Age, which is located in the territory of the village of Buzovgrad, Kazanluk municipality. The morphometric particularities of this cult monument and its adjacent sacred territory, as well as the excellent view to the line of the local horizon are considered. In the frames of the general proofs of the defined archaeoastronomical hypothesis, it is looked for geometric centers of the observational lines, which connect extreme points of sunsets with characteristic structures of the autochthonic rock relief. This relief was modeled suitably for the purposes of the astronomical observations during the Antiquity.

The paper discusses the problems of the observational practice in the space of the sacred territory. Based on the measurements made until now, we propose observational vectors directed to characteristic points on the horizon and connected with the daily and yearly solar cycle, as well as with their calendar meaning. The paper shows the elements of the spatial orientation of the monument and the monument’s relations with specific elements of the environment.

The investigated sacred space is formed from the megalithic monument, the wall surrounding it, the rock sacrificial altars and pits, and its relation to the surrounding landscape. The research of this space shows that it was created by a society with a well-formed system of values. The cosmic ideas and the faith of the society which created, developed and maintained the cult complex and megalith near the village of Buzovgrad, possessed a notice view of space and time, and rationalized them on different social levels.

The research until now shows that the initial forming of the megalith and the complex occurred at the end of the Chalcolithic – beginning of the Bronze Age. The team presumes that the megalithic monument used during the Bronze and the beginning of the Iron Age is an expression of the indicative honoring of the god-Sun. The monument completely fits the theory of the faith-ritualism of the Thracian ethnicity towards the Great Goddess-Mother and her son-Sun formed during the Mycenaean Antiquity.

The megalithic monument near the village of Buzovgrad is, as of now, the earliest cult monument for mass mysterial ritualism honoring the god-Sun on the territory of a later formed spatially, and architecturally assimilated territory, called "The Valley of the Thracian Kings".

Alexey Stoev, Penka Muglova, Valeria Fol

Time and astronomy at Karanovo, Bulgaria

The Karanovo settlement mound near the town of Nova Zagora was one of the sites investigated in March 2005, during à joint archaeoastronomical expedition of the Group of archaeoastronomical research and expeditions (APEX) at Yuri Gagarin Public Astronomical Observatory, Stara Zagora, and Prof. Dr. Stanis?aw Iwaniszewski, invited under the project "The rock-cut sacred places of Thracians and other Palaeo-Balkan and Ancient Anatolian Peoples".

Geodetic plan of the mound have been made by theodolite – Total station Sokkia 330R, with an accuracy of angular measurements ±3ññ and ±0,01 m for the linear measurements.

Azimuths of specific points on the local horizon has been measured in order to investigate their coincidence with the azimuths of rise, set or culmination of bright heavenly object, and the possibility of their observation during the 4000 year history of this settlement. As Karanovo is the oldest settlement mound in Europe it is interesting to study how astronomy was waved in the ideology of ancient society, how people recorded and kept information about the measured time intervals, how construct and used their own religious or agricultural calendar.

Stanislaw Iwaniszewski
Escuela Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico

Mina Stoeva
Institute of Philosophical Research, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia

Alexey Stoev
Yuri Gagarin Public Astronomical Observatory, Stara Zagora

Penka Muglova
Solar-Terrestrial Influences Laboratory, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Stara Zagora

Methodology of Archaeoastronomical Investigations

A lot of problems whose scientific subject and logics of specific research are associated with one of the most interdisciplinary sciences – archaeoastronomy are discussed in the paper. The object and subject of archaeoastronomy, as well as its evolution in the course of development of the science on itself have been defined. It is mentioned that general principles and regularities of archaeoastronomy development, its basic methods (general and specific) and the problem of time measuring are under discussion. Basic rules of construction of the scientific research in archaeoastronomy, determining of the main tasks and methods of investigation are presented.

The way of building of archaeoastronomical hypothesis and its relations with theoretical models as well as the place and significance of the archeological facts and interpretations in its proof have been analyzed in the paper. The importance of model approach in archaeoastronomical investigations and the applications of system analysis in specific archeological object’s interpretation have also been considered. An attempt for analysis of the theoretical foundations of archaeoastronomy as scientific discipline is made. The importance of theoretical and practical development of the archaeoastronomical science is underlined.

Alexey Stoev, Penka Muglova, Tamila Potyomkina, Mina Stoeva

The period of establishing and active functioning of the Perperek sanctuary, and of the system of rock sanctuaries in and outside of the Rhodopi mountains
Fig.1 Photo: Ana Raduncheva

The system of rock sanctuaries in high mountains originated and functioned actively during the second half of the eneolithic era in and outside of the Rhodopi Mountains. The proposed work discusses the reasons for dating this activity towards the early Stone Age and the late Stone-copper age. Some of these reasons are:

  1. The presence of ceramics from the end of the Prehistoric era in all rock sacred locations.
  2. The Thracian walls, where existent, continue over the cuts and chops of the bedrock. Some of these walls, lifted in height, covered prehistoric images on the vertical walls without taking the existence of the images into consideration. This means that the builders of the Thracian walls did not know and honor the old divine images.
  3. The rock cuts from all sanctuaries find their exact parallels in compositional and in typological way within the finds from the settlement mounds in Bulgaria and the neighboring countries. Cases with sanctuaries like Perperek, Tatul and oth. are especially revealing. The human face pictured on an entire vertical wall (Fig. 1) has an exact parallel in a fresco from the temple complex next to the village of Dolnoslav, Plovdiv region (Fig. 2).
  4. Fig.2 Photo: Ana Raduncheva
  5. The pictures of the �sacred rock� in the Belintash sanctuary, full with black paint, are dated to be crafted in the early Stone Age. Their parallels are discovered mostly in the frescoes from Çatal Hüyük. Neolithic hunt scenes exist also in Perperek, Dolna Chobanka, Tatul, etc.
  6. When we talk about the early date of creating the system of rock sanctuaries in the mountains, we have to remember that the ancient authors � when speaking what are the Thracians� sacred places, � speak only about their usage, and not about their creation.
  7. Most rock sacred places are used in Thracian times, but they only partially coincide with the old sacred territories.

Ana Raduncheva
Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

Method for the astronomical analysis of the horizon around archaeological sites

We present a method for the detailed analysis of the astronomical horizon around archaeological sites. The method is based on the use of theodolite, a global positioning system device (GPS) and digital camera. The digital images of the horizon are treated with the Image Reduction and Analysis Facility (IRAF) package, the most widely used free-distributed professional general purpose astronomical software system. We obtain images were the pixels in X and Y directions are converted into azimuth and altitude coordinates and, therefore, into declinations of celestial bodies. These images can be included as horizon frames into commercial astronomy programs to recreate the rising and settings of celestial bodies at present and past epochs. We also present recent results on pre-Hispanic archaeological sites in the Canary Islands and pre-Roman Iberian sanctuaries in mainland Spain where this analysis has been applied. We expect to apply this method in the study of the horizons of Thracian rock-cut cult places.

César Esteban and Montserrat Delgado Cabrera
Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias

Construction (astronomic observatory?) in Cholakova Tumulus near Staro Zhelezare

Cholakova tumulus near the village of Staro Zhelezare is located within the territory of the Starossel Thracian Cult Center. It is located approximately 10 km southeast from Chetinyova tumulus, which is piled on a sacred hill.

The construction consists of 24 vertical stone slabs (two of them missing) of different sizes. The slabs are arranged as to form a circumference. Most probably the Odrysians had used them to measure temporal units. Once the use of the construction had been discontinued, it was covered with earth. Sherds of ceramic vessels, dated to the early 5th c. BC, were found on a flattened platform on the top of it. Then the tumular embankment had been piled additionally to form the present-day shape of Cholakova tumulus. The construction is dated to the 6th c. BC.

Diana Dimitrova
TEMP (Thracian Expedition for Tumular Investigations)

Rock sanctuary ("sacred area") at the ground "Slaveevi skali" – the western Rhodopes

The purpose of the present paper is to introduce to the academic circles a new and unknown cultural and historic object situated in the region of Velingrad (the western Rhodopes). The object under exploration represents a mountainous rock sanctuary ("sacred area") which possesses all the characteristics of the rock cult complexes of the region of the central and east Rhodopes and the remaining parts of the ancient Thrace as described in the literature.

The purpose of the exploration is to determine the distinctiveness of the object as an "ancient cult and ritual complex – sacred ground" and to show its connection with other analogous objects in the same or distant regions which are in direct correspondence and which all belong to the same contact area, namely that of the east Mediterranean lands.

To gain its purpose the research work relies on the following basic evidence:

  1. The geographical location of the object and its visual connection with other sanctuaries in the region;
  2. The types of rock cult works that are present in it and their situation on the ground which defines the border between the sacral and the profane space;
  3. The archeological material – the broken ceramic fragments from the Late Bronze and the Early Iron age – found within the ground of the object.

The "scientific bringing into requisition" of this object is a step ahead to the widening of the traditionally "exploit" grounds connected with the worship of the rock in the antiquity which is manifested by the creation of sacral mega-complexes – the so called pillars of faith.

Dimitar Bl. Bayrakov
Sofia University "St. Kliment Ohridski"

The Studies On The Rock-Cut Monuments Of The Thrace And The Northwest Anatolia

The Northwest Anatolia and The Thrace have an important potential to work on the Rock-Cut Monuments and Cult Complexes from the early periods. These monuments are also, related to those created by the Thracians and their relatives, generally. And they are of great importance for a better understanding and appreciation of the material and spiritual cultures of the Southeastern European and Anatolian Peoples. However they were not studied better before. Here we deals with the monuments and all the cultural materials connected with them, according to the informations, created by our field studies in the Northwest Anatolia and Thrace, up to date.

Engin Beksac
University of Thrace at Edirne

The Sacred Hill

The Starossel Thracian Cult Center is located on a surface of irregular form and diameter of approximately 10 km, which includes some rocky sanctuaries - Garvanov Kamik, Uyov Kamik, Kamenitsa, Peychova tumulus, and some dozens of tumulars embankments piled on sacred hills.

The rocky sanctuaries have not yet been studied and mapped. Six temples, among them five of unique character, were discovered in some 30 tumulus that were subject to archaeological researches. Three stone-built graves are known and 3 rich graves were studied and can be specified as king's graves. Unknown is the number of the tumuli excavated by the treasure-hunters. Rumors say that some of them had been extremely rich.

These observations, together with some others, give enough grounds to conclude that the Starossel region is one of the most prestigious religious centers of the Thracian community.

Georgi Kitov
Archaeological Institute with Museum, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

The "Promethéôs spêlaion"

Eratosthenes of Cyrene (c.275-192 BC), one of the most excellent figures of Alexandria, discussed in one of his lost books about Alexander and mentioned that their men (Macedonians and Thracians) saw a cave near modern Begram, north of Kabul, whom they identified as the cave in which Prometheus had been kept imprisoned and undergone his punishments.

There are no doubts that Alexander's men saw a place in which, according to certain local legend, some events had been developed that remembered to them those of Prometheus (Diodorus 17.83). In fact the existence of this cave was mentioned later by a Chinese traveller named Xuan Zang (603-664).

When Jason and the Argonauts sailed by the Black Sea near the Caucasus, they also saw Prometheus, but chained on rocks of the top of the mountain, in accordance with the more well-known version of this myth. The Eratostenes' testimony suggests, therefore, the existence of versions of the myth that were only known by Macedonians and Thracians. There is no doubt that they recognized in that remote cave the landscape of a familiar myth.

In this paper I'll try to explain what elements of Prometheus myth made possible this recognition. I will specially consider the stories related to the mysteries of the Thracian islands of the Aegean.

Gregorio Luri
Profesor de la UNED (Universidad Nacional de Educación a Distancia). Barcelona.

A unique burial facility from the Early Bronze Age

Found during excavations around the village of Drajevo, Yambol county. The facility is built from slaty red stones, brought especially for this purpose from a region located about 10 km eastwards. It represents a stone circle, 11 m in diameter and 0,70 - 0,80 m. in height. The entrance is from the East. 6 burials are discovered. One of it is a family burial - a man, a woman and a child. In four of the burials, the corpses are laid in hocker type, with ruddle. Other two burials are with cremation. The facility has a rich burial inventory. It dates from the early Bronze Age III, the Mihalich stage (Ezero VIII - VII construction horizon).

Ilia Iliev
Historical Museum - Yambol

Ancient sea sanctuary – Yailata, Kavarna

Three stone anchors (killicks), in the region of Yailata Archeological reserve, Kavarna municipality, were described and documented during an expedition in the summer of 2005. From the rope hole and the stone surface is evident that one of them is used in the sea. Most probably it was returned on the coast for ritual purposes. The other two anchors were not used and this fact shows that here was situated a workplace for anchors.

Kalin Porojanov
Institute of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia

The Rock and the Script

The present paper considers some aspects of the ritual use of Phrygian script on rock-cut monuments. The monumental inscriptions on the Phrygian rock-cut facades are the focus of the present work. However, comparisons with other minor and non-inscribed monuments are also considered.

On some of the facades a circular or round way of placing the inscription can be observed. This practice can find parallels in the early Thracian inscriptions (6th century BC). Some peculiarities in using the space for writing on the rock-cut monuments are observed.

Most of the Old-Phrygian texts, as far as we can understand them, are votive. However, there are instances of combinations of dedications plus curse formulae. Curse formulae are the standard part of the New-Phrygian tombstones, but rare in the earlier writings. Linguistic, as well as historical and cultural arguments can be brought up in favour of the idea that some of these inscriptions might have been invocations or incantations of the Great Mother Goddess Kybele. In this context the considered Old-Phrygian inscriptions could be compared with later magic texts (and the magic value of the New-Phrygian malediction formulae). Recently the magic and the magic texts related to Thracian Orphism have been further elucidated. This work gives more grounds for drawing typological parallels between Phrygian and Thracian rituality.

The suspected existence of metric texts both in Thrace and Phrygia contributes further to the understanding of the ritual role of the rock-cut monuments, as well as to their relation with other objects and monuments of status.

Some of the discussed peculiarities in the use of Phrygian script find parallels in the early Greek alphabetic writing, as well as in some Neo-Hittite (Luwian) cult practices. Common phenomena however gave different turn in the development of literacy in Greece on the one hand, and in Phrygia and Thrace on the other.

Maya Vassileva
Institute of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

The Caves and the Ancient Inhabitants of the Rhodope Mountain

In the 5th - 2nd millennium BC the central part of the Rhodope mountain is a habitation system one of its kind - there are no tells, only small, single occupation level habitations are localized on the terrain, in the vicinity of arable pieces of land. The number of inhabited caves is great - only for the Trigrad area they are 22 out of a total 169 caves and precipices. Out of these only caves Yagodinska and Haramiiska dupka have been exhaustively studied. The building horizons in both of them date from the Late Chalcolithic and the Early Bronze age, and the archaeological data from the upper layers testify that periodically, they have been lived in at different times up to the end of Antiquity. Most of these caves are within eyesight of the 25-odd rock shrines used at the time.

Most remarkable are the names of the caves in this part of the mountain. "Saint Elias" are called 11 caves and one pick with a rock shrine; other caves are called "Wolf's jump", "Wolf's cave", "Phantom's hole", "Devil's throat", i.e. names that prove that the People's belief that the caves are inhabited by chtonic forces connected to the Yonder world of mythical creatures that keep in those caves mythical treasures or that God and/or Saint Elias keep there the high winds under lock and let them out only at whim. Here, in this area is also the cave that serves as entrance to the kingdom of Hades and that the legend links with Orpheus. In The Nymph Cave Porphyrius writes: "But the ancients have made out of the cave not only â€" as we've already mentioned - a symbol of the sensuous cosmos, but also of the invisible forces and attributes, for the caves are full of darkness, and the essence in every force is unseen". Apparently, the legends about the caves as well as their names testify to a secular tradition kept alive.

Maya Avramova
Institute of Thracology, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences

In the Beginning there was Chaos... or (a) Cave

The paper, as an introduction to the symbolism of caves, will deal with the imaginary of caves in ancient cultures, especially in ancient Greece: their function as a place where life begins. Through different texts, Chaos is presented as the matrix of the world. This is a void, obscure and humid, not very different from the mesopotamian abyss (apsu) or a primordial cave that sustains the structure or architecture of the world. Caves, related to mountains -can caves be studied alone?-, are cosmic houses.

Pedro Azara
Universidad Politecnica de Cataluna, Barcelona, Spain

Astronomical Orientations and Solar-Chthonic Elements in the Artificial Caves in the Region of Djebel Municipality

The paper presents the results from the research of a specific kind of rock-cut monuments in mountain Thrace, that are part of the specific archaeoastronomical sites in Bulgaria. They are located in the area of relatively high stony regions and rocks; they have a specific shape and making in the rock massifs, and specific orientation in space. They are known in the scientific literature with the conditional term "caves-wombs".

In architectural plan, rock-cut monuments show an organization of a typical positional system for solar observations, which coincide in time and space with characteristic moments and points indicating the solar culminations. The heights of the culminations are usually connected with specific days from the solar calendar. This conclusion confirms the expressed hypotheses that the caves-wombs are cult monuments, which functioned according to the yearly ritual calendar. This calendar was followed by the ancient society, and was probably related to the agricultural calendar as well.

The mysterial function of these astronomical observations is more certain for later epochs – until and after antiquity – because of the written sources. Measuring of the spatial-temporal parameters of the heavenly bodies’ positions spheres was considered a complicated and mysterial magical procedure of achieving divine perspicacity. This wisdom could only be achieved by initiated ecclesiastics with special astronomical knowledge.

Penka Maglova, Alexey Stoev, Valeria Fol, Mina Stoeva, Mincho Gumarov

Caucasian – Thracian Relationship in the Megalithic Culture – Problems of the Research

Spelling out the thousand-year old faith in the stone and the rock is still a challenge for the explorers in posing correct questions and in seeking possible answers – they’re still so incomplete and inaccurate. The map of spread of the Megalithic culture in the antiquity covers the whole Mediterranean seaside, the Western, the South-eastern and the Eastern Europe and the Caucasian-Black Sea area. For the present the Western Europe monuments are some of the most detailed and authentic ones among the registered historical records. In recent decades there was an innovation of more systematic examination and publication of the Megaliths in South-eastern (the territory of contemporary Bulgaria and Turkey – Ancient Thrace) and Eastern Europe (Caucasian massif, the Crimean peninsula and the Eastern Carpathians).

Fig.1 Dolmen, village Hlyabovo, Haskovo district.
Photo: Chavdar Stoichev

Eventually after a large number of publications there was an enlargement of the discussions of making out and interpreting of this kind of monuments.

In the course of examinational advance of the megalithic culture in Thrace, the investigators observe classifiable similar scenes between Thracian and Caucasian dolmens. It poses truly correct questions such as: Is it possible to miss a bond between them, although the possible contacts between the Eastern and the Western Black Sea coast were ignored for a long time.

Recently the Megalithic monuments of Thrace (dated back generally to the end of the Bronze Age till the middle of the Iron Age, basically on the ceramics which were found into them) were thought as they’re chronologically after those ones of the Caucasian region (its building was started midway between the second half of the 3-rd millennium B. C. till the middle of the 2-d millennium B. C.). The recent years’ observations of the funeral practices in the Mediterranean and the Black Sea territories makes them connected with the Megalithic culture. This fact removes the building to the 3-rd millennium B. C., when the faith-rites in the stone – the rock – the mountain was spread in large number among these areas. The Thracian Megalithic culture as an original part of the Mediterranean-Black Sea culture circle was defined midway between the half of the 2-d and the half of the 1-t millennium B. C.

The constructive special features as well as the purpose of the stone buildings, show similarities at one side and essential differences in the monuments of the two culture massifs at the other side.

One of the most delicate problems is connected with the original and the bearers of the Megalithic culture. The theory about the migrants who imposed their own civilization and religion by the stone buildings has been put under critic long ago and hasn’t managed any arguments. Although the ethnical definition of this kind of monuments couldn’t give any results, this theory keeps on taking part of some publications.

By now dating of the Megalithic monuments over technological and archeological facts remains approximate and unsatisfactory. The constructive similarities and differences are a kind of a research material, which could show particular seats of influence. However the perception of a concrete general terminology into the research tools could be a successful try the stone to be made to "speak". Such kind of a term, brought into use many years ago in the Bulgarian science, is "ethno-culture unity". The problem is distinguished over the rites in a culture context.

Ruja Popova

Megalithic and Stone-Cut Rock Monuments – Geological Aspects of the Cosmogeochronic Analysis

The megalithic and rock-cut monuments of culture are linked to the development of human civilization since its origin. These monuments have a different or similar significance throughout the centuries in different regions and countries around the world. For some of them the discussion about their fuction, transport and construction continues, as well as their importance among the ancient and later civilizations.

A lot of the ancient technologies are not yet recognized by contemporary engineering and scientific thought and some of them are even cosidered impossible for the now-a-days technical possibilities of mankind.

The published data for the link between the "convex" (positive) megalithic architecture forms mainly to regions of distributions of acid quartz-bearing rocks (mainly granitoids and their methamorphic rim – gneisses, quartzites) in countries as Bulgaria and Great Britain (Kostov, 1993; 1994; 1995; 1998) are compared with similar tendencies in France and Portugal – countries with "classical" megaliths of a different type. The rock-cut "concave" (negative) stone monuments are reviewed as typical in their distribution in regions with volcanic and sedimentary rocks with a lot of examples in the Eastern Rhodopes in Bulgaria (rock niches, rock tombs, as well as other architectural types) (Kostov, 2001).

The leading role of the geological and mineralogical, and not the geomorphological background in the distribution of the mentioned rock monuments, which has to be related to a certain population, has been introduced in the aspect of the so-called cosmogeochronic analysis.

Ruslan I. Kostov
University of Mining and Geology, Sofia

The Stone-Cut Circles at Paleocastro – a Geological and Mineralogical Approach

The rock-cut circles at Paleocastro (in the Topolovgrad region, Bulgaria) have been published in a number of books related to Thracian megalithic monuments, and their number has been calculated between 140 and 200 with a diameter ranging 25-100 cm (Venedikov, 1976; Delev et al., 1980; Delev, 1982; V. Fol, 1993).

The compass measurements of well representative rock-cut circles in the metamorphic rocks (Kostov, 2003) display a sharp declination at an angle of 41-57° (average 48°) and a North – North-East (NNE) direction of 13-30° (average 25°). These measurements correspond to the crystallization schistozity of the metamorphic rocks. It has been considered as a main factor for the extraction of the rock circles. Thus, the idea in the existing literature for a situated towards the East sacred place of solar cult with stone "suns" has to be abandoned.

The rock-cut circles can be classified into two types – with a large and a small diameter. The measured diameter of the larger stone circles varies between 79-102 cm (average 88 cm), ànd for the smaller stone circles – 25-46 ñm. The thickness of the rock slice intended for cutting is about 10-15 cm. From a geometric point of view the rock-cut object has the shape of a short cylinder.

The geology of the region and the mineralogy of the host rocks have been described, and new hypotheses for the extraction and significance of these unique rock-cut monuments have been suggested.

Ruslan I. Kostov
University of Mining and Geology, Sofia

Burial mound as an archaeoastronomical object (based on materials of the Revova 3 eneolithic burial mound in the Northern Pontic Area)
Fig.1 The Revova 3 early burial mound diagram.
Diagram: Tamila Potyomkina

Burial mound as one of kinds of ancient funeral and cult monuments had gained ground in the steppes of the Northern Pontic Area in the first half of the IV millennium BC. The appearance of the burial mound graves is connected with cultures of early mobile cattle breeders of the pre-Pit-Grave (Yamnaya) and of the early Pit-Grave period. Among of the earliest barrows there are such kinds of mounds, where the astronomical directions connected with significant positions of the Sun and the Moon are strictly fixed. The concrete azimuths in these cases are marked by vertically dug poles or stone constructions. They formed the basis of the burial mound architecture, which framed of the sacral area (Potyomkina 2004, 214-50). As a rule, the mounds with the astronomical meaning constructions are earliest on the barrow field. They occupied special place in a chain of the burial mounds and had cult function. The materials of excavation testify, that in vision of the ancient population barrows were a certain model of the Universe with precisely marked threefold or fourfold structure of vertical and horizontal space.

In the report these propositions are proved on an example Revova 3 burial mound in the Odessa region in Ukraine (geographical latitude - 47,3°, longitude - 30,3°, magnetic declination - +4,4°). The burial mound was excavated in 2003 by the expedition of the Institute of the Archaeology of the National Academy of Sciences, Ukraine, under the guidance of Ivanova S.V. (Ivanova S.V., Petrenko V.G., Vetchinnikova N.E. 2005, 57-73).

The beginning of construction of the burial mound dates back to Eneolithic epoch. The barrow ground was originally cleared away, from which was removed chernozem up to yellow loam. The funeral site was surrounded by the ditch 11-12 m diameter with two passages in the east and southwest directions (Fig. 1). In the centre of the area on the small light-loam podium (0,3 -0,4 m height) the main burial (№19) took place. It was performed according to special ceremony: the body was dismembered, then it was joint together in the vertical anatomical order in a sitting position while burying. There were no grave goods. Radiocarbon date of the burial per the tubular bone - 5450±80 BP (Ki - 1117).

Fig.2 A general view of the stone ring from the west.
Diagram: Tamila Potyomkina

Above the main burial the first mound made of light loam was raised. It had 11-12 m diameter, it's height was 1,0 - 0,7 m, a decreasing to east. Before building the mound, the ditch was filled with black ground. A ring the diameter of 9.5-10,5 m and about 1m in width, made of stones of different size, was laid out around the mound border (Fig. 2). The second Eneolithic grave (№3) was placed in the mound centre, to the west of the basic burial place (later was robbed). From above the grave was blocked by stone plates and surrounded by a circle of stones. All complex of the early burial mound is typical of Usatovo culture.

Details of the circle stone laying out of the burial mound and it's extensions (ring-altars, paved areas, lines of stones, separate large stones) and also the passages in the ditch mark the most important solar and lunar azimuths: sunrises and sunsets on days of solstices and equinoxes, the rises and sets of the high and low moon in extreme positions, north and south directions (Fig. 1). The orientation by head of the deceased, as well as of the funeral structures, sacrificial pits, funeral piles, is connected with these directions, mainly solar. It presumes the use of stone structures as the concrete reference points in funeral and calendar rituals of the people, which had left the barrow.

The building of the early complex of burial mound was completed by addition of the second light mound. Later three Yamnaya graves (№№ 4, 7, 16) were put into the second mound according to the spatial-temporal views, which reflected in the earlier structures of the burial mound. The next Yamnaya grave (№15) was put into the third embankment of the chernozem.

Tamila Potyomkina
Institute of Archaeology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow

A Terminological Introduction

I established the beginning of the preparation of my concept about the character and the types of sacred space in the Thracian non-literary community in 1993, after a long-term participation in the expeditions of the Institute of Thracology in the Strandzha–Sakar region. I continue to seek testimonials in its support until the present day.

My working hypothesis is developed according to the written and archaeological source material about the rock topoi of faith and about the ritualism in them, especially because this research field about ancient Thrace has the longest background, which begins with Ivan Velkov's study. His idea about the role of the rock in – in his words – "the cult of the Thracians" turned out to be very fruitful and with a lot of potential. It was developed on an interdisciplinary level after 1972.

Valeria Fol
Institute of Thracology – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences