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An Early Bronze Age pile-dwelling settlement of discovered in Alepu lagoon (municipality of Sozopol, department of Burgas), Bulgaria

Découverte d’un site palafitte de l’âge du bronze ancien dans la lagune d’Alepou (municipalité de Sozopol, département de Burgas), Bulgarie
Clément Flaux, Pauline Rouchet, Tzvetana Popova, Myriam Sternberg, Frédéric Guibal, Brigitte Talon, Alexandre Baralis, Krastina Panayotova, Christophe Morhange and Atila Vassiliev Riapov
p. 57-70

Abstracts

A new pile-dwelling settlement has been discovered during coring investigations on the shores of the Alepu lagoon (municipality of Sozopol, department of Burgas), on the western Black Sea coast, in Bulgaria. A multi-disciplinary methodology was applied to analyze the archaeological dataset, composed of wood piles, abundant charcoals and wood fragments, seeds, fish and shell remains, a few small bone fragments, some lithic fragments and potsherds. The piles were trimmed from oak trees and sunk into lagoonal muds, and currently lie 5.8 to 6.8 m below mean sea level. It highlights a wooden building at the edge of Alepu palaeo-lagoon. Charcoal remains confirm the use of oak tree as a dominant timber resource, consistent with pollen data for this period. Palaeo-botanic remains highlight gathering activities and the consumption of wild grapes, raspberries and figs. The herbaceous assemblage evokes deforestation activities. Exploitation of coastal resources is well attested by the great density of fish remains, dominated by anchovy (61%), highlighting possible preservation of fish products. Five radiocarbon dates constrain the age of the site to between 3350 and 3000 cal. BC.
The Alepu piles-dwelling settlement sheds new light on the very beginning of the Early Bronze Age in coastal Bulgaria. Adding fresh information to the local archaeological record, it completes the well-discussed issue of the protohistoric submerged settlements, revealing in turn the economic strategies of the societies at the end of the transitional period. Considerations about geomorphological settings of these sites underline the evolution of the regional settlement patterns, as well as the importance of lagoonal locations. Lagoon contexts not only offer abundant fish resources, as attested by our data from Alepu, but also good conditions for anchorage. These sites were later drowned, preserved and buried following the relative rise of the Black Sea level.

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Excerpt

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Outline

1 - Geographic setting
2 - Methods
3 - Results
3.1 - Stratigraphy and bio-sedimentary analyses
3.1.1 - Unit A: lagoonal muds
3.1.2 - Unit B: dune sands
3.2 - Archaeological remains (Fig. 4)
3.2.1 - Wood piles
3.2.2 - Seeds
3.3 - Fish remains
3.3.1 - Charcoal
3.3.2 - Pottery
3.4 - Chronology
4 - DISCUSSION
4.1 - Significance of the bio-archaeological dataset
4.1.1 - Gathering resources
4.1.2 - Fish resources
4.1.3 - Vegetation resources
4.2 - Geoarchaeology of EBA coastal settlements
4.2.1 - Evolution of the local settlement pattern
4.2.2 - Settling the coast 6000 years ago
4.2.3 - Occupation and relative sea level
Conclusion

First lines

The first observations carried out on the submerged settlements of the Bulgarian Black Sea coast date back to 1921, when such a site was discovered in the ancient ria of Varna (SHKORPIL and SHKORPIL, 1921; PEEV, 2004). In 1927, the dredging of the modern harbour of Sozopol provided new evidence for the existence of protohistoric settlements below current sea level (LAZAROV, 1974). However, it was not until the spread of the submarine research during the 1960’s that these types of sites were systematically studied, and today 18 submerged settlements are known. Among them, the identification of the site of Atiya’s harbour (1968) and Burgas (1971) preceded the discovery of the settlement of Kiten (1973), on the edge of the Urdoviza peninsula (LAZAROV, 1993). All of these sites are attributed to the final phase of the Chalcolithic period or to the Early Bronze Age (PEEV, 2004), at the transitional period attributed by the recent 14C investigations to 3800‑3200 cal. BC (BOJADJIEV, 2007)....

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References

Electronic reference

Clément Flaux, Pauline Rouchet, Tzvetana Popova, Myriam Sternberg, Frédéric Guibal, Brigitte Talon, Alexandre Baralis, Krastina Panayotova, Christophe Morhange and Atila Vassiliev Riapov, « An Early Bronze Age pile-dwelling settlement of discovered in Alepu lagoon (municipality of Sozopol, department of Burgas), Bulgaria », Méditerranée [Online], 126 | 2016, Online since 01 January 2018, connection on 19 January 2018. URL : http://journals.openedition.org/mediterranee/8203 ; DOI : 10.4000/mediterranee.8203

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About the authors

Clément Flaux

CNRS, EcoLab, (Laboratoire d’écologie fonctionnelle et environnement), Toulouse, France

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Pauline Rouchet

Aix Marseille Univ, CEREGE, Europôle méditerranéen de l’Arbois, Aix-en-Provence, France

Tzvetana Popova

National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria

Myriam Sternberg

Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Inrap, Centre Camille Jullian, Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme, Aix-en-Provence, France

Frédéric Guibal

Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, UAPV, IMBE, Europôle Méditerranéen de l’Arbois, Aix-en-Provence, France

Brigitte Talon

Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, IRD, UAPV, IMBE, Europôle Méditerranéen de l’Arbois ,Aix-en-Provence, France

Alexandre Baralis

Département des Antiquités grecques, étrusques et romaines, musée du Louvre, Paris, France

By this author

Krastina Panayotova

National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria

Christophe Morhange

Aix Marseille Univ, CEREGE, Europôle méditerranéen de l’Arbois, Aix-en-Provence, France

By this author

Atila Vassiliev Riapov

Aix Marseille Univ, CNRS, ministère de la Culture et de la Communication, Inrap, Centre Camille Jullian, Maison méditerranéenne des sciences de l’homme, Aix-en-Provence, France

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