In the 1970s, archaeological excavations in Bulgaria, near the modern city of Vama, identified a large Copper Age necropolis, dating back to the 5th millennium BC which featured the oldest gold artifacts ever discovered until that time.
The most prestigious bunal was tomb 43 (the one you can see in the photos), inside which the remains of a man of the highest rank were found… the first elite male burial known in Europe.
The great civilizations of Mesopotamia, Egypt, and the Indus Valley, which are all renowned for being the first known civilizations to incorporate urbanisation, structured administration, and cultural creativity, are well known to the majority of people. However, very few people are aware of the enigmatic culture that appeared 7,000 years ago on the banks of lakes close to the Black Sea.
The Incredible Culture of Varna
The so-called Varna culture wasn’t just a little, insignificant society that developed in a remote region of what would eventually become Bulgaria and vanished without a trace. It was actually an astonishingly advanced civilization that was older than the civilizations of Mesopotamia and Egypt and the first civilization to produce golden objects.
The largest known prehistoric necropolis in south-eastern Europe is currently located in Varna, which also exhibits a wealth of cultural traditions, intricate funerary ceremonies, an antiquated religious system, and the ability to create gorgeous and expertly-crafted items. It has earned the moniker “the cradle of civilization in Europe” over time.
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Finding The Old Varna Civilization
The first artefacts from the prehistoric Varna culture included tools, vessels, utensils, and figurines made of clay, flint, bone, and stone. Then, by extraordinary coincidence, something was discovered that made international news. The oldest gold objects ever found were uncovered in a huge Copper Age necropolis in October 1972 by excavator operator Raycho Marinov.
It would go on to rank among the most significant archaeological finds made in Bulgaria. Under the supervision of Mihail Lazarov (1972–1976) and Ivan Ivanov (1972–1991), extensive excavations were conducted, exposing for the first time the splendid civilization of Varna.
The necropolis’s more than 300 burials yielded more than 22,000 beautiful objects, including more than 3,000 pieces of gold weighing a combined 6 kg (13.23 lbs.) Copper, excellent flint tools, jewellery, Mediterranean mollusc shells, ceramics, obsidian blades, and beads were among the other priceless artefacts discovered in the burials.
The analysis of the graves showed that the Varna culture had a highly structured society. The elite members of society were buried in shrouds with gold ornaments sewed into the cloth wrappings, and their graves were laden with treasures, including gold ornaments, heavy copper axes, elegant finery, and richly decorated ceramics.
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