Prehistory

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The prehistoric settelment near Zaminetz
Chalcolithic cultures in the Balkans reached their highest flowering point in the last centuries of the fourth millennium B.C. This development was due to improvements on tools, it was also the result of greater experience and knowledge, of higher achievements in farming and stockbreeding, of new technologies in pottery and to cultural influences and relations between tribes and tribal groups akin to one another.
Copper, which had long been known, was now far more extensively used, and various tools and objects were made of it. Gold was obtained together with copper, and chiefly used in the making of jewellery and various ritual
object
s.
Important discoveries and changes in production led to qualitative changes in the development of prehistoric cultures. More goods were accumulated, and this had its effect on the socio-economic relations between the tribes, which inhabited the Central and Eastern Balkan Peninsula. Important changes set in the structure and topography of prehistoric settlements in the last period of the Chalcolithic Ages.

Archaeological diggings and studies in Western and North-Western Bulgaria, Eastern Yugoslavia and South-Western Romania revealed that the late Chalcolithic settlements in this area were built upon naturally protected hilltops which were difficult of access, sites which were near rivers and springs. These hilltop settlements were additionally fortified with earthworks, trenches, stonewalls and wooden palisades. The first fort-settlements appeared in this way, and traces of defensive equipment and primitive weapons are found in them. Traces of devastating fires and destruction, periodically repeated and sometimes affecting the entire settlement are found in certain fortified settlements of this type. A number of them were burnt down and destroyed many times, after which they were rebuilt on their former sites. Traces of several consecutive settlements of the late Chalcolithic Age thus formed archaeological strata on the fortified hilltops.

The archaeological finds from the fortified hilltop settlements in Western and North-Western Bulgaria differ in style and tradition from the inventory of the settlement mounds in Thrace and North-Eastern Bulgaria. The fortified hilltop settlements chronologically follow the Karanovo VI Layer, according to the Karanovo Chronological System for Thrace. Their closest parallels are with similar settlements and cultures: in Yugoslavia, the group Bubani hum I A, and in South-Western Romania, the group Salcuta I-III.
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