The profane and the sacred in an Early Neolithic house at the prehistoric settlement site of Balgarchevo, Blagoevgrad District, Bulgaria
Keywords:Balkans, Early Neolithic, house, oven, household inventory
A burnt house measuring 6 x 8 m was discovered in the Early Neolithic layer of the prehistoric settlement of Balgarchevo. It was occupied during the period 5550–5450 cal. ВС. The structure consisted of a dug-in part and a ground level area. Several big storage vessels and the wheat scattered on a fallen clay platform suggest that the upper story was used for grain storage.
All installations and movable inventory in the house were uncovered in the dug-in room: two ovens and several grinding stone facilities, 50 ceramic vessels, 15 stone tools, four bone tools, two anthropomorphic figurines, a clay mask, and a ‘movable altar’. The cult objects were found in different parts of the dug-in area, and thus do not define any spaces intended specifically for cult practices. The archaeological material, as well as the interior design show similarities to other contemporary settlements in the Struma River Valley (Kovachevo Id, Ilindentsi, Galabnik III, Vaksevo III, and Mursalevo) and in the Vardar River Valley (Zelenikovo I, Madzari, and Govrlevo).