New evidence on the Early Chalcolithic in the Lower Yantra Valley: The site of Orlovets – Papaz Cheshma, Veliko Tarnovo District
Keywords:Chalcolithic, Yantra River Basin, cut features, human occupation, settlement pattern, ceramic assemblage, pottery style
This paper presents the preliminary results of the 2020 rescue excavations that took place ahead of pipeline construction near the village of Orlovets, Veliko Tarnovo District, at a multi-period site situated on the southern slope of an elevated terrace near high flow rate springs, in an area characterized by a density of prehistoric sites. The earliest occupation of the site is represented by a series of features dated back to the first half of the fifth mill. BC. The paper aims to introduce the newly obtained empirical data as a small contribution to the general picture of habitation and diversity of the activities of the ancient communities. The Chalcolithic features include large cut features (or dug-in parts of more complex features), simple single pits and large storage vessels. The available evidence suggests a small-sized and possibly short-termed or occasional recurrent occupation in the area. The presentation of the ceramic assemblage is focused on steady and repetitive combinations of shapes and decoration techniques common for the site while the regional characteristics of the pottery style and the diagnostic chronology of certain elements are briefly addressed. Based on pottery evidence, at least two main episodes of occupation could be distinguished: an earlier phase in the beginning of the Early Chalcolithic that is related to most of the excavated features, and a later phase represented by a single feature dating to the Middle Chalcolithic.