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Journal of the Union of Scientists - Varna. The Cultural Heritage of Varna and the Black Sea Region

The Varna marine transport center during the early Bronze Age

Svetlozar Popov


The article raises the question of the role of the coastal settlements in the Varna bay during the early Bronze Age (EBA) and makes an attempt to provide an answer for it. These settlements from the Chalcolithic period are known to have been a maritime transport center for trade—export of Provadia salt, flint and precious stones, copper, gold, and mussel products and sea import of copper from the Strandzha mountain. It is known that the Varna settlements formed a large metalworking center for copper and gold products, whose production can be traced in many places along the Danube and the northern Black Sea coast to the rivers Don and Volga.


However, the issue of the importance of EBA settlements in the Varna bay is still unresolved. This is because they are multiple in number, relatively larger as occupied area and have even lasted twice as long. Therefore, it is assumed that they were inhabited by a larger population. And finally no one has commented so far on what they were used for after the salt production in the Provadia region and the processing of copper and gold in the center were stopped. There are no traces of the accumulation of wealth, which on the other hand is found in abundance in the old Chalcolithic center—the Varna I necropolis.


The article seeks an explanation of how this data for a larger EBA center correlates with its more limited functions. For the purpose some historical realities from the 3rd millennium BC are taken into account and discussed. This is primarily the invasion of the Pit Grave culture tribes in the area. These tribes are known to have traveled along the shores of large water basins and thus finally crossed Europe and reached the Atlantic coast. Secondly, the article discusses the discovery of early arsenic bronze and its spreading to the Aegean and the Middle East. In this sense, in our opinion, the Early Bronze maritime center in the Varna bay, which we will call Varna II, unlike the Chalcolithic one from the same area named Varna I, was associated exclusively with transport functions—migration by sea of groups of Pit Grave tribal migrants and the spreading of bronze products from the homeland of bronze—south of the Eastern Carpathians, down to the Mediterranean.


Chalcolithic period, Bronze Age, maritime transport center, Varna I, Varna II

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