Ancient History



The new-stone age (neolith) of the Balkan Peninsula comprises the period from 6200 to 4900 BC. This is the time of the first settled farmers and cattlemen on these lands. The social changes are related to the “Neolithic revolution” whose achievements later became the basis for development of all ancient civilizations.

The first proof of life in the Kazanlak valley date back to that time. The Neolithic culture is best presented by the materials that were found during the examination of the Kazanlak village mound. Major phases of the development of the Neolithic culture are presented here – early (Karanovo culture I), medium (culture Protokaranovo III) and late (culture Karanovo III) Neolith - and are synchronized with the periods registered during the same period in the village mound Karanovo, whose stratigraphic scheme represents a reference point for the late prehistory in South-Eastern Europe. The examined remnants from 17 villages disclose the relatively high degree of development of the architectural construction in the region in the very beginning of VI millennium BC. Inside the exhibition hall of the museum one can find the housing schemes of the most ancient inhabitants of the Valley. Their houses had a rectangular form and one or two premises. The walls were built with wooden poles, twisted in a fence of hazelbush sticks and plastered on both sides by a thick clay layer. The appliances, that were built on the floors – remnants from bases of ovens and granaries, can be seen on the exhibited graphical boards and pictures that were documented during the excavation works.

A number of findings from that period are also presented. The stone and bone work instruments were perfectly made and had a relatively high rate of efficiency at the time. Among them one can find sickles from deer horns with attached flint teeth – used for harvesting the grain crops. Inside the Kazanlak mound the biggest collection of such sickles in South-Eastern Europe, which consists of almost 100 sickles, was found. Representative samples from the collection are shown in the exhibition. The stone axes and adzes were used for wood processing, while the flint knives and scrapers were used for finer work.

The ceramic utensils are hand-made and are distinguished by specific forms and decoration methods during every stage of the Neolith.

25 graves were found in the Neolithic layers of the mound. The dead people were most often buried in embryonic poses.

Women statues and the so-called cult tables are proofs of the religious-mythological system of the prehistoric inhabitants of the Kazanlak village mound. These objects disclose the two major aspects of the fertility cult in ancient times where women had a central role. The prehistoric plastic-art objects were made from ceramics and rarely from marble or stones.

During the late Neolith ceramic figures of men begin to appear which proves the rising cult towards the tribal chief.

Last, but not least, a lot of “decorations” or “jewelry” made from bones and rare materials –white marble, nephrite and shells – were discovered inside the village mound.

The jewelry includes beads, rings, bracelets and various necklaces. These were mainly made from Spondylus shells, which can be located only in the Aegean Sea, and also from Cardium and Unio shells.

Jewelry was owned by certain people as bearers of social status in the ancient prehistoric society and was also considered symbol of social prestige.

The Neolith material culture from the Kazanlak prehistoric village mound is a proof that its inhabitants were bearers of the earliest European civilization that existed on our homeland in the VI millennium BC.



Chapter male anthropomorphic figure, late Chalcolithic culture Kodzhadermen-Gumelnitsa-Karanovo VI, tel Vetren

The Copper-Stone Age (chalcolithic/eneolithic) dates back to 4900 – 3800 BC. The findings in the museum’s exposition, that represent the end of the Chalcolithic Age, were discovered in the Gabarevo village mound.

The material culture of the village mound belongs to the last III phase of the late-Chalcolithic culture Kodjadermen-Gumelnitsa-Karanovo VI.

The copper work instruments and objects (sickles, axes and needles), which were found there, are proofs of the local population’s achievements in metallurgy and the processing of the first ever metal discovered by mankind – copper.

The mound also gave birth to the female anthropomorphic and zoomorphic plastic arts made from clay and bones. The figure of a ceramic turtle, which was decorated from the outside with graphitic paint, is quite interesting. The ceramic utensils have biconical and seldom rounded forms. Their surfaces are mostly dark, shiny, with grey-and-black colors. The decoration of the outside surface was made in silver graphitic color.



The Early Bronze Age dates back to 3300 – 2000/1900 BC. It went through three stages of development defined as Lake A, Mihalich and Saint Kirilovo. The materials from this Age, which are presented in the museum’s exhibition, date back to the third, latest stage – St. Kirilovo.

The archeological excavations of the Kran village mound from the past years disclosed new information about the lifestyle and organization of the ancient societies of this age.

Inside the central part of the mound, which represents a natural hump, a big arched construction was examined. The building is located in Northern-Southern direction with an arch to the North. The walls were built in compliance with the traditional pole-fence technique with only the Western wall being covered with a stone “coat” aimed at protecting the building from the strongest winds coming from the West. This architectural design was first found in Thrace.

In the building’s central part there is a big clay fireplace on the floor. Inside the internal arched area, three ceramic urns, laid in shallow pits, were discovered. In two of the urns people found bones of newly-born or even premature children. Anthropological materials were not found inside the third urn, but an animal’s bone was found nearby.  

The back part of an extremely precise stone scepter with a handle hole was found in the Western half of the construction, on the floor. The building had social functions, probably related to the power of the prototsar-priest, or was a “residence” of the Valley’s ruler at the time.

Around the building scientists examined ritual pits filled with ceramic fragments, stone balls and millstone fragments. Between the pits one can find sacrificial sites (fireplaces), some of which have solid stone constructions.  

 Examination of the cultural layer is not finished yet, but the results so far present the site in Kran as a unique complex for its time which was built at a relatively high location in the Valley during the early Bronze Age (it was built on a natural uphill). Inside the complex there was a synchronic pit sanctuary and a building with social functions, the inhabitants of which served the cult in the sanctuary. The facilities examined so far, which existed on natural hills in Thrace, had an important role in the social and religious life of the population at the time.

Another aspect of the examination represents the results as an important stage in determining the architectural construction in South-Eastern Europe during that period.