The archaeological season in the Bulgarian town of Vratsa has started for the summer, and was marked by the discovery of a child’s skeleton, preliminary dated at 8000 years BCE.
It was found in the ruins of the shrine of the Sun God near the village of Ohoden. Archaeologists believe it was a human sacrifice. If this proves to be true, it would be the first such find in Bulgaria.
The skeleton is from the Neolithic age and is the fifth in an ancient mausoleum, but unlike the other four, which are facing the direction of sunrise, it is facing the sunset. The scientists have made precise measurements of the positions of the bodies and these will be compared to the position of the sun in the autumn equinox.
In an interview with public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, archaeologist Georgi Ganetsovski said that analysis of the findings would provide valuable information on the life of the early inhabitants of Europe and data on the movement of the Sun.
In previous archaeological seasons, discoveries at the site have included remains of dwellings, burial sites, human skeletons, horned skulls and other findings, suggesting that the area was a cult site for the Sun God.
The archaeological dig of the Neolithic village near Ohoden will continue with 3D scanning of the ruins and artistic reconstruction of the dwellings.
The site has already become a tourist attraction when, at the 2011 autumn equinox, spelt (a variety of wheat and a staple food in the diet of the Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples) was ritually sown. This summer it will be harvested in the manner of the age – with stone sickles. Tourists will also witness and participate in the construction of a Neolithic dwelling with stone tools typical for the period.