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Mouthless 'alien mask' found at Late Chalcolithic salt pit settlement mound near Bulgaria's Provadia


This year's archaeological season at the oldest salt mining center in Europe, which dates back to the 5 - 4th  millennium BC and became the first prehistoric town on the continent, is now over. The site is located near the present town of Provadia (northeastern Bulgaria) and has been studied for years. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, archaeologists' work began later this summer, but the season was extremely successful.


Mouthless 'alien mask' found at Late Chalcolithic salt pit settlement mound near Bulgaria's Provadia
The mouthless prehistoric clay mask or figurine from the 5th millenium BC found in the Salt Pit
prehistoric settlement near Provadiya in Northeast Bulgaria has been compared to
“an alien in a space suit” in local media reports [Credit: BNR]



The latest find by Prof. Vasil Nikolov and his team is a mass grave. Days ago, while exploring the bottom of an evaporation pool, archaeologists came across 6 skulls, including children’s. It is not known whether the people buried there were killed in some of the attacks against the fortress city, or whether it was an internal conflict over salt, which was used as currency at the time.


Mouthless 'alien mask' found at Late Chalcolithic salt pit settlement mound near Bulgaria's Provadia
The more than 6,000-year-old mouthless prehistoric “alien” mask from the Salt Pit
prehistoric town in Northeast Bulgaria might have been a status symbol
[Credit: Provadiya – Solnitsata Prehistoric Settlement F/B Page]

Among the most interesting finds at Provadia-Saltworks this summer is a unique late Chalcolithic artifact. The ancient ceramic object has a triangular shape and shows an anthropomorphic image of a human face. It looks a lot like a mask. In its upper part one can see something similar to stylized ears. In addition, the object has two holes, which most likely served for hanging. The eyes of the mask are elliptical, eyebrows are painted and a nose can be seen. But the strangest thing is that the human-like image has no mouth, and many say it looks like an alien in a spacesuit. It is assumed that the object was a symbol of high status in the social hierarchy.


Mouthless 'alien mask' found at Late Chalcolithic salt pit settlement mound near Bulgaria's Provadia
View of the Provadiya Settlement Mound [Credit: BNR]



The focus of the archaeological works this summer were the fortification systems of the Saltworks, as well as its settlement part, including two houses, one of which was a two-storey building and its occupants used 400 square meters of space.


Mouthless 'alien mask' found at Late Chalcolithic salt pit settlement mound near Bulgaria's Provadia
Pottery fragments and stone tools found at the Provadiya Settlement Mound
[Credit: BNR]

The origin of the Saltworks is linked to the largest and only deposit of rock salt in this part of the Balkan Peninsula. Thanks to salt, the inhabitants of the ancient town accumulated innumerable riches. Prof. Vasil Nikolov connects the salt deposit near today's Provadia with another unique find in the area – the Varna Chalcolithic Necropolis, where the oldest processed gold in the world was discovered, dating back to the same era as the Saltworks.


Source: BNR [November 11, 2020]



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1 comment :

  1. The size and shape is very close to that of a megalodon shark tooth. Nothing against aliens, but maybe the inspiration was a bit closer to home.

    ReplyDelete


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