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In The Steps of James Harvey Gaul
Volume 2

THE
THE STRUMA/STRYMON
STRUMA/STRYMON
RIVER
RIVER VALLEY
VALLEY IN
IN PREHISTORY
PREHISTORY
Pernik

Kjustendil

 Blagoevgrad

Kamenska Čuka
Stru
ma

Topolnica
 Promachon

Drama

Str 
Serres  Sitagroi
y m  Dikili Tash
on
 Amphipolis

Edited by
Henrieta Todorova, Mark Stefanovich, Georgi Ivanov

Proceedings of the International Symposium


Strymon Praehistoricus
Kjustendil–Blagoevgrad (Bulgaria) and Serres–Amphipolis (Greece)
27.09–01.10.2004

GERDA
GERDAHENKEL
HENKELSTIFTUNG
STIFTUNG
Sofia · 2007
DIE GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG FUR FÖRDERUNG DER HISTORISCHEN
GEISTESWISSENSCHAFTEN IST IM JUNI 1976 VON FRAU LISA MASKELL
ZUM GEDENKEN AN IHRE MUTTER, FRAU GERDA HENKEL, ALS
GEMEINNÜTZIGE STIFTUNG DES PRIVATEN RECHTS ERRICHTET WORDEN.
DIE STIFTUNG HAT IHREN SITZ IN DÜSSELDORF. AUSSCHLIESSLICHER
STIFTUNGSZWECK IST DIE FÖRDERUNG DER WISSENSCHAFT, VORNEMLICH
DURCH BESTIMMTE FACHLICH UND ZEITLICH BEGRENZTE ARBEITEN AUF
DEM GEBIET DER GEISTESWISSENSCHAFT AN UNIVERSITÄTEN UND
FORSCHUNGSINSTITUTEN. DIE WEITERBILDUNG GRAGUIERTER
STUDENTEN IST EIN BESONDERES ANLIEGEN DER STIFTUNG.
THE STRUMA/STRYMON
RIVER VALLEY
IN PREHISTORY
Gerda Henkel Stiftung

In The Steps of James Harvey Gaul


Volume 2

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


Proceedings of the International Symposium „Strymon Praehistoricus“,
Kjustendil–Blagoevgrad–Serres–Amphipolis, 27.09–01.10.2004
Editing: Henrieta Todorova, Mark Stefanovich and Georgi Ivanov
1. Prehistoric–Europe; 2. Neolithic period–Europe; 3 Europe–Antiquities.
544 pp., 29 maps, 9 topograchical plans, 779 color photos, 81 b/w photos,
815 drawings, 58 tabl., 32 diagrams and simplified graphs,
10 reconstructions drawing of houses.

Museum of History-Kyustendil
ISBN: 978-954-8191-11-1

Sofia (2007) First published

GER DA HENK EL ST IF T UNG


MALKASTENSTRASSE 15, D-40211 DÜSSELDORF, GERMANY
TELEFON +49 (0)211 35 98 53, TELEFAX +49 (0)211 35 71 37
INFO@GERDA-HENKEL-STIFTUNG.DE
WWW.GERDA-HENKEL-STIFTUNG.DE

English texts edited by:


MARK STEFANOVICH
Drawings and Maps by:
IVAN VAJSOV, MICHAIL GEORGIEV AND AUTHORS ©
Photographs:
KRASIMIR GEORGIEV AND AUTORS ©
Graphic desing, layout and artistic supervisions:
GEORGI IVANOV (pages I–X; 1–41; 121–534) AND IVAN VAJSOV (pages 42–120) ©
Cover graphic desing by:
GEORGI IVANOV AND IVAN VAJSOV ©
Cover photographs by:
KRASIMIR GEORGIEV, GEOGRI IVANOV AND CHAIDO KOUKOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI ©

Copyright © 2007 by GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG and THE AUTHORS


ISBN: 978-954-8191-11-1

No part of this publication may by reproduced by any means, including photocopy, recording or other information
storage retrieval system, without permission in writing from GERDA HENKEL STIFTUNG and THE AUTHORS.
The copyright to the illustrations are hold by the authors.

Printed in Bulgaria at Bulged.


Digital print. The technology of Indigo.
Gerda Henkel Stiftung

THE STRUMA/STRYMON
RIVER VALLEY IN PREHISTORY

Proceedings of the International Symposium

Strymon Praehistoricus
Kjustendil–Blagoevgrad Serres–Amphipolis
(Bulgaria) (Greece)
27.09–01.10.2004

Edited by

Henrieta Todorova, Mark Stefanovich, Georgi Ivanov

Sofia 2007
Table of Contents

Vorwort ........................................................................................................................................................... vii

Die paleoklimatische Entwicklung in VII–I Jt. vor Chr.


H. Todorova ..................................................................................................................................................... 1
Abrupt Climate Forcing Observed at Early Neolithic Sites
in South-East Europe and the Near East
B. Weninger, E. Alram-Stern, E. Bauer, L. Clare, U. Danzeglocke,
O. Jöris, C. Kubatzki, G. Rollefson, H. Todorova, T. van Andel .................................................................... 7
Social Network Analysis of Neolithic Societies
E. Claßen ........................................................................................................................................................ 28
Promachon-Topolnica. A greek-bulgarian archaeological project
Ch. Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, H. Todorova, I. Aslanis, I. Vajsov, M. Valla ................................................. 43
Promachon-Topolnica. A typology of painted decorations
and its use as a chronological marker
I. Vajsov .......................................................................................................................................................... 79
Tierdarstellungen und „Stierkult“ im Neolithikum Südosteuropas und Anatoliens
F. Falkenstein ................................................................................................................................................121
Where Do Children Belong? Neolithic burials in western Bulgaria
K. Băčvarov ...................................................................................................................................................139
Нови сведения за ранния неолит в Северозападна България
Г. Ганецовски ...............................................................................................................................................147
Die Entstehung und Gliederung der neolithischen Kulturen auf dem Zentralbalkan:
Fallbeispiel Gălăbnik
J. Pavúk ........................................................................................................................................................ 165
Tell Gălăbnik. Architecture and Site Planning
A. Bakamska..................................................................................................................................................177
Крайници – раннокерамично селище от басейна на река Струма
С. Чохаджиев, А. Бакъмска Л. Нинов .....................................................................................................181
The Early Neolithic Site at Piperkov Čiflik, Near Kjustendil (Season 2004)
V. Vandova ....................................................................................................................................................191
Proto-Starčevo Culture and Early Neolithic in the Struma Valley
M. Bogdanović ..............................................................................................................................................201
La périodisation des sites préhistoriques dans la vallée de la Strouma moyenne
L. Perničeva.................................................................................................................................................. 209
Das Frühchalkolithikum des Strymonbereichs
S. Čochadžiev ............................................................................................................................................... 223
Some Observations on Zoomorphic Images from Western Bulgaria
S. Terzijska–Ignatova ................................................................................................................................... 227
Prehistoric Settlements in the Province of Kjustendil
V. Genadieva ................................................................................................................................................ 239
Recent Researches at the Neolithic Settlement of Dikili Tash, Eastern Macedonia, Greece:
an Overview
P. Darcque, H. Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, D. Malamidou, R. Treuil, Z. Tsirtsoni ......................................247
Neolithic Societies: Recent Evidence from Northern Greece
M. Pappa .......................................................................................................................................................257

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Linguistische Angaben über die Namen der Flüsse Axios, Strymon, Nestos
I. Duridanov † ............................................................................................................................................. 273
Prehistorical Sites in the Middle Struma River Valley Between the End of the VIIth mill.
BC and the Beginning of the Ist mill. BC
M. Grębska-Kulowa, I. Kulow ..................................................................................................................... 279
Kryoneri: a Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Settlement in the Lower Strymon Valley
D. Malamidou .............................................................................................................................................. 297
Absolute Chronology of the Neolithic and Eneolithic Cultures in the Valley of Struma
J. Bojadžiev................................................................................................................................................... 309
Decline of the Painted Pottery in Eastern Macedonia and North Aegean
at the End of the Final Neolithic/Chalcolithic Period
S. Papadopoulos ............................................................................................................................................317
On the Late Stages of the Krivodol-Sălcuţa Culture
P. Georgieva ................................................................................................................................................. 329
The Ethno-Cultural Affiliation of the North Anatolian Early Bronze Age
J. Yakar ......................................................................................................................................................... 339
Dating the Donja Brnjica Culture Based on Metal Finds
K. Luci .......................................................................................................................................................... 347
A Late Bronze Age Cemetery in Faia Petra, East of the Middle Strymon Valley
M. Valla ........................................................................................................................................................ 359
The Late Bronze Age Necropolis in the Тown of Sandanski, Southwest Bulgaria
S. Alexandrov, V. Petkov, G. Ivanov .............................................................................................................373
Krsto Pokrovnik Excavations at a Late Bronze Age Site in the Middle Struma
River Valley, Southwest Bulgaria. Preliminary results – 2004 season
M. Stefanovich, I. Kulov .............................................................................................................................. 389
Tradition and Innovation in the Bronze Age Pottery of the Thessaloniki Toumba.
Food and drink consumption and “tableware” ceramics
S. Andreou, K. Psaraki ................................................................................................................................ 397
Bronzezeitliche Goldornate aus Süddeutschland
und ihre donauländisch-balkanischen Beziehungen
W. David ....................................................................................................................................................... 421
The Beginning of the Iron Age in Macedonia
D. Mitrevski .................................................................................................................................................. 443
Assiros Toumba. A brief history of the settlement
K.A. Wardle, D. Wardle. ...............................................................................................................................451
Troy VIIB2 Revisited. The date of the transition from Bronze
to Iron Age in the Northern Aegean
K.A. Wardle, M. Newton, P.I. Kuniholm .....................................................................................................481
Palaeobotanical Data in South-Western Region of Bulgaria
Tz. Popova, E. Marinova .............................................................................................................................. 499
Промахон-Тополница. Компаративно изследване
на дивите и домашни животни от сектор Тополница
Н. Илиев, Н. Спасов .................................................................................................................................. 509
Agriculture and Use of Space at Promachon/Topolnica.
Preliminary observations on the archaeobotanical material
S.M. Valamoti ............................................................................................................................................... 523
Palaeoecological Evidence of the Main Postglacial Vegetation and Climate Changes
in Southwestern Bulgaria from the Neolithic to Modern Times
E. Božilova, S. Tonkov ..................................................................................................................................531

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


vi

Участниците в конференцията пред Археологическия музей на Серес, 1 октомври 2004 г.


Οι συμμετέχοντες στο συνέδριο μπροστά από το Αρχαιολογικό μουσείο στις Σέρρες, 1 Οκτωβρίου 2004.
The participants of the conference in front of the Archaeological Museum of Serres, 1st of October 2004.

Henrieta Todorova henrietat@web.de Stratis Papadopoulos strapapa@in.gr


Bernhard Weninger b.weninger@uni-koeln.de Petya Georgieva van@theworld.com
Erich Claßen erich.classen@uni-koeln.de Jak Yakar yakar@post.tau.ac.il
Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki ckoukouli@yahoo.gr Kemjal Luci muzeu_kosoves@ipko.org
Ioanis Aslanis aslanis@classic.diavlos.gr Magdalene Valla vallamagda@in.gr
Ivan Vajsov aim-bas@aclubcable.com Stefan Alexandrov stefanalexandrov@abv.bg
Frank Falkanstein falkenstein@urz.uni-heidelberg.de Georgi Ivanov ivanov.georgi@yahoo.com
Krum Bačvarov krum.bacvarov@gmail.com Mark Stefanovich mark@aubg.bg
Georges Ganetzovski ganecovski_ar@abv.bg Stelios Andreou andrest@hist.auth.gr
Juraj Pavuk jpavuk@pobox.sk Wolfgang David wolfgang.david@vfpa.fak12.uni-muenchen.de
Aneta Bakamska abakamska@gmail.com Dragi Mitrevski dragimit@yahoo.com
Stefan Čochadžiev s_choha@abv.bg Ken Wardle wardleken@aol.com
Veselina Vandova v.vandova@abv.bg Diana Wardle d.e.wardle@bham.ac.uk
Liljana Perničeva pernicheva@abv.bg Maryanne Newton mwn3@cornell.edu
Stoilka Terzijska–Ignatova ignatovatoni@yahoo.com P.I. Kuniholm pik3@cornell.edu1
Veneta Genadieva venge@abv.bg Tzvetana Popova paleobotani_tz@abv.bg
Pascal Darcque pascal.darcque@mae.u-paris10.fr Nikolaj Spasov nspassov@nmnh.bas.bg
René Treuil rene.treuil@mae.u-paris10.fr Elisaveta Božilova bozilova@biofac.uni-sofia.bg
Zoï Tsirtsoni zoi.tsirtsoni@mom.fr Spassimir Tonkov tonkov@biofac.uni-sofia.bg
Maria Papa gatpap@otenet.gr Sultana Maria Valamoti sval@hist.auth.gr
Malgorzata Grębska-Kulowa grembskamal@hotmail.com Irena Nasteva musmk@mt.net.mk
Ilija Kulow iliakulov@yahoo.com Petar Zidarov petarzidarov@yahoo.com
Dimitra Malamidou d.malamidou@free.fr Biserka Gaydarska b_gaydarska@yahoo.co.uk
Javor Bojadžiev yavordb@abv.bg Valentin Debochichki rmuseum.kn@mail.bg

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica
A greek-bulgarian archaeological project
Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova,
Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla
Промахон-Тополница. Гръко-Български археологически проект
Хайдо Кукули-Хризантаки, Хенриета Тодорова, Яоанис Асланис, Иван Вайсов, Магдаленe Вала
През VI–V хил. пр. Хр. районът на Средна Струма е важното свързващо звено между юга и севера на Бал-
канския полуостров. Това обуславя голямото значение на проучването на намиращото се там праисторичес-
ко селище Промахон-Тополница. Дългогодишните разкопки на обекта (1980–2003 год.), провеждани както от
българската, така и от гръцката страна на границата, хвърлиха обилна светлина върху проблемите на праис-
торията на този район и донесоха много нови открития. Именно този обект дава и името на късно неолитната
култура Тополница–Акропотамос.
Обектът лежи на 1 км западно от десния бряг на река Струма, на ръба на заливната й тераса. Той се намира
на около 2 км южно от българското село Тополница, Петричко (Figure 3–4). Разположен е пред източните скло-
нове на планината Беласица, върху обширен eрозионен конус. Находището е известно в България под името
„Кременица“. То се простира от двете страни на българо-гръцката граница, при гранична пирамида №63 и
заема площ от около 40 декара. Българо-гръцката граница го дели на два сектора – български (наречен сектор
Тополница) и гръцки (наречен сектор Промахон).
Доминантното географско положение на селището е указание за това, че жителите му са контролирали по
един или друг начин прохода Промахон, а с това и търговския път по река Струма. Промахон-Тополница е важ-
но свързващо звено между неолитните култури на Северна Гърция и Югозападна България. В края на шестото
и началото на петото хил. пр. Хр. селището е играло ключова роля в праисторията на Балканския полуостров.
Животът там е продължил около 400 години, между 5100 и 4700 г. пр. Хр.
Обектът е открит през 1979 год. по време на теренни обхождания, организирани от музея в гр. Петрич.
През 1980 г. започва археологическото проучване на българския сектор под ръководството на проф., д-р, д-
р.и.н. Хенриета Тодорова от Археологическия институт на Българската академия на науките в София. В сектор
Тополница те продължават без прекъсване до 1991 год.
Политическите промени след 1989 год. позволиха осъществяването на един голям гръцко-български про-
ект за проучване и на гръцката част от селището. Той е ръководен от гръцка страна от д-р Хайдо Кукули-Хри-
зантаки, а от българска – от член кор. на БАН, проф. д-р, д-р.и.н Хенриета Тодорова. Разкопките на гръцка
територия продължиха от 1993 до 2003 год. В тях участва гръцко-български колектив, съставен от специалисти
от различни области на науката.
В сектор Промахон бе открит уникален сутеренен храм, вкопан на 4 м дълбочина. Той е бил двуетажен,
като долният му, вкопан в земята, етаж вероятно е служил за депониране на жертвоприношения. Там бе отк-
рит голям брой червено оцветени букраниони (челната част на бичи черепи). От храма произхожда и богата
колекция от находки – глинени и мраморни идоли, съдове, украсени с битум и червено и черно рисувани орна-
ментални композиции, аскоси, пинтадери, каменни и кремъчни артефакти, глинени модели на храма, олтари
както и части от дървени, украсени с червена и черна боя, конструкции.
Селището е било застроено с частично вкопани в земята сгради, които образуват голям архитектурен ан-
самбъл. Стените на сградите са били от колове, преплетени с плет, обмазан с глина. Вероятно покривните
конструкции са били хоризонтални, като на места равният покрив вероятно е носил надстройка, покрита с
двускатен покрив.
Особен интерес представлява един наземен храм от финалната фаза (IIIB) на селището, проучен на бъл-
гарска територия, където бяха открити три големи идоли, които са били апликирани като полурелефи на за-
падната му стена.
От изток, в сектор Тополница, бе устанавена палисада от масивни дървени колове, от което съдим, че сели-
щето е било добре укрепено.
Земеделието и животновъдството са лежали в основата на икономиката на селището. Отглеждани са били
дребни кози и овце, както и говеда. Откритите тежести за стан и прешлените за вретено свидетелстват за раз-
вито тъкачество. Оръдията са били от камък, кремък, кост и рог. Открити са и останки от кошници и рогозки.
През финалния етап от съществуването на къснонеолитното селище тук е била обработвана и самородна
мед, за което говорят откритите многобройни най-ранни металургични топилни. Те маркират началото на
металургията въобще.
Къснонеолитната керамика е изключително висококачествена и богато украсена с рисувани орнаменти на-
несени с черна и тъмнокафява боя (тип Акропотамос и тип Струмско), с битум (тип Тополница), с широки свет-
лочервени ленти (тип Промахон), с полихромен орнамент (тип Димитра).
Ранноенеолитната керамика е украсена с типичният за Струма позитивен линеен графитен и врязан орна-
мент, очертаващи спиралоидни мотиви.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


44 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Προμαχώνας -Topolnica. Ελληνοβουλγαρικές αρχαιολογικές έρευνες


X. Koυκoύλη-Xρυσανθάκη, H. Todorova, I. Ασλάνης, I. Vajsov, M. Βάλλα
Κατά την 6τη – 5τη χιλιετία πρ. Χρ. η περιοχή του μέσου και του κάτω Στρυμώνα έπαιξε σημαντικό ρόλο στην
επικοινωνία ανάμεσα στο νότιο και το βόρειο τμήμα της Βαλκανικής χερσονήσου. Η γεωγραφική θέση του οικισμού
Προμαχών-Topolnitsa καθορίζει και την σημασία της ανασκαφικής εξερεύνησής του. Οι μακρόχρονες ανασκαφές
στην θέση (1983–2003) έφεραν στο φώς πολλά καινουργια ευρήματα και έγιναν αφορμή για καινούργιες ερμηνείες.
Λόγω της σημασίας του, ο οίκισμος συμπεριλήφθηκε στην ονομασία του υστερονεολιθικού πολιτισμού Topolnitsa-
Ακροπόταμος. Ο οικισμός βρίσκεται στο χαμηλό λόφο Κρεμενίτσα, σε απόσταση ένα χιλιόμετρο δυτικότερα του
σημερινού ρού του Στρυμόνα και περίπου 2 χιλιόμετρα νοτιότερα του χοριού Τοπόλνιτσα (Εικ. 3–4) και τέμνεται σε
δύο από τα ελληνοβουλγαρικά σύνορα. Η έκταση της προϊστορικής εγκατάστασης υπολογίζεται στα 40 στρέμματα. Η
προεξέχουσα τοποθεσία του οικισμού υποδεικνύει, πως οι κάτοικοι του μάλλουν θα ελέγχαν το στενό του Προμαχόνα
και επομένος τον δρόμο κατά μήκος του Στρυμόνα.
Η ζωή στν εγκατάσταση διαρκούσε περίπου 500 χρόνια, από τα τέλη της 6ης μέχρι και το τέλος του πρώτου ήμισυ
της 5ης χιλιετίας πρ. Χρ. (περίπου 5100 – 4600 πρ. Χρ.).
Ο οικισμός βρέθηκε το 1979 κατά επιφανειακές έρευνες διοργανόμενες από το αρχαιολογικό μουσείου στο Pet-
rich. Ο βουλγαρικός τομέας διερευνήθηκε από το 1980 εως το 1991 υπό τη διεύθυνση της Η. Todorova. Οι πολιτικές
αλλαγές το 1989 επέτρεψαν μια ελληνοβουλγαρική συνεργασία, κατευθυνόμενη από τους αρχαιολόγους Χ. Κουκούλη-
Χρυσανθάκη και Η. Todorova, στην οποία έλαβαν μέρος συνεργάτες από διάφορους κλάδους της επιστήμης. Οι
ανασκαφές στο ελληνικό τομέα έλαβαν χώρα από το 1993 έως το 2003 και έφεραν στο φώς ένα μοναδικό κτίριο και
σπάνια ευρήματα: πήλινα αγγεία με μαύρη και κόκκινη γραπτή διακόσμηση, ανθρωπόμορφα ειδώλια, πινταντέρες,
εργαλεία από λίθο και πυριτόλιθο, πήλινα ομοιώματα κτιρίων όπως και μέρη ξύλινων κατασκευών. Τα κτίρια του
οικισμού βρίσκονταν εν μέρει στο έδαφος, τοποθετημένα το ένα κοντά στον άλλο δημιουργόντας νησίδες. Οι τοίχοι
κτιρίων ήθαν κατασκευασμένες από ξύλινους πασσάλους, πλεχτά κλαδιά και πηλό. Οι στέγες θα ήθαν οριζόντιες, ενώ
μέρικά σημεία τα κτίρια θα κατείχαν και δεύτερο όροφο καλυμμένο με δίκλινη στέγη. Ιδιαίτερο ενδιαφέρον κατέχει
ένα κτίριο με υπόγειο, σκαμμένο 4 μ. μέσα στο φυσικό έδαφος μέσα στο οποίο βρέθηκαν βουκράνια, λιχνάρια,
ανθρωπόμορφα ειδώλια, ασκοειδή και άλλα αγγεία, τα οποία παραπέμπουν σε τελετουργική αποθετική χρήση. Η
ανατολική πλευρά του οικισμού ήθαν οχυρομένη με περίφραξη από μεγάλους πασσάλους. Οικονομική βάση του
πληθυσμό αποτελούσε η γεωργία και η κτηνοτροφία. Εκτρέφονταν αιγοπρόβατα και βοοειδή. Αγνίθες και πήλινα
σφοντύλια τεκμειριώνουν την ύπαρξη υφαντικής. Σόζωνται εργαλεία από πέτρα, πυριθόλιτο, οστόν και κέρατο. Για
την τελευταία φάση του οικισμού αποδεικνύεται η επεξεργασία χαλκού, μια που βρέθηκαν τμήματα χωνευτηρίων.
Η κεραμεική διακρίνεται για την καλή της ποιότητα και τον πλούσιο γραπτό διάκοσμο (των τύπων Ακροπόταμος,
Στρούμσκο), την διακόσμηση με Bitumen (τύπος Τοπόλνιτσα), την διακόσμηση με φαρδιές κόκκινες ταινίες (τύπος
Προμαχών), την διακόσμηση με περισσότερα χρώματα (τύπος Δήμητρα), ενώ για τις φάσεις της αρχαιότερης
Χαλκολιθικής είναι χαρακτηριστικά αγγεία διακόσμημένα με γραφίτη. Στον οικισμό βρέθηκε μεγάλος αριθμός
πήλινων ανθρωπόμορφων ειδωλίων. Στον τομέα «Topolnitsa» ήρθε στο φώς ένα σύμπλεγμα από τρία ανρθωπόμορφα
ειδώλια, τα οποία λόγω αξιόλογου σοζώνου ύψους από περίπου 1 μ. μπορούν να χαρακτηριστούν ώς αγάλματα.

Introduction the Greek-Bulgarian systematic excavations of


Today Greek (Fig. 2) and Bulgarian (Fig. 1) Promachon-Topolnica are of exceptional im-
archaeologists are investigating a Neolithic set- portance for the Late Neolithic and Early Eneo-
tlement that is situated on the Greek–Bulgarian lithic on the Balkan Peninsula.
border and is bisected by the frontier of the two
countries. Until 1994 this Neolithic settlement History of Research
was known in the literature under the name The settlement of Topolnica (Kremenica)
of Topolnica or Topolniča „Kremenica“ (PER- was discovered in 1978 by B. Băcharova, who
NICHEVA 1983; TODOROVA 1982; 1983; 1984; TO - was then director of the museum in Petrich
DOROVA /BOJADZIEV 1985, 1986, 1987; BOJADZIEV/ (BĂČVAROVA 2002). The site was also registered
VAJSOV 1988, 1989, 1990, 1991; TODOROVA /VAJS- by the Bulgarian-Polish survey expedition in
OV 1993, 1995; G ÖRSDORF/BOJADZIEV 1996; BAI- 1980–1981 when they noted sites in the areas
LEY 2000), and from 1995 – under the name of around the rivers Strumešnica and the Middle
Promachon, Promahonas or Promachon-Topol- Struma (Strymon) (PERNICHEVA 1983, 1995; DO-
nica (KOUKOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI et al. 1995, MARADZKI et coll. 2001, 70–72, Karta 1–3, Tablo
1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2004; KOU- 2:16, 18–22, 24–25; 3:1, 3–4). During 1980 H.
KOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI /BASSIAKOS 2002; A NDREOU Todorova from the Archaeological Institute of
et al 1996.). The discovery of this site has given Sofia began test excavations on the site called
researchers the possibility to define a new cul- Kremenica, that is located 2 kilometers to the
ture called – Topolnica-Akropotamos (TODOR- south of the Bulgarian village Topolnica. Until
OVA /VAJSOV 1993, 113–116). The results from 1983 these excavations were carried out alone

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 45

1a 2a

1b 2b

Fig. 1. a – The Bulgarian team in the Sector Figure 2. a–b – Working in the Sector Promachon;
Topolnica in 1989*; b – Working in b – P. Tzanetakis (conservator).
the Sector Topolnica.

by Todorova (TODOROVA 1980, 1982, 1983, 1984; later Greek one laid out in 1992 as the grid in
GEORGIEV, E. 1982), and from 1984–1986 with the Bulgarian sector (sector Topolnica) was ori-
J. Bojadziev (TODOROVA /BOJADZIEV 1985, 1986, ented to magnetic north.
1987). From 1987 until 1991 archaeological In 1992, a joint Greek-Bulgarian excava-
research on the Bulagrian sector was under J. tion-research program began on the sector of
Bojadziev with I. Vajsov from the Archaeological the site located on Greek territory (sector Pro-
Institute of Sofia (BOJADZIEV/VAJSOV 1988, 1989, machon) that continued to 2003. It was car-
1990, 1991) (Fig. 1). ried out under the auspicious of the Greek 18th
During 1980–1981 the excavations were Ephorate of Prehistoric and Classical Antiqui-
mainly test soundings extending up to the ties of Eastern Macedonia under the direction
border markers (Fig. 5:1). The aim was to de- of Ch. Koukouli-Chryssanthaki in collaboration
fine the stratigraphy and chronology of the with I. Aslanis of the Greek National Center of
site. Because of the complexity of the horizon- Research and the excavation team from Bulgar-
tal stratigraphy this was especially difficult. ia (KOUKOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI et al. 1992; 1993;
This caused future excavations (1981–1991) to 1995; 1996; 1997a–1997b; 1998; 1999; 2000;
extend the excavation to the east and encom- 2001; 2004; Koukouli-CHRYSSANTHAKI/BASIAKOS
pass a large part of the settlement on the Bul- 2002) (Fig. 2). The results after 23 years of ex-
garian side of the border. During 1981 Ing. P. cavation on the site of Promachon-Topolnica
Vălev, an engineer-surveyor from the Archaeo- show with justification that this is one of the
logical Institute of Sofia set out a grid of 5 × most important prehistoric sites in this part of
5 m squares. This grid was different from the Southeastern Europe.

* From left to right (Tsvetan Tsvetanski, Plamen Arsov, Ivan Ilian Hristakiev, Galja Stajkova, Petar Tsvetkov, Javor Bo-
Vajsov, Stamen Stanev, Smaragda Arvanitidu, Petar Iliev, jadžiev, Milena Kalfova and Vladimir Panajotov)

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


46 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Ali Botuš (Slavjanka) mountain

Kulata

Struma (Strymon) River


Promachon-Topolnica

Fig. 3. Location of the Neolithic settlement Promachon-Topolnica (view from the West, Belasica moutain).

The artifacts from the Promachon-Topol- tegic and the site controlled the north-south traf-
nica settlement excavations are located in the fic through the Promachon pass that also rep-
following museums, Archaeological Institute resents an important link between the Neolithic
and Museum – Bulgarian Academy of Sciences cultures of Northern Greece and Southern West
Sofia (Bulgaria), National Historical Museum Bulgaria. The site is also located on the border
Sofia, (Bulgaria), Historical Museum Blago- between the Middle and Lower Strymon (Stru-
evgrad (Bulgaria), Historical Museum Petrich ma) river that from ancient times was a cross-
(Bulgaria), Archaeological Museum Serres (Gre- roads for many cultures and peoples. The val-
ece). The material (pottery, bones, daub etc.) leys of the Middle and Lower Strymon (Struma)
from Sector Promachon is stored in the Loutra river, along with the river Strumešnica was the
Sanatorium in Sidirokastro, Greece. area where the Topolnica-Akropotamos culture
extended with its dense settlement system.
Where is the site of Promachon-Topolnica
located? Research on the site of Promachon-Topol-
The Neolithic site Promachon-Topolnica is nica
located 1 km to the west of the right bank of the The joint research program, which has
Styrmon (Struma) river and 2 km to the south combined excavations and surface investigation
of the Bulgarian village Topolnica (Municipality with archaeometric ground probe data1 has
Petrich) and 3,5 km north-west of the Greek bor- determined the existence of an open prehistor-
der village of Promachon (Figs. 3–4; Geographic ic settlement (CHAPMAN 1989, 134) that covered
Coordinates: Latitude – 41°23.220`, Longitude two adjacent hilltops and encompassed a total
– 23°19.725`; h. 80.50 m). This location was stra- area of 5 hectares with habitation occupation

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 47

Marikostinovo

B U L G A R I A

Čučoligovo

Topolnica
Marino Pole

Kulata
Promachon-Topolnica

Belasica
Mountains

Promachon
G R E E C E

Fig. 4. Geographical map of the lower course of the Middle (Strymon) Struma valley and
location of the Neolithic settlement Promachon-Topolnica.
Drawing – © M. Georgiev and I. Vajsov.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


48 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

between 0,5 to 1,70 meters in depth (Figs. 3–4). of female figures (KOUKOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI
The excavations undertaken on the Greek and et al. 1998b, Fig. 4:1; 1997b, Fig. 5:3), which
the Bulgarian areas of the prehistoric settle- probably come from the decoration of the West
ment have identified four habitation phases. wall. The site mapping of the many clay idols
Today the stratigraphic sequence of the that have been discovered around the building
occupation levels according to excavation re- point to a votive deposit. There suggests the
sults is as follows: in the uppermost archaeolog- interpretation of a sanctuary for this dwelling
ical level, which has been disturbed by plowing, (TODOROVA /VAJSOV 1993).
only a few pits and probably the compacted lay- Vessels painted in the Akropotamos style
ers with pottery sherds and pebbles appear in decoration (Fig. 36) (MYLONAS /BAKALAKIS 1938;
places where the architectural remains of the MYLONAS 1941), mostly locally made, are typical
last phase of habitation are present (Phase IV) for this phase (CHOCHATZIEV 1986; PERNICHEVA
(Figs. 5:2, 5:3). These strata, which also contain 2002).
pottery from an earlier phase, probably come Evidence for copper-smelting is of particular
from the leveling of the ruins of the buildings interest and is documented in the sector Proma-
from the preceding settlement levels. The last chon in the Phase III levels (KOUKOULI-CHRYS-
phase of habitation on the site can be dated to SANTHAKI et al. 2000; KOUKOULI-CHRYSANTHAKI /
a late phase of the Late Neolithic based on scat- BASIAKOS 2002).
tered pottery sherds. Typical examples of incised According to the Archaeometry Laboratory
and graphite painted pottery (Fig. 33) link this Democritos in Athens a clay crucible found at
phase to Dikili Tash II (SEFERIADIS 1983; TREUIL the bottom of a small pit contained traces of cop-
1992) and Sitagroi III (EVANS 1986) in Eastern per smelting with distinct traces of heavy burn-
Macedonia, and to Slatino (CHOCHADZIEV 1986) ing (Figs. 7:1–4). The extension of the excava-
in the Strymon valley, and Gradešnica (NIKOLOV tion area towards neighboring Trench B also
1976) in Northwestern Bulgaria, as well as the revealed traces of copper on the floor. Here we
Marica I–II culture in North Thrace. discovered a series of hollows in the floor with
Clear architectural remains from the next successive layers of burnt clay on the interior
level (Phase III) from both the Greek (Sector (Fig. 7:3), that resemble a similar construction
Promachon) (Fig. 5:5) and Bulgarian sectors in Phase I at the prehistoric settlement of Dikili
(Sector Topolnica) (Fig. 5:4) indicate timber- Tash (SEFERIADES 1983; BLÉCON et al. 1992). As
framed (wattle and daub) houses with interior the excavations continued, further evidence in-
hearths. The best example of a timber-framed/ creased for copper extraction in these hollows.
wattle and daub/house in this level was found The only examples known to date of early
in the Bulgarian sector. It was rectangular and copper metallurgy in the 5th millennium BC,
measured 8 × 5 m and was aligned roughly without slag production come from the Middle
east-west. A large post-hole pit in the center East. At this initial stage of copper production
belonged to a post, which had supported the veins of pure malachite were exploited, which
the roof (Fig. 5:4). Inside on the east side of the did not leave slag. Examples of slag-free extrac-
South wall, an oven was discovered with side tion of copper in the Middle East are still few
chambers. On a bench, next to the West wall, and isolated while the Çatal Hüyük slag sample
were found fragments of three relief protomes from the 6th millennium remains questionable

1
The settlement is situated at the area of the deserted Koukouli-Chryssanthaki et al. 1998a; 1997b.
Greek village Mesaia, Nea Petritsi and the Bulgarian vil- Main collaborators of the progamm: Ch. Koukouli-Chryssan-
lage Topolnitsa (Topolnica). The collaborative research thaki, H. Todorova, I. Aslanis, I. Vajsov, M. Valla, D. Mala-
program has been designated by the conventional name midou, V. Draganov, K. Dimitrov, Ph. Kostantopoulou, D.
Promachon-Topolnica which refers to this prehistoric Amoiridou and J. Bojadžiev (excavation goup); G. Koutet-
settlement that is divided by the Greek and Bulgarian bor- si-Philippaki (stone tools); R. Christidou (bone objects); Tz.
der using the names of the two modern-day neighbouring Popova and T. Valamoti (paleobotanology); N. Spassov
Greek and Bulgarian villages Promachon and Topolnica. and K. Trantalidou (palaeozoology); I. Kulev and I. Bas-
The research results of this project are to be published in siakos (archaeometallurgy); P. Yiouni (pottery techiques);
a publication under the title „Promachon–Topolnica“. M. Georgiev , K. Velkovski and D. Stoev (ground probe
Till now there are two joint preliminary publications: investigations) and P. Tzanetakis (conservation).

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 49

B U L G A R I A

Sector Promachon

Sector Topolnica

G R E E C E

2 3

4 5

Fig. 5. 1 Promachon-Topolnica topographic plan of the prehistoric settlement (Drawing – © M. Georgiev and
I. Vajsov); 2 Layer with pottery sherds and pebbles, Sector Topolnica, Phase IV; 2 Layer with pottery sherds
and pebbles, Sector Promachon, Phase IV; 4 House nr. 1. Sector Topolnica, Phase IIIB; 5 Timber houses
(wattle and daub construction), Sector Promachon, Phase IIIB.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


50 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla
Lab. No Context Material C BP
14
ä13C cal. BC

HD-20459 5, Square ÓÔ Bone 5999±47 -19,30 4939–4805 (68,3%)


Phase III 5017–4733 (95,4%)

HD-20461 3, Square IA, depth 80,05 m Bone 5447±42 -18,62 4341–4250 (68,3%)
Phase III (IV) 4360–4145 (95,4%)

HD-20462 4, Square IA, depth 80,01 m Bone 5530±48 -19,00 4448–4337 (68,3%)
Phase III (IV) 4459–4254 (95,4%)

DEM-1173 10, Square ÉÓÔ, pasa 10 Charcoal 5996±25 -25,00 4910–4810 (68,3%)
depth 79,30 m, Phase II 4940–4870 (95,4%)

DEM-1185 9, Square ÉÓÔ, pasa 10 Charcoal 5895±33 -25,00 4800–4720 (68,3%)


depth 79,31 m, Phase II 4850–4690 (95,4%)

Bln-3348 Hor. 2b, Square M14, depth Charcoal 6000±80 4970–4780a


0,90 m, Wohngrube, Phase II

DEM-1250 8, Square ÉÓÔ, pasa 8 Charcoal 6068±40 -25,00 5030–4860 (68,3%)


depth 79,65 m, Phase II 5190–4810 (95,4%)

DEM-1254 12, Square ÉÓÔ, pasa 11 Charcoal 6038±40 -25,00 4990–4820 (68,3%)
depth 78,99 m, Phase II 5040–4800 (95,4%)

HD-20457 29, Square Ã, depth 78,17 Charcoal 6188±38 -25,77 5227–5061 (68,3%)
Phase I 5287–5002 (95,4%)

Bln-3382 Hor. 2c, Square J14, Charcoal 6100±60 5200–5180


depth 1,10 m, Phase I 5080–4930a

Bln-3349 Hor. 2c, Square O12 Charcoal 6240±90 5270–5060a


depth 1,20 m, Grube, Phase I

Bln-3381 Hor. 2b, Square J11, Charcoal 6270±60 5270–5200


depth 0,80 m, Phase I 5170–5080a

Fig. 6. 14C dates (according to GÖRSDORF/BOJADŽIEV 1996;


MANIATIS/FAKORELLIS 2000; MANIATIS et al. 2004).

(CRADDOCK 1995). earliest building phase – Phase II of the settle-


In Europe, there is no archaeological evi- ment Promachon-Topolnica.
dence for copper smelting in the earliest phases In this phase, which is according to 14C ana-
of the Late Neolithic. The appearance of cru- lyses is dated to the beginning of the early
cibles with copper slag in Sitagroi Phase III phase of the Late Neolithic, occurs in pits and
probably comes from a copper melting opera- semi-subterranean „rooms“ cut into the natural
tion (RENFREW/SLATER 2003). The evidence for subsoil.
intensive copper ore extraction in the Balkans According to the 14C dates these phases are
at the mines of Rudna Glava (JOVANOVIC 1980) dated as follow (Fig. 6):
and Aibunar (CERNYCH 1978) at the end of the
later phase of the Late Neolithic, presupposes Phase II: End of the 6th millennium,
the existence of an earlier small scale stage of Phase III: First half of the 5th millennium,
copper extraction. This could have begun as Phase IV: End of the first half of the 5th
early as the first half of the 5th millennium. The millennium.
examples from the prehistoric settlement of
Promachon-Topolnica and the isolated and an We do not as yet have a complete set of 14C
unconfirmed example from the settlement at dates for the lower levels of Phase I in the Pro-
Dikili Tash dated to the early phase of the Late mahon sector. We also have not checked the 14C
Neolithic (Dikili Tash I, Sitagroi II), constitutes dates against the thermoluminescence dates,
the earliest evidence for the autonomous ap- and therefore it is still too early to discuss the
pearance of copper metallurgy in the first half 14
C dates for Phase IV of Promachon–Topolnica
of the 5th millennium BC. compared to those in a similar phase of Dikili
Below building Phase III with its timber- Tash II (MANIATIS /FAKORELIS 1996) where the
framed-wattle and daub-houses was found the thermoluminescence dates have been checked

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 51

1 2

3 4

Fig. 7. 1 – North Profile Square G – Crucible Pit; 2 – Bottom of the crucible pit;
3 – Cavities; 4 – Crucible. Sector Promachon, Phase III.

1
2

3 4

Fig. 8. Malachite beads (2–4) and bone (1). Fig. 9. Clay bead. Sector Topolnica, Phase III. Photo
Sector Promachon, Phase III. – © K. Georgiev.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


52 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

(GUIBERT/ROCQUE 2000, 23). However, these arranged. A third semi-subterranean structure


dates do appear to be later than the ones for nr. 3 was discovered on the south side of the
contemporary cultures in the Balkans (BO- excavated area.
JADZIEV 1987). The most important subterranean structure
Similar semi-subterranean structures of nr. 4 in the Promachon sector was found under
different dimensions are already known in the the timber-framed wattle and daub structures of
Aegean area (PANTELIDOU/GOFA 1991). They have a later building in Phase III (Fig. 13). It differs
also been discovered on northern Greek sites in from the other semi-subterranean structures
the same chronological horizon, e.g., Makriya- excavated in the Greek and the Bulgarian sec-
los (PAPPA /BESSIOS 1995, 1998, 1999) Thermi tors. This large, roughly circular subterranean
(GRAMMENOS /PAPPA 1992; PAPPA et al. 2000) and structure, of which barely a third has been exca-
Stavroupolis (GRAMMENOS /KOTSOS 2002), Gian- vated, is much bigger than the already described
itsa B (CHRYSOSTOMOU 1991), which date to the semi subterranean structures – this one having
pre-Dimini phase of the Late Neolithic (GALES / a radius of more than 12 m and a depth of more
DEMOULE 1988). However, the earliest examples than 7 m. To this large subterranean room be-
appear already in the Early Neolithic Period in longs the hearth from level 17, which was found
the Southern Greece (Nea Makri, Attiki) (PAN- near the eastern wall where it had fallen at an
TELIDOU/G OFA 1991) and Northern Greece too angle towards the centre of the room.
(Gianitsa B, Macedonia) (CHRYSOSTOMOU 1991) Excavation below the hearth floor revealed
Semi-subterranean structures are also known another lower floor level with pottery vessels
from other parts of Southeastern Europe (Ch. in situ and the remains of structures. Whitish
L AZAROVICI/C-M.M. L AZAROVICI 2003). traces on the floor probably came from a wood-
In the Bulgarian sector (sector Topolnica), en structure, while the large hole can be relat-
the semi-subterranean structures appear at ed to a wooden post that supported a wooden
different levels without any distinctive plan. floor platform or the roof of the subterranean
Nine closed complexes have been excavated. building (KOUKOULI-CHRYSSANTHAKI et al. 2001).
The floor level is found at a depth of between Further excavation showed that below the level
0,60–0,70 m. below the surface of the natural 23 floor there existed many earlier floor levels
subsoil (from which they were cut) and they do that are testimony to the continuous use of the
not measure more than 8–10 square meters in room. These floor levels and the deposits on
area. The finds demonstrate that semi-subter- them were covered by thin layers of a white ma-
ranean structures were living areas and in some terial with organic remains and thick layers of
cases specialized workshops. Excavation of the a fine sandy soil, which extends from the walls
floor areas revealed hearths and ovens, which of the pit and sloped downwards towards the
show traces of repeated renewal (Fig. 13). Evi- centre where they leveled out (KOUKOULI-CHRYS-
dence came to light on the eastern periphery of SANTHAKI et al. 2003).
the settlement located in Bulgarian territory that Below the floor levels with shallow deposits,
the settlement had been fortified with rows of which were not particularly rich in finds and
upright massive posts that had been interlaced. below a layer of fine sandy soil, there appeared
In the Greek sector (sector Promachon) four a rather thick deposit rich in finds. Among the
structures with semi-subterranean areas were many pebbles and stones were large number of
identified. The semi-subterranean structure nr. grinding stones that are scattered around and
1 seems to have continued into the next Trench a substantial number of intact and fragmented
A and beyond the limit of our excavation area. vessels, as well as fragments from clay structures,
Since it has not been completely excavated, its animal bones and horns (Fig. 12:1). Of special
plan is still uncertain. In the interior, a series interest was the presence of bulls’ skulls usually
of shallow pits of unequal depth in the natu- facing upwards (Fig. 12:2). The deposits were
ral subsoil were distinguished (Figs. 10–11). In located on floors plastered with yellowish clay
the semi-subterranean structure nr. 2 (Fig. 11) and contain a large number of small objects in-
there was a large central cutting in the subsoil cluding figurines, tools and jewelry (KOUKOULI-
with apsidal extensions almost symmetrically CHRYSNANTHAKI et al. 2003).

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 53

Fig. 9. Sector Topolnica, Phases II and III. Fig. 10. Sector Promachon, Phase I and II.

structure nr. 1

structure nr. 2

structure nr. 3

structure nr. 4

structure nr. 5

Fig. 11. Sector Promachon, Phases I, II and III.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


54 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

1 2

3 4

Fig. 12. Sector Promachon, Phase II: 1 – Detail of the destruction level nr. 28; 2 – Destruction level
nr. 31– bull’s skull „in situ“; 3 – Destruction level nr. 31; 4 – Destruction level nr. 36.

Fig. 33. Sector Promachon, Phases II and III. Subterranean structure nr. 4. Destruction layer nr. 28.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 55

1 2

Fig. 14. Sector Promachon, Phase II: 1 – Subterranean structure nr. 4 – View of the interior walls,
hearth belonging to level nr. 17 and Floor levels – platforms (?) sloping towards the center;
2 – Section of a floor level.

We also note a similar deposit with the same under a similar level of sandy soil indicates
type of vases and bull skulls that was excavated regular renewal. This could have resulted from
outside the subterranean room, this indicates a the successive destructions of the subterranean
coeval use of the space inside and outside the structure and regularly planned reconstruc-
pit. Below the level 28 destruction and after tions, or could represent erosion deposits cov-
a few levels without finds successive destruc- ering an original subterranean room without a
tion levels were noted. In an analogous con- roof.
text, a great quantity of burnt clay fragments, On the other hand, the existence of succes-
grinding stones, vases, figurines, tools, pieces sive construction phases in an original natural
of jewelry animal bones and many bull skulls pit cannot yet be excluded. The floor level of
were found (Figs. 12:1–3). Large pieces of clay this pit could have been steadily raised from
with molded surfaces are of particular interest. the debris of the earlier phases. As the exca-
These were excavated very carefully but have vations progressed, and after the removal of
not yet been conserved or studied. Some cer- the deepest archaeological layers, the internal
tainly, come from hearth floors. Others could walls of the subterranean room were very ob-
come from the wall decorations or benches, e.g., viously at floor level. The walls were plastered
a fragment of a bull’s head, which resembles a with layers of compacted clay reinforced with
similar find from a Phase II building at Dikili pebbles. In only two places in the SW and NW
Tash (TREUIL /DARCQUE 1998). However, the one corners of the excavated part of the subterrane-
from Promachon-Topolnica is sculptured in clay an room did we reach the earliest stages of the
rather than being a clay-covered bull’s skull. construction of the wall surfaces (Fig. 14:1) that
The numerous floor levels with similar phases rested on the natural subsoil. At the same time
(Fig. 12:4) show the successive use phases of the we discovered successive repairs on the interior
circular (?) subterranean structure. A hearth wall facings. The successive layers of clay that
sloping towards the centre in the uppermost covered the surface on the interior walls of the
level 17 in the interior of this – subterranean pit was indicative of a covered space.
room is noted (Fig. 14:1). Half of this hearth The regular slope of the floor levels towards
has been left unexcavated in the interior of the the centre and the disorderly mass of objects in
pit to better understand the slope of the levels the middle of the pit where the floors level out,
toward the centre of the subterranean room. demonstrate the collapse of successive wooden
The stratigraphy under the hearth corresponds floors towards the centre of this subterranean
completely to the stratigraphic picture of the room.
succession of levels indicated in the northern The existence of clay-covered wooden floors
and western profiles of our excavated trench. (Fig. 14:2) in the interior of the pit was also
The appearance of successive archaeological confirmed in the deeper levels, where because
levels with similar finds and the context of each of the great depth and the very damp condi-

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


56 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

1 2

Fig. 15. Sector Promachon, Phase II: 3 – Fragment of a basket; 4 – Detail of a wooden post.

tions, large timbers were preserved below the of the pit or from some other stone structure,
clay floor surfaces (Fig. 15:2). Among these was which had collapsed into the interior of the pit.
a complete, large branch (Fig. 15:2; See POPO- A stonewall in the interior of the structure could
VA 1992). The timbers were covered with mud have helped support the floor but stone walls
plaster and were often only recognizable from have not been noted up to date in the Neolithic
the red color of the floor and their arrange- architecture of Macedonia.
ment which, in places, seemed to demonstrate The great depth and the constant moisture
the existence of a wooden substructure below helped the preservation of objects made from
the clay covered floors. organic material: fragments of baskets, as well
The appearance of a layer of stones deep as a fragment from a wooden cist. Even more
in the SW part of the excavated semi-subter- remarkable is a thin sliver of bark with painted
ranean room at level 33 could indicate a second decoration (Figs. 16; 19).
building phase within it, which was preceded by A major challenge is to determine how the
a leveling fill of stones (Fig. 17). These heaped- roof of such a large room was supported. The
up stones could also come from the sidewalls upper excavated levels give some evidence

Fig. 16. Fragment of a piece of a bark with painted decoration. Sector Promachon, Phase II.
Photo – © I. Vajsov.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 57

Fig. 17. Sector Promachon, Fig. 18. A branch from level nr. 33.
Level nr. 33, Phase II. Sector Promachon, Phase II.
for the existence of timber posts, but since we
still have not reached the original floor of the
subterranean room, we are not able to under-
stand the architectural construction of this par-
ticular building.
The exceptionally difficult nature of this
excavation at the lowest archaeological levels
compelled us to confine our investigation to
partial testing of the levels in the semi-subter-
ranean structure without completely removing Fig. 19. Sector Promachon, Phase II. Reconstruction
the archaeological deposits, which continued of a decorated fragment from a piece of a bark with
painted decoration.
below the start of the plastered outer walls. We
think it likely that the remaining archaeological
deposits are relatively thin and possibly derive with incised decoration (Figs. 20; 72). The cen-
from the oldest platform within the semi-subter- tral representation of askoi and their zoomor-
ranean structure, which had been constructed phic forms are of special interest. The askos is
before the inner walls were built around the pit, frequently found next to a bull’s skull and is
or belong to an earlier habitation phase. accompanied by shallow bowls, and sometimes
In addition to the problems of the original by pedestal bowls (Fig. 12:2). The number of
form and the internal arrangement of the sub- miniature vases is also particularly well repre-
terranean structure, the principal focus of in- sented.
terest of this circular building remains the clear The high quality of the pottery and vessel
difference in size and depth between it and the decoration is particularly remarkable. There
other semi-subterranean structures found in are different kinds of incised, rippled or painted
both Promachon and Topolnica sectors, which decorations, which represent characteristic cate-
have been interpreted as dwelling places. gories of the decorated pottery from the early
As well as the size of the semi-subterrane- phase of Late Neolithic period in the northern
an structure, the great number of finds and Aegean area and especially in Eastern Macedo-
quantity of animals bones concentrated in nia at the prehistoric settlements of Akropota-
the successive layers of the deeper floor levels mos (MYLONAS /BAKALAKIS 1938; MYLONAS 1941),
should be emphasized (Fig. 20). A great quan- of Dikili Tash (Phase I) (SEFERIADES 1983, TSIRT-
tity of pottery vessels has also been noted. Stor- SONI 2000) and of Sitagroi (Phase II) (KEIGLEY
age vessels are present, but most of the vases are 1986), in Aegean Thrace and at the settlement
tableware of very fine quality. The predominant of Paradimi (Phases II–III) (BAKALAKIS /SAKEL-
shapes are askoi, amphorae, cups, pedestal or LARIOU 1981, 15–20, Beil. 4–9, 13II–14) as well
flat-based bowls, as well as the so-called lamps as in the Struma valley (PERNICEVA 1995) and in

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


58 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Askoi

Anthropo-zoomorphic
askoi

CERAMIC LAMP

ASKOI

Drum-shaped
stands

Anthropo-zoomorphic
askoi

Fig. 20. Sector Promachon, Phase II. Subterranean structure nr. 4 – Finds from
the successive layers. Destruction level nr. 28. Drawing – © I. Vajsov.

the interior of the Balkans (D. GARASANIN/M. sized female characteristics, which are essen-
GARASANIN 1979; GIMBUTAS 1976, 119–150). tially linked to the creation of new life and their
Among the painted vessels, those with bitu- maternal role (Fig. 61).
minous paint deserve special mention (GIOUNI The female form is usually represented with
et al. 1994) (Figs. 23–24, 37–38). bird-like face, which is probably related to a bird
Tools and jewelry were found scattered face goddess (GIMBUTAS 1986, 247–249 Figs. 9, 46,
throughout all three strata. These included flint 48). A child held by a kourotrophos female also has
axes and blades (Fig. 49), clay spindle whorls, a bird-like face (Figs. 56–57). The appearance of
clay loom weights, and bone points. There were a type of a figurine with two figures united into
also spondylus shell bracelets (Fig. 46) marble a single body is also of particular interest. This
beads (Figs. 53:3–5), and a small number of type is also known from Anatolia (Hacilar) and
malachite beads (Figs. 8:2–4). Schematic marble from the Vinča culture (VASIĆ 1936; KOROŠEC
figurines are also present, as well as miniature 1959; 1960; 1962). Other figurines from the low-
marble bowls with traces of red color (Fig. 54). er floor levels of the circular semi-subterranean
The number and variety of clay figurines structure resemble those from Vinča B2 (VASIĆ
whose size and shape varies is also significant 1936; SREJOVIĆ 1984) (Figs. 64; 66). Although fe-
(Figs. 56–68; 70). Very roughly fashioned figu- male types predominate, many male figurines
rines (Figs. 56–57), are often found in the deep- have also been found in the different levels of
er levels, while many figurines of high quality, the subterranean room (Figs. 61:1–2). The dis-
finishing and firing are also found. A number covery outside of the subterranean room of a
of different types of figurines can also be iden- stone phallo-morphic sculpture, of exceptional
tified. Women are represented with empha- scale for the period, shows the clear recognition

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 59

Fig. 21. Sector Promachon, level nr. 31. Fig. 22. Sector Promachon. Phase II.
Phase II. Bowl nr. A311 „in situ“. Bowl nr. A311 after restoration.

Fig. 23. Sherds with bituminous decoration Fig. 24. Sherds with bituminous decoration
Topolnica type. Phase II. (Scale 1:2). Topolnica type. Phase II. (Scale 2:3).

of the male and female reproductive forces. The leads into the interior of this model, which has
phallo-morphic sculpture was found outside the one rectangular and one apsidal room. The
pit in layers contemporary with the floor of this roof is pitched and the doors are arched. The
circular semi-subterranean structure. (KOUKOU- windows are round or elliptical. Relief bucrania
LI-CHRYSSANTAHKI et al. 1998) (Figs. 65; 67). decorate the facade and the interior wall and
A two-roomed house-model found in the the parapets of the verandah. Externally, the
lower floor levels of the circular semi-subter- walls are decorated with incised and painted
ranean structure is particularly remarkable. motifs. The motifs and styles of decoration are
It was restored from the many scattered frag- similar to those found on the pottery vessels2.
ments found in these floors. A small verandah A second model, from which only a portion

2
The dimensions of house-model nr. 1: Length 0,385 m., (without the base) 0,12 m. The conservation and the resto-
maximum width 0,38 m., minimum width 0,325 m., max- ration work have not been completed.
imum height (without the base) 0,15 m., minimum height

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


60 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

of the front part remains, is of the same type terial remains.


with a verandah and interior wall decorated Recent finds from the Near East thus pro-
with bucrania. This model was found outside vide evidence from the Preceramic phase of the
the circular semi-subterranean structure in a Neolithic period for the existence of „public“
level above the natural surface, which corre- buildings with a symbolic character. These in-
sponds to the lower floor level within the struc- clude the multifunctional buildings at Murrey-
ture (Figs. 25a–25b)3. bet and Jerf el Ahram and others with specific
After the discovery of these two clay house- functions such as the assembly rooms as Jerf el
models in the Promachon sector (Figs. 25a–25b; Ahram, the shrines at Gobekli Tepe (SCHMIDT
27), we can attempt the first representation of 2000) in upper Mesopotamia and at Nevali Cori
the houses themselves, which, based on the (HAUPTMANN 1999) in Turkey and the houses of
evidence from the excavation, probably had a the dead in the Neolithic settlement of Dja’de el
raised upper structure with pitched roof (Fig. Mughara. (COQUEUGNIOT 1998).
27). The fortification walls, tombs, public are-
Are we justified in comparing the appear- as, streets between houses and megalithic the
ance of the house-models with the large, semi- graves in Europe constitute clear evidence for
subterranean structure completing it as apsidal design collaboration in the construction of pub-
or elliptical in plan and adding in, or above this, lic works during the Neolithic period. Maybe the
an apsidal building with a pitched roof? Such large semi-subterranean structure of the Neo-
an interpretation cannot be excluded, nor can lithic settlement on the Greek-Bulgarian border
the possibility that the house-models represent can be defined as one such distinctive building,
the contemporary form of the typical houses in which was used by the community for activities
the settlement, which, of course, were very dif- of a symbolic nature?
ferent from the large semi-subterranean struc- Based on the stratigraphy and the finds, we
ture, possibly circular or elliptical in plan. can begin to approach these issues, albeit with
Already in the Preceramic phase of the Early considerable caution and frequent areas of un-
Neolithic period in the Near East at Jerf el Ah- certainty.
ram (STOREDEUR et al. 2000) and Murreybet The presence of a large number of luxury ves-
(AURENCHE 1980) in the upper Euphrates valley sels as well as tools, jewelry and figurines in as-
in Syria, simple houses in the settlements differ sociation with large numbers of grinding stones
from the so-called public buildings. The former and quantities of animal bones and horn cores
are built above-ground and rectangular or ap- presupposes the presence of a large number of
sidal in form, frequently with rounded corners. participants at the celebrations which took place
The latter are semi-subterranean, and very here. The evidence for this lies in the material
much larger. Public buildings in Anatolia, retain remains of the successive archaeological levels
the circular and semi-subterranean tradition that demonstrate the consumption, or offering,
while the typical house form changes (Fig. 29). of meat or other foods. The frequent presence
The presence in the Near East of buildings of bulls’ skulls (bucrania) in the successive floors
dedicated to public use in the Preceramic phase maybe constitutes a kind of symbolism, which is
of the Neolithic period, i.e. the 10th and 9th mil- not fully understood as yet. Do they form part
lennia BC, has demonstrated that, already from of the decoration of the building or part of the
their first beginnings, Neolithic settlements offerings, together with the skulls of smaller
were not simply undifferentiated collections of horned animals which were found in the same
individual dwellings but rather a single complex levels?
of buildings which reflected the social organi- The bull is a particularly powerful symbol
zation of the community. The intangible nature in the Near East and is found in the public
of this social organization can, of course, only buildings at Jerf el Ahram, and at Murreybet
be approached with difficultly through the ma- and in the house shrines at Çatal Hüyük (MEL-

3
The Dimensions of the house-model nr. 2: Preserved height (without the base) 0,16 m, minimum height 0,08
Length 0,080 m, maximum width 0,23 m, maximum m., height of the base 0,043 m.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 61

Fig. 25 a. Sector Promachon, Phase II.


Clay house-model Fasade (nr. 2).

Fig. 25 b. Sector Promachon, Phase II.


Clay house-model (nr. 2). (Scale 1:4).
Drawing – © I. Vajsov.

Fig. 26. Sector Promachon, Level 33, Phase


II. Clay house-model (nr. 1) (Scale 1:4).

LAART 1967) and Hacilar (MELLAART 1970) and in Macedonia. However, the symbolism in the
of course it is also present in Europe. Bucrania buildings where they are found is not clear and
whether natural or covered in clay, in relief or archaeologists hold conflicting opinions. In the
sculpted in the round, frequently appear in building in Phase I at Dikili Tash, which was
the settlements of the Tisza and Vinča cultures decorated with bucrania plastered with clay,
(VASIć 1936; CHAPMAN 1981) and are also found the excavators (DARCQUE /TREUIL 1997; TREUIL /

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


62 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Fig. 27. Sector Topolnica. New proposal for the


reconstruction of house nr. 2. (Reconstruction by Ch.
Koukouli-Chrisantaki). This reconstruction supports
the idea that the structure had a pitched roof similar
to the ones on the discovered house-models (Figures
25 and 26).

Fig. 28. Sector Topolnica, Phase II. Reconstruction


of house nr. 2 (Reconstruction I. Vajsov in Todo-
rova/Vajsov 1993, 160, Fig. 131). Drawing – © I.
Vajsov.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 63

DARCQUE 2000) did not offer any particular


interpretation. The building at Parţa in Rou-
mania, (L AZAROVICI 1989; Ch. L AZAROVICI at al.
1994, 2001; Ch. L AZAROVICI/C-M.M. L AZAROVICI
2003; C-M.M. L AZAROVICI 2004) however, which
dates to the end of the Late Neolithic period,
was identified by the excavator as a shrine.
However, in the case of the semi-subter-
ranean structure in the Promachon-Topolnica
settlement, the frequent and repeated presence
of bucrania in a specific location in successive
layers of unusual character can, in our view, be
seen as a principal characteristic, which differ-
entiates the semi-subterranean structure from
the other houses of the settlement.
On the other hand, the collaborative ac-
tivity in a large subterranean structure is not
unique: At the Neolithic settlement of Makriya-
los. a large pit has been excavated with large
quantities of animal bones and pottery sherds.
It is dated to the earliest settlement phase and
the palaeological and taphonomic study of the
finds detected clear evidence for communal ac-
tivity (PAPPA et al. 2003). Fig. 29. Tell Jerf el Ahmar. Houses around the
The significance of the results from a detailed subterranean circular „community“ building
(according to STOREDEUR et al. 2000).
study of the palaeozoological material from the
Promachon-Topolnica subterranean room and cur naturally.
their potential to surprise is indicated by the rec- The study of the micromorphology is ex-
ognition of a fragment of human skull among pected to provide specific answers to questions
the bones (Figs. 30–31). It is the second fragment about the composition and nature of the depos-
of human bone: the first was a piece from a jaw- its within the semi-subterranean structure.
bone from the earlier excavations. Carbon 14 datings, which are in progress
New information is also expected from in the Archaeometry laboratory at Democritos,
the palaeogeomorphology study of the region will date the succession of the strata with great-
which may perhaps show whether such pits oc- er precision.

Fig. 30. Fragment of a human „ramus mandibulae“. Fig. 31. Fragment of human skull.
Sector Promachon, Phase II. Sector Promachon, Phase II.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


64 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

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ски окръг. – АОР през 1984 XXX Национална
конференция по археология, 1985, 18–19.

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68 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

1 2
3

1
2

4
3
6

5
7 8

Fig. 32. Sherds with incised decoration. Fig. 33. Graphite-painted ware,
Phase IV (Scale 1:2). Phase IV (Scale 1:2).

2 3

Fig. 34. Sherds of a painted vase of Fig. 35. Bichrome painted pottery Dimitra types.
Strumsko types. Phase IIIA. Phase III (various scales).

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Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 69

1
2 3

8 9 10

Fig. 36. Painted sherds Akropotamos type (Brown-on-Orange/Red),


Phase III (Scale 1:2).

Fig. 37. Sherds with bituminous decoration Fig. 38. Sherds with bituminous decoration
Topolnica type. Phase II. Topolnica type. Phase II.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


70 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Phase IIIB

Phase IIIA

Phase II

Fig. 39. Sector Promachon, West Profile Square Fig. 40. Sector Promachon. 1– sherd decorated with
IET (Phases II, III, and IV, cultural vertical bitumen Phase I; 2 – clay lamp and bucranium in
accumulation 8,35 m. situ Phase II.

Fig. 41. Painted decoration. Sector Promachon, Fig. 42. Askoi. Square IET Level 28
square I, level 6, phase III. Sector Promachon, Phase II.

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Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 71

1 2 3 4 5

Fig. 43. Miniature clay bowls – toy. Sector Promachon, Phase III.

1 2 1 2

Fig. 44. Small bowls. Fig. 45. Clay bowls.


Sector Promachon, Phase II. Sector Promachon, Phase II.

1 2

Fig. 46. Spondylus bracelet. Fig. 47. Flint artifacts. Rock crystal.
Sector Promachon, Phase III. Sector Promachon. Phase III.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


72 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

2 3

1
2

4 5

6 7 8 3

Fig. 48. Flint artifacts in prehistoric Fig. 49. Stone tools from Phase II and III
assemblages from Phases I, II and III Promachon-Topolnica: 1 – small hammer,
Promachon-Topolnica. (Scale 1:1) 2 – saw, 3 – fishnet weight (Scale 1:2).

1 a

2 b

Fig. 50. Clay spindle whorls. Sector Pronahon: Fig. 51. Clay bowl. Sector Topolnica,
1 – Phase II, 2 – Phase IV. House nr. 2, Phase II. Photo – © K. Georgiev.

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Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 73

1
2
3 4 5

2 3

6a 6b 7 4 5

Fig. 52. Bone tools from Phases II and III. Fig. 53. Marble artifacts, Phases II and III.
3 – fragment of a bone needle; 2, 4 – awl; 5 1 – ladle; 3–5 – bracelet fragments;
– spoon; 6–7 – chisel (Scale: 1, 3–71:2; 2 1:1). 2 – amulet. (Scale: 1:2).

Fig. 54. Anthropomorphic marble figurine. Sector Fig. 55. Marble head from an anthropomorphic
Promachon, Phase II (Scale 1:1). figurine. Level 10, Phase III (Scale 1:1).

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


74 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

Fig. 56. Seated female figurine holding a small Fig. 57. Standing anthropomorphic twin-headed
child. Sector Promachon, Level 31, Phase II. figurine. Sector Promachon, Level 31, Phase II.

Fig. 58. Female figurine with child. Sector Topolnica Fig. 59. Hollow anthropomorphic seated figurine.
(Scale 1:2). Photo – © K. Georgiev. Sector Promachon, Level 10, Phase III.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 75

Fig. 60. Massive male figurine. Sector Promachon, Fig. 61. Standing female figurine.
Level 10, Phase III (Scale 1:2). Sector Promachon, Phase III (Scale 2:3).

Fig. 62. Head of a male (?) figurine. Sector Fig. 63. Anthropomorphic vessel appliqué.
Promachon, Level 4, Phase III (Scale 1:2). Sector Promachon, Phase III (Scale 1:2).

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


76 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

1 2

Fig. 64. Sector Promahom, Level 37 b, Phase I. „in Fig. 65. 1–2 – Fragments of male clay figurines,
situ” clay anthropomorphic bust Phase III; 3–4 – figurine-busts, Phase II.
Vinča B2 type. Sector Promachon (Scale 1:2).

Fig. 66. Clay anthropomorphic plastic Fig. 67. Sector Promachon, Level 31, Phase II.
Vinča B2 type. Level 37 b, Phase I. (Scale 2:3). Anthropomorphic head. (Scale 1:2).

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2


Promachon-Topolnica. A Greek-Bulgarian Archaeological Project 77

Fig. 68. Sector Promachon, Phase II. Fig. 69. 1–2 – in situ phallomorphic sculpture
Standing female figurine. found near hearth. Sector Promachon,
Level 8, Phase II.

Fig. 70. Sector Promachon, Level 32, Phase II. Fig. 71. Sector Promachon, Level 8, Phase II.
Massive head of a male (?) figurine (Scale 2:3). Phallomorphic sculpture found near hearth.

The Struma/Strymon River Valley in Prehistory


78 Chaido Koukouli-Chryssanthaki, Henrieta Todorova, Ioanis Aslanis, Ivan Vajsov, Magdalene Valla

a b c d

Fig. 72. Sector Topolnica, Phase II. Miniature clay lamp (Scale 1:1). Photos – © K. Georgiev.

Fig. 73. Sector Topolnica, Phase II. Fig. 74. Sector Topolnica, Phase II.
Deep three-legged clay bowl. House nr. 2. Clay bowl with a hollow foot from. House nr. 2.
Photo – © K. Georgiev. Photo – © K. Georgiev.

a b

0 5 cm

Fig. 75. Fragment of vases with red colar decoration, Ptomachon Type. Sector Topolnica, Phase III.
Photo – © K. Georgiev.

In the Steps of James Harvey Gaul, volume 2

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