An early bronze age pile-dwelling settlement of discovered in alepu lagoon (Municipality of sozopol, department of Burgas), Bulgaria

Clément Flaux, Pauline Rouchet, Tzvetana Popova, Myriam Sternberg, Frédéric Guibal, Brigitte Talon, Alexandre Baralis, Krastina Panayotova, Christophe Morhange, Atila Vassiliev Riapov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


A new pile-dwelling settlement has been discovered during coring investigations on the shores of the Alepu lagoon (municipality of Sozopol, department of Burgas), on the western Black Sea coast, in Bulgaria. A multi-disciplinary methodology was applied to analyze the archaeological dataset, composed of wood piles, abundant charcoals and wood fragments, seeds, ish and shell remains, a few small bone fragments, some lithic fragments and potsherds. The piles were trimmed from oak trees and sunk into lagoonal muds, and currently lie 5.8 to 6.8 m below mean sea level. It highlights a wooden building at the edge of Alepu palaeo-lagoon. Charcoal remains conirm the use of oak tree as a dominant timber resource, consistent with pollen data for this period. Palaeo-botanic remains highlight gathering activities and the consumption of wild grapes, raspberries and igs. The herbaceous assemblage evokes deforestation activities. Exploitation of coastal resources is well attested by the great density of ish remains, dominated by anchovy (61%), highlighting possible preservation of ish products. Five radiocarbon dates constrain the age of the site to between 3350 and 3000 cal. BC. The Alepu piles-dwelling settlement sheds new light on the very beginning of the Early Bronze Age in coastal Bulgaria. Adding fresh information to the local archaeological record, it completes the welldiscussed issue of the protohistoric submerged settlements, revealing in turn the economic strategies of the societies at the end of the transitional period. Considerations about geomorphological settings of these sites underline the evolution of the regional settlement patterns, as well as the importance of lagoonal locations. Lagoon contexts not only offer abundant ish resources, as attested by our data from Alepu, but also good conditions for anchorage. These sites were later drowned, preserved and buried following the relative rise of the Black Sea level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-70
Number of pages14
Issue number126
StatePublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2016 Presses Universitaires de Provence. All rights reserved.


  • Anthracology
  • Black sea
  • Carpology
  • Dendrology
  • Geoarchaeology
  • Geomorphology
  • Ichtyology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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