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Geography of Journal Authors

Stratum Plus. 2000. № 5

G. Atanasov (Silistra, Bulgaria)

Treasures of Agricultural Tools from Early Medieval Fortresses of Southern Dobrudja (X – early XI cc.)




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Pages: 183-208


The article is a publication of 7 collective finds from early medieval Bulgarian fortresses placed south of Dorostol-Silistra (see fig. 1). Each treasure contains few items: Sredishte I (6 items), Sredishte II (18 items), Okorsh III (11 items), Tsar Asen (3 items), Rujno V (7 items), Rujno VI (29 items), Poprusanovo VII (16 items). Or, the seven collective finds comprise all in all 87 iron wares, basically agricultural tools, but also instruments, weapons and household utensils. Among these there are ploughshares, coulters, pickaxes, iron ends for shovels, sickles, grape cutters, scythes, drills, pincers, axes, spear ends, guards of sabre handles, etc. The fortresses, where the finds were discovered, evolved in the late IX – early X century and were apparently abandoned and destroyed in 1036. The sites (except Poprusanovo) have no cultural horizons and finds earlier than IX century and older than 1036. Therefore, all the finds should be attributed to the early Middle Ages. Apparently, collections of few items (Sredishte-1, Tsar Asen) used to be property of separate families, while richer treasures used to belong to several families, maybe to a whole kin. To my mind, all of them were hidden during a devastating invasion of the Petchenegers into the region in 1036. A study of the tools suggests conclusion about a highly developed agriculture in the region. Attention is to be specially focused on complexes comprising asymmetric welded ploughshares and coulters. They witness transition from ard to plough in Dobrudja and Bulgaria in X century. It was a big contribution to a sharp increase in the level of agricultural production and provided food to relatively numerous population of Dobrudja in X c., who inhabited over 350 settlements and about 40 fortresses.



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