Chert raw materials and artefacts from NE Bulgaria: A combined petrographic and LA-ICP-MS study

  • Polina Andreeva Geological Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Elitsa Stefanova Geological Institute, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • Maria Gurova National Institute of Archaeology and Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
Keywords: Chalcolithic, northeastern Bulgaria, Ludogorie, Ravno, Kriva Reka, petrogpahy, LA-ICP-MS, super-blades, workshops


In the present study two analytical methods are applied to characterize chert artefacts and raw materials from northeastern Bulgaria (Ludogorie region): petrographic observation and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry). Archaeological samples from 12 Chalcolithic sites from Bulgaria are analyzed as well as raw material from 6 outcrops in northeastern Bulgaria are identified and documented during a survey in 2012 when many raw material samples were collected. The chert raw material mostly occurs in various Quaternary secondary deposits, originating from destruction and disintegration of the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian) limestones in the area. The paper is aimed at tracing the provenance of the artefacts based on their petrographic characteristics and geochemical composition. The archaeological evidence shows a wide distribution of the Ludogorie chert throughout the country.

On the basis of micropetrographic observations, Gurova and Nachev (2008) described two main chert types (Ravno and Kriva Reka). Our petrographic study confirmed the previous results and an additional chert type was distinguished, originating from primary and secondary deposits (quarries in Koprivetz and Krasen villages) and is represented by silicified limestones (bioclastic-peloidal packstones or grainstones). It is noteworthy that the first two types of chert were largely used for prehistoric artefact manufacturing while the last one is not attested among studied assemblages at all.


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How to Cite
Andreeva, P., Stefanova, E., & Gurova, M. (2014). Chert raw materials and artefacts from NE Bulgaria: A combined petrographic and LA-ICP-MS study. Journal of Lithic Studies, 1(2), 25-45.
Research Articles