Sites & cities that bear the name of Gluhite Kamani

Gluhite Kamani

Today in : Bulgaria
First trace of activity : ca. 10th century B.C.E
Last trace of activity : ca. 13th century C.E
Recorded names : The Deaf Stones, Malko Gradishte

Description : The site of Gluhite Kamani is located in the most northeastern part of the Rhodope Mountains in southeastern Bulgaria. It is situated on a mountain ridge,to the east and below the peak of Sveta Marina (708.6 m), one of the most prominent peaks of the Gorata ridge in the Eastern Rhodopes. A medieval fortress and a church are located on the peak, along with traces of habitation from the first millennium BC. The area is rich in archaeological sites. Further east on the same ridge are several other sites with similar characteristics: the Mezek fortresses and Kurt Kale (on Sheynovets peak); nearby are two Thracian tombs. Also to the east, in the region of the village of Valche Pole and around the rocks of KushKaya there is a large Late Bronze Age - Early Iron Age and Roman site, partially excavated. Further to the east lies the Kovan Kaya cliff with many niches carved on it; this is the easternmost site of this group. A number of archaeological sites have also been registered to the north, west and southwest. The highest concentration of sites is in the vicinity of the town of Madzharovo. Gluhite Kamani (meaning “Deaf Stones”) probably owes its name to the fact that there is practically no echo in the area. Its fame is due to the prominent rock formation on the top of the ridge. In geological terms these are Paleogenetuffs and rhyolites, dispersed in several groups from northwest to southeast. The site has long been known, though until recently it has never been investigated archaeologically. Its main point of interest lies in the numerous niches carved on the vertical parts of the ca. 20 m high cliffs. Most impressive are the carvings at the westernmost rock formation which dominates the area. The top of this formation has been flattened to accommodate several architectural features: a large rectangular cistern for water collection and a two-flight stair case leading to up to the cistern. The southern rock face, to the left of the steps, is vertically dressed (Fig. 7/a). There, a cave-like room was cut out, almost quadrangular in plan and with a dome-shaped ceiling. Perhaps because of this, the cave-like room became known as a “rock-cut tomb.” Immediately below, on the ground, southwards from these cuttings the remains of a medieval church were found. As previous field work at the site had demonstrated, the chronology of the complex could only be specified by further archaeological investigation. The results from the 2008-2011 excavation seasons were very promising. Already in 2008, a total of nine trial trenches were laid at different parts of the complex. The main purpose was to clarify the spatial organization and the chronology of the site. The archaeological observations and the analysis of the finds allowed for some preliminary conclusions about the functioning and the intensity of habitation of the site during different periods. The latest traces of occupation date to the medieval period, mainly to the 11th-13th centuries AD.The relatively small amount of pottery fragments from the early Byzantine period (4th-6th centuries AD) and LIA (5th-1st centuries BC) reveal a short-lived human presence there. The isolated Roman materials found are probably to be associated with incidental visiting of the site. The most intense period of use of the complex falls within the EIA (10th-6th centuries BC), which is attested bythick stratigraphic layers from this period.

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