Papers of BAS. Humanities and Social Sciences

Vol. 6, 2019, No. 1

Methodological issues in the exploration

of prehistoric settlement sites and houses

Vassil Nikolov

Abstract. The reconstruction of the prehistoric past requires methodologically correct field research that provides opportunities for systemic interpretations. Three methodological issues are raised here. The first one addresses the ‘building horizon’ - as it is labelled in the specialized literature - as a stratigraphic unit. This is the concept of the simultaneous creation, destruction, and reconstruction at the same place of each settlement in the late prehistory. A new model is proposed, according to which the ‘regeneration’ of the settlement occurred gradually and continuously, and not in discontinuous stages. The second issue is related to the character and provability of archaeological field observations done during the excavation of a prehistoric house that allow the excavator to define it as a two-storey structure. The third issue concerns a paradigm change in the archaeological concepts of the way in which the life of a Neolithic house came to an end. I propose a model of deliberate ‘cremation’ of the house and the ‘burial’ of its remains in a ritual pit.

Keywords: prehistory, ‘building horizon’, two-storey houses, domithanasia