We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. You can change your cookie settings at any time. Otherwise, we'll assume you're OK to continue.

Durham University

Research & business

View Research Directory

Varna Eneolithic cemetery

A research project of the Department of Archaeology.


The Varna Eneolithic Cemetery (henceforth ‘VEN’) is one of the most significant prehistoric sites in the world, with the first comprehensive assemblage of goldwork produced globally. The preliminary dating of 14 graves has been published as: Higham, T., Chapman, J., Slavchev, V., Gaydarska, B., Honch, N., Yordanov, Y. & Dimitrova, B. 2007. New perspectives on the Varna cemetery (Bulgaria) – AMS dates and social implications. Antiquity 81: 640 – 654. ; Chapman, J., Higham, T., Slavchev, V., Gaydarska, B. & Honch, N. 2006. The social context of the emergence, development and abandonment of the Varna cemetery, Bulgaria. European Journal of Archaeology 9/2 – 3: 159 – 183; and Higham, T., Chapman, J., Gaydarska, B. & Slavchev, V. 2008. The first AMS dates for the Varna cemetery. In Slavchev, V. (ed.) The Varna Eneolithic necropolis and problems of prehistory in Southeast Europe. Acta Musei Varnaensis VI: 95 – 114). ORAU has now dated a further 50 samples, falling within a broadly similar timespan of 4650 – 4450 BC.
At the request of the Varna prehistorian, Dr. Vladimir Slavchev, the Durham team has written two chapters for the final report of VEN (in press, DAI and Varna) – on the AMS dates with Professor Tom Higham, and on the shell ornaments.

Varna cemetery – goldwork, grave 43


From other departments

Related links