Oldest Town of the Old World Found in Bulgaria
Bulgarian archaeologists have found what they believe to be the oldest town in Europe, a salt production center called Solnitsata near the modern-day city of Provadia. Although the 6-millenium-old town held only 350 people or so, it was apparently very wealthy because it supplied salt to much of what is now the Balkans. The town was functional more than 1,000 years before the beginning of Greek civilization.
Remains of Solnitsata have been carbon-dated to 4,700 to 4,200 B.C., but salt production at the site began as early as 5400 B.C., according to archaeologist Vasil Nikolov of Bulgaria’s National Institute of Archaeology. The site has springs containing high levels of salt, about 160 to 190 grams of salt per liter. The residents used roughly smoothed ceramic bowls about 16-18 inches in diameter to boil the salt water in special facilities, evaporating the water and leaving behind a block of salt ready for trade for food and other goods.