SYMMETRY OF FORM AND WEIGHT: STANDARDIZATION OF GOLD AND MINERAL ARTIFACTS FROM THE VARNA CHALCOLITHIC NECROPOLIS (5th MILLENNIUM BC)
Ruslan I. Kostov
Mineralogist, gemmologist, geoarchaeologist (b. Sofia, Bulgaria, 1956)
Address: Department of Mineralogy and Petrography, University of Mining and Geology “St. Ivan Rilski”, “Prof. Boyan Kamenov” Street, Sofia, 1700, Bulgaria
Abstract: The Varna Chalcolithic necropolis (middle of the 5th millennium BC) has become synonymous with gold, and the amount of gold finds is regarded as the “oldest gold of mankind”. The finds in the necropolis demonstrate clearly that standardized forms of different gold implements and mineral artifacts were used in prehistoric times. A Chalcolithic weight unit, called van (~0.4 g = 2 carats), is introduced and a possible prehistoric weight unit system is discussed, based also on Fibonacci sequence numbers/or common multiples. Other metrological studies include a possible length unit, called vul (~0.7 cm). Measurements of angles and proportions can also be considered. Attention is paid to the so-called “anthropomorphic” gold ring-shaped artifacts. The Balkans in prehistoric times are declared as a cradle of gemstone, gemmological, goldsmith and metalwork activities, all corresponding to the forgotten knowledge of a protourban civilization. The standardization and miniaturization of gold and other mineral artifacts underlines the application of an early metrological system.
Keywords: standardization, gold, mineral beads, Chalcolithic, weight unit, Varna.