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„Kozarnika“ Cave , Stara PlaninaCod 2645

„Kozarnika“ is the name of a cave in Stara Planina, Municipality of Belogradchik, Bulgaria. It is located between the town of Belogradchik and Oreşeţ, Haskovo. Its total length is of 210m. Since 1996 in the cave have been conducted excavations organized by the Institute of Archaeology of the Academy of Sciences in Sofia, Bulgaria and Prehistory and Quaternary Geology Institute of Bordeaux led by Nikolay Sirakov and Jean-Luc Guadelli. They reveal the kasnopaleolitna culture of millenniums 37-34 BC. It is significantly different from modern discoveries from the dark hole and Bacho Kiro, which show similarities with the important cultures from Western Europe, several millenniums later.
The cave was inhabited during the Middle Paleolithic, but the most important are its lowest layers. They are dated to the age of 1.4 million years ago. Here was found a tooth representative for the genus Homo, possibly Homo erectus. If the dating is correct, it would be the oldest record of human presence in Europe.
A strong dispute caused another breakthrough in the rannopaleolitnite layers of the Kozarnika cave. These are some bones dating 1.2-1.4 million years ago, which caused a number of questions. According to archaeologists which conducted the excavations, they were deliberately left and are not the random result of animal meat processing. This hypothesis is controversial because according to the prevailing opinion, the ability to think symbolically appears only on Homo sapiens 50,000 years ago.
The late Pleistocene deposits from 80000 to 19000 prof. Paleoornitologa Zlatozar Boev found remains of bones from 43 species of birds, one of which is- prayarebitsata (Perdix paleoperdix) is fossil and four others disappeared from the bird fauna of the modern country – cock Heath (Tetrao tetrix), snow grouse (lagopus lagopus), snowy owl (Bubo scandiacus) and Cory crow (Pyrrhocorax Pyrrhocorax). The prehistoric birds from the cave can provide excellent examples for “mixed fauna”, which today contains species that can be found anywhere in Europe and the world, and do not live together, for example the snow owls, rock partridge, snow grouse, cory rooster, rebel crows, rock cock and others. This composition demonstrates the existence of open and green spaces combined with evergreen and deciduous forests with steppe.

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