The inundated settlements currently known date predominantly to the Eneolithic Period (5th millennium BC) and the Early Bronze age (mid-4th to 3rd millennium BC). There are 15 sites currently known along the Northern Bulgarian Black Sea Coast and 4 along the Southern. There are 2 more inundated sites dating to the Late Bronze Age and Early Iron Age (second half of 2nd millennium – early 1st millennium BC). The sites along the Northern Black Sea littoral have been discovered at Shabla and in the lakes of Varna and Beloslav. Settlements along the Southern Black Sea Coast are located near the Atia peninsula, in the harbour of Sozopol, at the mouth of the Ropotamo river and near Cape Urdoviza.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN LAKE VARNA
Underwater archaeological investigations on the inundated prehistoric settlements in the sites of Arsenala and Lake Varna were undertaken in the 1980s and the beginning of 1990s under the direction of Ivan Ivanov. The sites were dated to the Late Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN SOZOPOL
Underwater archaeological investigations on the inundated prehistoric settlements were undertaken in the 1980s and in the beginning of 1990s in the port of Sozopol directed by Velizar Velkov and Ventsislav Popov; and later by Hristina Angelova, Veselin Draganov and Kalin Dimitrov. Besides the settlements from the Late Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age, remains from an inundated site from the Early Iron Age were recorded.
ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS OF THE SITE AT CAPE URDOVIZA
Underwater archaeological excavations were conducted in the southern bay of Kiten in the 1980s and the beginning of 1990s directed by prof. Mihail Lazarov, prof. Kalin Porozhanov, Ventsislav Popov; later by Hristina Angelova, Veselin Draganov and Kalin Dimitrov. The excavated site dates from the Еarly Bronze Age. The excavations revealed rich information about coastal life in the Bronze Age. Various finds were discovered including ceramics and objects from everyday life, stone molds for the casting of bronze axes, cult objects like human figurines depicted on bone, and bull horns like the ones known from Neolithic and Eneolithic sanctuaries in other areas of Southeastern Europe and Asia Minor. Twenty complete and over 20 fragmented skulls of horses stand out among the archaeozoological finds as a testimony of Bronze Age mobility in Southeastern Europe.
An important aspect of the underwater excavations in Kiten and Sozopol is represented by the thorough study of timber posts from the inundated settlements, executed under the leadership of Peter Kuniholm (Cornell University). As a result, the longest and most precise dendrochronological table for the Balkans and the Aegean region in the Bronze Age was established.
The results of the multiple interdisciplinary investigations of the inundated settlements along the Bulgarian Coast contributed to a fundamental change in our understanding of the societies that inhabited the Western Black Sea littoral during the Eneolithic Period and the Early Bronze Age. They shed new light on lifestyle and culture, connectivity over land and sea in the periods in question and set the fundament for further research to be conducted in the future.