The continuative inhabitance of the same suitable places during these millennia led to the formation of a settlement phenomenon, characteristic of the Near Eastern and Balkan prehistory – the multilayered tell-sites.
Tell Yunatsite is located near the modern village of Yunatsite in Southern Bulgaria. It is among the biggest tells in Europe with a diameter of approximately 110 m/360 ft and height of 12 m/39 ft above the modern surface. Tell Yunatsite was first excavated in 1939 by the Bulgarian archaeologist Vasil Mikov. In 1976, regular excavations were restarted and have continued on an annual basis. Subsequently, research at Tell Yunatsite has grown into an important research program under the National Institute of Archaeology with Museum, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. At times, Soviet and Greek archaeologists joined the research at the site and today this is an international research effort directed by Bulgarian scholars.
To date, approximately one third of the tell has been excavated. This work yielded rich collections of archaeological materials, and the sterile soil has not yet been reached. There is a medieval cemetery at the top of the tell, followed by a Roman period level, two Iron Age levels, a thick layer dated to the Early Bronze Age, and finally a Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic layer. It is unknown if the cultural history of the tell begins in the Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic period or whether older Neolithic occupation layers exist.
Recent excavations indicate that the Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic period settlement covered an area far larger than the tell itself and consisted of uptown (acropolis?) and a downtown district. The uptown section was surrounded by a five-meter-wide clay wall and a broad and deep ditch. Buildings in this part were placed closed to each other, creating an almost unbroken urban fabric. The Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic settlement experienced a violent event at ca. 4,200-4,100 BCE. Evidence suggests deliberate destruction by outsiders. Many skeletons of children, elderly men, and women were found scattered on floors, suggesting a massive massacre. Those who survived, returned and resettled at the Tell, but soon even they left. At that point, Tell Yunatsite and the area around it were abandoned for more than 1,000 years. During this time, a sterile layer accumulated over the last Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic layer.
Excavations in recent years shed new light on the stratigraphy and development of the Chalcolithic/Final Neolithic, and brought new interesting discoveries. Among them are a golden bead and a golden amulet, which are among the earliest golden artifacts in the world.