Ai Bunar

"AI BUNAR" (RU: Айбунар, Ай-Бунар) is the polymetallic mineAi Bunar of the Copper Age, the largest of the now known mines of this era in Europe, Asia and Africa.

It is located in the Southern Bulgaria, 8 kilometres from the Stara Zagora city. The ores are complex ones, the main component is copper, there are present also zinc, lead, arsenic, antimony, bismuth, silver. The oxidized ore minerals appear on the surface for the distance of about 1.5 miles. In the 5th and early 4th millenniums BC, here were laid the 11 mines of the open slit-shaped pits type, the length of which is from the few metres up to 110 metres (the total length of the pits is up to 500 metres); the width is from 0.5 to 10.8 metres, the depth is 20-30 metres.

The development of the mine workings in the limestones and marls was performed by the horny picks, copper axes. The dry benefication of the ores was performed with the help of the massive stone hammers. The volume of the rock mass during the development amounted to 20-30 thousand tonnes, the extraction of the ore to at least 2-3 thousand tonnes, the presumed smelting of the copper to 500-1000 tonnes. After the ending of the works, apparently due to the ritualistic reasons, the heaps of the waste rock (18-27 thousand tonnes) have been again moved to the worked out open pits. "Ai Bunar" and smaller mines of this region served in the 5th-4th millenniums BC as one of the major sources of copper for the population of the Southern and Eastern Bulgaria, as well as the territory of the Southern-Eastern Romania, Moldova and Western Ukraine. "Ai Bunar" has been discovered and researched by the soviet-bulgarian archaeological expedition in 1971-74.