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A cross made of iron, coins, bronze bracelets – and a container dating from the 12th to 13th century on which is inscribed, “Lord, help Veronica”. All of these and more are among finds made by archaeologists during the summer 2014 dig at Bulgaria’s ancient sacred site of Perperikon.

Professor Nikolai Ovcharov, who has been overseeing archaeological work since 2000 at Perperikon – a site where human habitation dates back to about 5000 BCE, on a rocky hill 15km from the town of Kurdjali in southern Bulgaria – unveiled the finds at a news conference on September 28 2014.

He showed a coin from the reign of Tsar Ivan Alexander of 1343, which he said indicates that at the time there was a Bulgarian military campaign in the Eastern Rhodopes, aimed at taking back lost lands. Read more.

An archaeological expedition uncovered a church treasure of more than 1200 early Byzantine coins near the Dobrich village of Debrene, said the director of the Dobirch history museum Kostadin Kostadinov.

According to the head of the expedition Boyan Totev, this is the first such discovery in Bulgaria. He said the small amphora full of bronze Byzantine coins from the VI c. A.D. was most likely church mite, buried in the ground during an invasion of Slavs or Avars.

The discovery was made on the territory of a small fortress, most likely built in late antiquity around a basilica to protect it. The church itself was built during the late Roman empire and existed till the end of VI c. A.D. (source)

Archaeologists have found valuable artifacts and an episcopal basilica during excavations of the ancient fortress Zaldapa near the village of Abrit, northeastern Bulgaria.

Zaldapa was the largest Roman city located in the Dobruja region often called “the Bulgarian Pompeii”. It spreads on an area of over 230 decares. From the end of the 4th to 7th century AD the city was densely populated, had streets, residential areas and at least three basilicas. Archaeologists have discovered the largest one during excavations. They have also found a red marble column which suggests an imperial presence in the basilica, Nova news informs. Read more.

An ancient coin believed to be the oldest one found so far in Bulgaria has been discovered in the Black Sea just off the town of Sozopol.

According to Vladimir Penchev, numismatist at the National History Museum (NHM) in Sofia, the coin made of electrum (a gold/silver alloy) can be dated back to the second half of the 7th century BC as originating from the kingdom of Lydia which means it is at least 2,650 years old.

Lydia is an ancient land of western Anatolia, extending east from the Aegean Sea and occupying the valleys of the Hermus and Cayster rivers. Read more.

Archaeologists working at the site of Pliska, once the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom, have uncovered a luxurious royal baths that they believe date back to the ninth century CE.

The baths are probably the oldest medieval baths found in the country, reports on September 8 said.

The design of the baths was heavily influence by Mediterranean culture. The bathroom was an architectural jewel of stone over an area of 80 square metres.

Under a large dome-covered stone building, there were three separate but luxurious rooms. Read more.

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Archaeologists uncovered a Christian necropolis with 80 graves during a dig in downtown Plovdiv, reports Vesti.bg.

One of the skeletons had a brick in its jaws and a roof tile on its head. “This is a typical European practice between XV – XVII c. and was done to prevent the dead from turning into a vampire,” the leader of the archaeological team Elena Bozhinova said.

All graves in the necropolis were dated in the same period. In many of them the experts found coins, jewels, buttons and other belongings of the deceased.

“In one of the graves we found a purse with 30 silver coins”, Bozhinova said. (source)

Valuable buckles with the images of imperial symbols have been found by archaeologists working at the site of medieval Pliska in north-eastern Bulgaria.

Pliska, which boasts a large archaeological reserve and is the subject of ongoing digs, is best known as having been the capital of the First Bulgarian Kingdom from 681 to 893CE.

According to a report on August 22, 2014 by public broadcaster Bulgarian National Television, the finds date back about 1100 years.

They were found in part of the palace complex of the first Bulgarian capital.

The find of the buckles with the imperial symbols is extremely rare for Pliska in spite of the former capital’s lively contacts with the Byzantine empire. Read more.

The story of the rich archaeological heritage of Bulgaria is not only one of what has been found but also of what has been lost.

A case in point is the area around central Sofia’s Largo and Serdica underground railway station area, recently in the headlines after an urgent appeal by Sofia mayor Yordanka Fandukova to the national Culture Ministry to take action to preserve Roman-era archaeological finds left exposed to the elements.

Across Bulgaria, the dangers to the country’s archaeological legacy – Thracian, Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman – have proved to range from outright theft by treasure-hunters to construction projects that have reduced finds to rubble. Read more.