Archaeologists discovered more than 1,500 unique items during a dig along the route of a new section of Struma motorway. The archaeologists from the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences should complete their job by July so construction of the motorway section from Blagoevgrad to Krupnik can begin. A large settlement has been unearthed there dating back to the time of the Roman Empire – 12 big buildings from the 3rd to the 6th century AD. The most valuable finds include 1,000 coins – bronze, silver and one gold-plated coin. A 1,700 year-old tomb has been discovered, which is completely intact. The valuable items found inside include a glass goblet and bottle with ornaments, a piece of fabric used to cover the body laid there. Archaeologists say they may have found the remains of the settlement Skaptopara, predecessor of the latter-day town of Blagoevgrad. What is known about Skaptopara is that it was a Thracian town built next to the thermal springs along the Struma River. To be sure experts will have to find inscriptions on stone used to mark the city limits in that period. Remains of ancient towns, jewellery made of bronze and precious metals, pottery and objects connected with the army were discovered during a dig at another location along the planned route of the motorway. Between the villages of Dren and Delyan, the archaeologists unearthed remains dating back to the early Iron age (9th-13th century BC) – almost 100 graves, in which they found jewellery, spears, knives, harness fittings etc. In the Doupnitsa-Blagoevgrad section they discovered remains of an early Neolithic settlement, unique to Europe, dated to the 8th millennium BC. At a depth of 3 meters they found the oldest mother-of-pearl button and needle, tools, a loom-weight and other items.