Bulgaria is one of the countries with biggest archaeological inheritance in Europe. This summer scientists will search for the truth on our lands’ past with numerous excavations across the state. By the way, a part of the surveys take place no matter the season – the rescuing excavations, related to the construction of roads, railways, gas pipelines and others.
“Usually those take place across the entire year, despite our will, since investors don’t care too much that it is difficult to do archaeology in the winter,” Associate Prof. Boni Petrunova, deputy chair of the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences told a Radio Bulgaria reporter. “However, we must respond to their needs and basically we try to do the preliminary research in an adequate manner. The so-called planned excavations are another major group of surveys, related to different scientific tasks and sites from pre-history to late medieval ages. Of course, many of those are well-known.”
The ancient salt evaporation ponds at the town of Provadia, surveyed for years by Prof. Vassil Nikolov are among the planned ones. Last year he discovered there a 6,500-year-old settlement, considered the oldest town in Europe. Salt used to be the gold of ancient people back then. The team of Prof. Nikolov has recently come upon a large cult settlement near the town of Svilengrad, where the Maritza highway project is being implemented. Many ceremonial facilities have been discovered there. Rituals were performed at the spot in the period 6th millennium BC - the Medieval Ages. The sacred rock town of Perperikon in the East Rhodope has millennia of history too, as of the Stone Age. Excavations continue there over that season too:
“Our job is not only science, it is directly linked to the possibility for enlivening of certain areas, such as the region of Kardjali,” Boni Petrunova says. “My colleague Prof. Ovcharov has been working on Perperikon for years and made it so famous that even National Geographic showed the place. Now it is a well-known tourist destination, visited by tourists from this country and abroad. This is not only archaeology, but also marketing, improvements and socialization of the site. This should be our policy for all archaeological monuments in this country.”
“We do our best not to interrupt the excavations in the old Bulgarian capitals of Pliska, Preslav and Veliko Tarnovo,” Associate Prof. Petrunova says. The surveys of the Roman towns here will continue over this season too. Last year Bulgaria was the venue of the 22nd World Limes Congress /the Danube River used to be limes /a border/ of the Roman Empire for centuries/.
This season Boni Petrunova will resume her excavations at the picturesque Black Sea cape Kaliakra. There was a Thracian town there and in the 14th century it became the capital of the Dobrudja Principality. The Mother Mary Church was studied and a rich necropolis was discovered with over 30 objects, made of gold. “Obviously that was the place where the aristocracy was buried,” the scientist explains.
“We plan to continue our surveys around the church and another temple this year,” Boni Petrunova goes on to say. “We came upon a very interesting building there, where perhaps Tatars used to live for a while. What’s so interesting? Few people know about the serious hatred that emerged between despot Dobrotitsa, who named Dobrudja and his son Ivanko, who had the courage to stand up against his father – one of the most interesting medieval rulers. His small state was an opponent or an ally of some of the most distinguished powers at that time. That was possible due to the support of the Golden Horde only. As I said, few people know this fact.”
A total of 350 sites were excavated last year in Bulgaria. The results from this year’s work will be resumed in the beginning of 2014.