Category Archives: BULGARIA

Bulgarians find oldest European town, a salt production center

Bulgarians find oldest European town, a salt production center

Archaeologists in eastern Bulgaria say they have unearthed the oldest prehistoric town ever found in Europe, along with an ancient salt production site that gives a strong clue about why massive riches were discovered in the region.

Excavations at the site near the modern-day town of Provadia have so far uncovered the remains of a settlement of two-storey houses, a series of pits used for rituals as well as parts of a gate, bastion structures, and three later fortification walls — all carbon dated between the middle and late Chalcolithic age from 4,700 to 4,200 BC.

“We are not talking about a town like the Greek city-states, ancient Rome or medieval settlements, but about what archaeologists agree constituted a town in the fifth millennium BC,” said Vasil Nikolov, a researcher with Bulgaria’s National Institute of Archeology, after announcing the findings earlier this month.

Fortified walls at Solnitsata, believed to be the earliest town in Europe.

Nikolov and his team have worked since 2005 to excavate the Provadia-Solnitsata settlement, located near the Black Sea resort of Varna. A small necropolis, or burial ground, was also found, but has yet to be studied more extensively and could keep archaeologists busy for generations.

Archeologist Krum Bachvarov from the National Institute of Archeology qualified this latest find as “extremely interesting” due to the peculiar burial positions and objects found in the graves, which differed from other neolithic graves found in Bulgaria.

“The huge walls around the settlement, which were built very tall and with stone blocks … are also something unseen in excavations of prehistoric sites in southeast Europe so far,” Bachvarov added.

Well fortified, a religious center and most importantly, a major production center for a specialized commodity that was traded far and wide, the settlement of about 350 people met all the conditions to be considered the oldest known “prehistoric town” in Europe, the team says.

“At a time when people did not know the wheel and cart, these people hauled huge rocks and built massive walls. Why? What did they hide behind them?” Nikolov asked.

The answer: “Salt.”

As precious as gold

The area is home to huge rock-salt deposits, some of the largest in southeast Europe and the only ones to be exploited as early as the sixth millennium BC, Nikolov said.

This is what made Provadia-Solnitsata what it was.

Nowadays, salt is still mined there but 7,500 years ago it had a completely different significance.

“Salt was an extremely valued commodity in ancient times, as it was both necessary for people’s lives and was used as a method of trade and currency starting from the sixth millennium BC up to 600 BC,” the researcher explained.

Salt extraction at the site first began in about 5,500 BC when people started boiling brine from the nearby salty springs in dome kilns found inside the settlement, Nikolov said, citing carbon dating results from a British laboratory in Glasgow.

“This is the first time in southeast Europe and western Anatolia that archeologists have come upon traces of salt production at such an early age, the end of the sixth millennium BC, and managed to prove it with both archeologic and scientific data,” Bachvarov confirmed.

Salt production was moved outside the settlement towards the end of the sixth millennium and productivity gradually increased. After being boiled, the salt was baked to make small bricks. Nikolov said production increased steadily from 5,500 BC when one load from the kilns in Provadia-Solnitsata yielded about 25 kilograms (55 pounds) of dry salt. By 4,700-4,500 BC, that amount had increased to 4,000 to 5,000 kilos of salt.

“At a time when salt was as precious as gold you can imagine what this meant,” he said.

The salt trade gave the local population huge economic power, which could explain the gold riches found in graves at the Varna Necropolis and dating back to around 4,300 BC, Nikolov suggested.

The 3,000 jewelry pieces and ritual objects have been internationally recognized as the oldest gold treasure in the world, raising questions as to how a culture of farmers and stock-breeders from a region otherwise poor in natural resources could acquire such wealth. The excavations have however suffered from a chronic lack of state funding, which Nikolov replaced with private donations.

A British anthropologist, a Japanese ceramics expert, and a team of radiocarbon specialists from Germany have worked on the site for free this season.

8,000-Year-Old Human Skeletons Found In Neolithic Village Of Slatina, Bulgaria

8,000-Year-Old Human Skeletons Found In Neolithic Village Of Slatina, Bulgaria

Four Early Neolithic tombs, believed to date back 8000 years, were discovered by a Bulgarian archeologist team at the Slatina site in the capital Sofia, the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences said on July 28.

There are skeletons of three adults and one child.

Together with two graves discovered at the Slatina site in 2019, these are the earliest in the territory of Sofia.

Team leader Vassil Nikolov said that it was the first time in the ritual complex that such extremely rare finds had been made.

Excavations in the area have been going on for more than 30 years and the objects found so far show that the village was inhabited by farmers and pastoralists.

The settlement itself existed for about 500 years, from the end of the seventh to the middle of the sixth millennium BCE.

It is assumed that the civilization of Europe started from the Neolithic settlement in Slatina, Nikolov said.

The graves discovered date from the beginning of the sixth millennium and very little is known about the rituals of this period. Probably there were houses, which unfortunately were destroyed, archaeologists believe.

During the excavations, archaeologists from the National Archaeological Institute of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences came across a double grave – most likely a man with a child.

The other remains are of a woman lying on her stomach and of a man who was laid out in a very special way – one of his hands remained under the skeleton.

Anthropologists from the Institute of Experimental Morphology, Pathology, and Anthropology of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences are to continue their research in laboratory conditions.

DNA analysis may show if there was a relationship.

The work in Slatina is part of rescue archeological excavations due to new housing construction. Among the new finds are objects such as ceramic vessels, weights for a loom, a furnace plug shaped like a human image, and part of a spindle.

Roman-Era Coins Unearthed at Spa Complex in Bulgaria

Roman-Era Coins Unearthed at Spa Complex in Bulgaria

More than 40 ancient coins, most of which from the 4th century CE, have been discovered since the excavations were started in the summer of 2020 on the site Aquae Calidae near Bourgas on the southern Bulgarian Black Sea coast.

This was announced by the head of the archaeological dig, Associate Professor Dimcho Momchilov. During the current archaeological season, excavations are being carried out in the north-eastern sector of the complex.

“The idea is, if possible, to complete the northeastern apoditerium (vestibule) of the ancient, early Byzantine and medieval bath this year,” Momchilov said.

This will be followed by partial conservation and restoration. Among the interesting new finds from the current archaeological season is a monumental step that bore a roof structure.

Momchilov said that remnants of construction from the Roman period, and the Roman period, had been found. Apart from the coins, other items from the fourth century CE had been found.

“Our desire is to explore the shaft we found east of the building. It is from an early period and is very interesting. There are partially preserved water pipes and we will try to open it this year.

It had a variety of materials, but only after when I open it, I can say how long it has been for sure. In any case, for me, this shaft is connected with the early Roman bath, and the construction of the whole early Byzantine bath was in accordance with this shaft,” he said.

Excavations at the Aquae Calidae archeological complex are scheduled to continue until the end of July. Aquae Calidae Thermopolis originated around the warm Bourgas mineral springs in Thracian times, in the first millennium BCE.

The Thracians turned the hot spring into a revered sanctuary of the Three Nymphs. The spa complex has an area of ​​six acres. In the north-south direction, its length is 86 meters.

In the late Middle Ages, Aquae Calidae became known as Therma or Thermopolis. By the sixth century, the settlement already had expanded baths and fortress walls.

In the 16th century, Ottoman ruler Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent built a contemporary Turkish bath at the site.

Ancient Bones Found in Bulgarian Cave Are Oldest Evidence of Modern Humans in Europe

Ancient Bones Found in Bulgarian Cave Are Oldest Evidence of Modern Humans in Europe

According to new research, modern humans have overlapped with Neanderthals in Europe longer than previously thought. Remains of Homo sapiens found in a Bulgarian cave are roughly 44,000 to 46,000 years old, making them the oldest directly dated remains of modern humans in Europe, reports Bruce Bower for Science News.

Nicola Davis for the Guardian reports that Neanderthals had been stumpy, cold-adapted hominins living across Europe and as far east as Siberia until about 40 000 years ago.

Neanderthal remains to live on in modern human DNA, indicating that our species and theirs met and interbred, but how long the two groups overlapped is unclear.

Excavations at the Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria uncovered ancient human bones along with stone tools, animal bones, bone tools, and pendants.

Other human remains previously discovered in the United Kingdom and Italy have been dated to between 41,000 and 45,000 years ago, but their ages were measured indirectly, relying on the fossils’ archaeological and geological surroundings rather than the specimens themselves, reported Jonathon Amos for BBC News in 2011.

The direct dating of these newly unearthed remains from the Bacho Kiro Cave in northern Bulgaria comes from two sources: radiocarbon dating and DNA extracted from a tooth and six shards of bone identified as belonging to H. sapiens.

Both methods dated the remains to around 44,000 to 46,000 years ago, the researchers report in two papers published in the journals Nature Ecology & Evolution and Nature.

“Our work in Bacho Kiro shows there is a time overlap of maybe 8,000 years between the arrival of the first wave of modern humans in eastern Europe and the final extinction of Neanderthals in the far west of Europe,” Jean-Jacques Hublin, a paleoanthropologist at the Max Planck Institute and co-author of the research, tells the Guardian.

The new estimate adds as much as 5,000 years of biological, cultural, and behavioral interaction between the species compared to the chronology suggested by other researchers, he tells the Guardian.

Hublin and his colleagues began their new excavation at the Bacho Kiro Cave in 2015. The site was first excavated by archaeologists in 1938 and then again in the 1970s.  The new dig turned up animal bones, tools made of stone and bone, beads and pendants, and, of course, a handful of ancient human remains.

The team had some 1,200 fragments of bones and teeth, but only a single molar could be visually identified as having come from a modern human. To figure out which species all the other fragments belonged to, the researchers extracted proteins from each specimen.

The protein’s structure can be used to tell species apart. This massive screening process yielded six additional chunks of human remains. Genetic evidence also corroborated the identities of six out of the seven fossils.

“In my view, this is the oldest and strongest published evidence for a very early upper paleolithic presence of Homo sapiens in Europe, several millennia before the Neanderthals disappeared,” Chris Stringer, an expert in human origins from London’s Natural History Museum, tells the Guardian.

In 2019, Stringer was part of a team that reported an incomplete skull found in Greece may have belonged to a modern human that lived some 210,000 years ago. However, both the age and species assigned to the skull have been disputed.

Initial Upper Paleolithic artifacts, including blades and a sandstone bead, from the Bacho Kiro Cave in Bulgaria.

The tools and ornaments found alongside modern humans remain at Bacho Kiro, such as pendants made of cave bear teeth, closely resemble artifacts from Neanderthal sites in western Europe dated several thousand years later, Hublin tells Science News.

The similarities provide “evidence that pioneer groups of Homo sapiens brought new behaviors into Europe and interacted with local Neandertals,” Hublin adds.

Stringer tells the Guardian that he has doubts about whether subsequent Neanderthal jewelry and tools were influenced as a result of interactions with early modern humans. In an interview with Science News, Stringer cites Neanderthal jewelry made out of eagle talons from roughly 130,000 years ago.

The new findings highlight the mystery of why Neanderthals disappeared when they did, if, as these new findings suggest, they coexisted with modern humans for millennia. If they were able to persist side by side for so long, what finally drove Neanderthals to extinction?

According to Richard Klein, a paleoanthropologist at Stanford University who was not involved in the research, who spoke with Tom Metcalfe of NBC News, “that’s the ultimate question.”

Stringer tells the Guardian that there simply may not have been enough of these early modern human pioneers in Europe to establish and sustain a significant presence, adding that an unstable climate could have also kept them at bay.

Over 40 Ancient Ships Discovered on the Bottom of the Black Sea

Over 40 Ancient Ships Discovered on the Bottom of the Black Sea

A group of maritime archeologists studying sea levels in the Black Sea have uncovered over 40 shipwrecks as a “complete bonus.”

The shipwrecks provide new data on the maritime interconnectivity of the Black Sea.

Scientists have discovered a rare collection of over 40 shipwrecks in the Black Sea, including those from the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, which provide insight into the ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory.

Researchers from the University of Southampton in the UK were surveying the Bulgarian waters of the Black Sea, where areas of land were inundated as the water level rose following the last Ice Age.

Members of the expedition mapping submerged ancient landscapes, the first of its kind in the Black Sea, discovered and inspected the shipwrecks, many of which provide the first views of ship types known from historical sources, but never seen before.

The wrecks, which include those from the Ottoman and Byzantine Empires, provide new data on the maritime interconnectivity of the Black Sea coastal communities and manifest ways of life and seafaring that stretch back into prehistory.

“We’re endeavoring to answer some hotly-debated questions about when the water level rose, how rapidly it did so and what effects it had on human populations living along this stretch of the Bulgarian coast of the Black Sea,” said Jon Adams, Principle Investigator on the Black Sea Maritime Archaeology Project (Black Sea MAP).

“As such, the primary focus of this project is to carry out geophysical surveys to detect former land surfaces buried below the current sea bed, take core samples and characterize and date them, and create a palaeoenvironmental reconstruction of Black Sea prehistory,” said Adams, Founding Director of the University of Southampton’s Centre for Maritime Archaeology.

Based on board the Stril Explorer, an off-shore vessel equipped with some of the most advanced underwater survey systems in the world, researchers are surveying the sea bed using two Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs).

“The wrecks are a complete bonus, but a fascinating discovery, found during the course of our extensive geophysical surveys,” said Adams.

“They are astonishingly preserved due to the anoxic conditions (absence of oxygen) of the Black Sea below 150 meters,” he said.

Photogrammetric model of a Byzantine period wreck.

“Using the latest 3D recording technique for underwater structures, we’ve been able to capture some astonishing images without disturbing the sea bed,” Adams said.

Medieval Church Discovered in Bulgaria

14th Century Murals With ‘Warrior Saints’ Found In Church Of Ancient City Cherven In Bulgaria

RUSE, BULGARIA—Archaeologist reports that a fourteenth-century Christian church decorated with murals has been discovered in northeastern Bulgaria’s medieval city of Cherven.

The church is the sixteenth to be uncovered in the Cherven Archaeological Preserve. Fragments of the frescoes include images of painted drapery and a scene depicting “warrior saints.”

Some of the murals have been transferred to a conservation laboratory, where they will be restored and placed on a reinforced surface for display at the Ruse Regional Museum of History. 

The surviving newly found murals in the Cherven Archaeological Preserve include a partially preerved scene with “warrior saints.”

The glorious medieval city of Cherven, in today’s Ruse District in Northeast Bulgaria, was one of the major urban, religious, and economic centers of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396/1422 AD). While Cherven was one of the largest urban centers in the Second Bulgarian Tsardom (Empire), it has a much longer history, as its area also features remains from an Ancient Thracian settlement, an early Byzantine fortress, as well as several settlements from the time of the First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD).

During the period of the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD), and especially in the 14th century, Cherven became one of Bulgaria’s most important cities. It has been excavated since 1910, with early 20th century excavations being led by Vasil Zlatarski, one of the most renowned Bulgarian historians and archaeologists from the early years of the Third Bulgarian Tsardom formed after Bulgaria’s Liberation from the Ottoman Turkish Empire in 1878.

An image reconstructing the cityscape of medieval Cherven. 

Up until recently, Cherven was known to have had a total of 15 churches, until the 16th one was exposed recently in the western part of the medieval city, the Regional Museum of History in the Danube city of Ruse has revealed. The Ruse Museum has announced that it has drafted a project for seeking funding from the Bulgarian Ministry of Culture for the conservation and restoration of the 14th-century murals.

“The full-fledged exposure of the church building led to the discovery of a preserved layer of murals on the temple’s walls,” the Museum says.

The most valuable of the surviving frescoes have been extracted for restoration and display
An aerial photo of the newly discovered Church No. 16 in Cherven.

“The preserved fresco fragments are parts of a painted drapery as well as a partly preserved scene with figures of warrior saints,” it adds. The archaeologists and restorers have already put in place a cover over the surviving frescoes in the newly discovered Church No. 16 in Cherven, a major economic and spiritual center in the late Second Bulgarian Empire. The area of the surviving murals is about 12 square meters on the ruins of the walls of the church, which is dated, more specifically, to the first decades of the 14th century.

The late medieval church is described as one of the temples that are representative of the life of the medieval fortress of Cherven. The church has one apse pointed to the east, and is 13 meters long and 7 meters wide. Part of the discovered frescoes have been transferred to a restoration atelier, and the conservation and restoration project developed by archaeologist Svetlana Velikova is supposed to guarantee the reinforcing and restoring of the murals on a new surface.

The restoration work is being carried out by Assoc. Prof. Miglena Prashkova from Veliko Tarnovo University “St. Cyril and St. Methodius”.

“The successful realization of the project would lead to including the picturesque decorations from the newly found church [in Cherven] in the permanent exhibition of the Museum,” the Ruse Museum of History says. Parallel to the excavations of the church, the Ruse archaeologists have also been exposing a nearby necropolis as well as parts of a medieval street and adjacent buildings.

“Future research in this area would help clarify important questions about the urban planning [of the city of Cherven], and about the events around the conquest of the fortress [by the Ottoman Turks] and the ensuing Early Ottoman period,” the Ruse Museum states.

The surviving and partly restored fortress in the medieval city of Cherven in Northeast Bulgaria. 
A visual reconstruction of the castle of the Cherven fortress
A visual reconstruction of the castle of the Cherven fortress.
A visual reconstruction of Church No. 2 of in the city of Cherven

An interesting fact about Cherven is that so far the archaeologists have found a total of 80 medieval inscriptions about church donors there, more than in the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo, where a total of 60 such inscriptions have been found. This is seen as a testimony to Cherven’s importance during the Middle Ages.

The Cherven Archaeological Preserve is located within the Rusenski Lom Natural Park, along the canyon of the Cherni Lom River, in a truly magical and picturesque landscape. The ruins of the medieval Bulgarian city of Cherven are found on a high rock while today’s town of Cherven, which was set up by survivors after the Ottoman conquest, is located down in the river gorge.

The medieval Bulgarian city of Cherven was one of the most important urban centers in the Second Bulgarian Empire (1185-1396 AD). It is located in today’s Ivanovo Municipality, 35 km south of the Danube city of Ruse, on a rock overlooking the picturesque canyon of the Cherni Lom River, within the Rusenski Lom Natural Park. It experienced dynamic urban growth after Bulgaria’s liberation from the Byzantine Empire in 1185 AD, and rose to great importance during the 14th century.

A total of 80 medieval inscriptions about church donors have been there, more than in the capital of the Second Bulgarian Empire, Veliko Tarnovo, where a total of 60 such inscriptions have been found, a testimony to Cherven’s importance during the Middle Ages. It was a center of Christianity as the seat of the Cherven Metropolitan and a center of craftsmanship. Cherven was conquered and ransacked by the Ottoman Turks in 1388 AD.

After the Ottoman Turkish conquest, it briefly preserved some administrative functions but waned and essentially disappeared as an urban center. Some of its survivors settled nearby into the newly founded village of Cherven. Cherven was first excavated in 1910 by renowned Bulgarian historian and archaeologist Vasil Zlatarski. It has been regularly excavated since 1961. In the recent decades, it has been excavated by Stoyan Yordanov from the Ruse Regional Museum of History.

Archaeologists have discovered there a large feudal palace, fortified walls reaching up to 3 m in width, two well-preserved underground water supply passages, a total of 13 churches, administrative and residential buildings, workshops and streets.

A famous 12 m-high three-storey tower, known as the Cherven Tower, from the 14th century has also been fully preserved and was even used as a model for the reconstruction of Baldwin’s Tower in the Tsarevets Hill in Veliko Tarnovo in 1930.

Cherven’s site also features remains from an Ancient Thracian settlement, a 6th century early Byzantine fortress, and several settlements from the period of the First Bulgarian Empire (680-1018 AD).

Skeleton of Ancient Sports Fan Found Buried with Head-Shaped Jar

Skeleton of Ancient Sports Fan Found Buried with Head-Shaped Jar

A 3rd-century A.D. man’s grave in Bulgaria contained a strigil and curiously crafted balsamarium- a vessel from skin- cleansing oils- in the shape of a man’s head fitted with a feline-skin cap, which may be a reference to the Nemean lion slain by Hercules.

In a Roman-era grave in Bulgaria, a unique brass vessel in the form of a man’s head was discovered. The tomb was found in the Kral Mezar tumulus in southeastern Bulgaria, near the village of Boyanovo.

Over the centuries the tumulus had been repeatedly plundered and agricultural activities changed their shape and size,  so a salvage archaeology mission was undertaken in 2015 to excavate it thoroughly.

Inside the tumulus, archaeologists discovered three burials — a sarcophagus, a brick grave, and a tomb. The limestone sarcophagus with a pitched roof lid (found broken on the side) dates to around 150-200 A.D. Sarcophagi are rare finds in Roman Thrace and are believed to have contained the remains of non-Thracians.

The tomb was built of stone and brick with plastered and painted interior walls. It was heavily looted, but the extant funerary goods include bone spindles, needles, glass beads, glass, and ceramic fragments and clay lamp fragments.

A silver denarius from the reign of Caracalla minted in 202 A.D. was found on the tomb floor. Because of the textile-making grave goods, archaeologists believe this was a woman’s tomb.

But it was the third burial, the brick grave, that contained a truly striking artifact. The rectangular pit was lined with bricks coated with a thick layer of white plaster.

Marks on top of the brick walls indicate there had once been wooden beams across the top forming a flat roof. This type of grave was popular in Roman Thrace, particularly in the 2nd and 3rd centuries.

The body had been placed in a wooden coffin of which only a few iron nails survive. The skeletal remains are still articulated and just shy of six feet long (1.82 meters). The osteological analysis found the deceased was an adult male about 35-40 years old at the time of death.

Inside the grave was a bronze coin of Caracalla minted in Hadrianopolis 198-217 A.D., fragments from a glass flask, the remains of two pairs of hobnailed shoes, a balsamarium, and a strigil.

“In our opinion, the grave belongs to a Thracian aristocrat, who has practiced sport in his everyday life, rather than to a professional athlete,” Daniela Agre, an archaeologist at the National Archaeological Institute with Museum at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, who led archaeological work at the site, told Live Science. 

“We think that the tumulus was used as a family necropolis and the deceased was a part of this family,” Agre said.

The strigil is brass, of a type found in other Bulgarian graves from the 2nd and 3rd centuries. The balsamarium is also brass, but it is far from a type seen in other Bulgarian graves of the period. In fact, it is unique in the archaeological record of Roman Thrace.

This type of container is believed to have been used to hold scented oils or perfumes for use in the baths, which is why they’re often found coupled with strigils that would have scraped the oil off the skin to clean and exfoliate.

It is 4.7 inches high, 4.2 inches wide and is shaped like the head of a man wearing an animal-skin skullcap. The visible features of the animal’s head — nostrils, eyes, canine teeth in the lower jaw — suggest it was a feline.

A neck draped with robes forms the foot of the vessel with a flat bottom made from a single metal sheet. There’s a hole in the top of the head for a hinged lid that is now lost. On either side of the opening are loops where a swing handle was attached. There’s still a handle attached through one of the loops; the other side of the handle is broken.

The man’s face is broad with shaved cheeks and a neatly shaped goatee. His nose viewed from profile has a proud aquiline bump. Seen from the front, it is bent to the left and widened at the base, suggesting that it has seen the business end of more than a few clenched fists. Five vessels with comparable features are found in museums in Los Angeles, France, and Germany.

Scholars believe these features — the bent aquiline nose, the goatee, the skullcaps, the lock of hair on the back of the head — represent the heads of boxers or wrestlers.

The Boyanovo piece is distinct from these comparables because it does not have the lock of hair and because of its feline skin cap. The former is likely necessitated by the latter; the sculptor couldn’t include both the lock of hair and the incredibly detailed feline skin covering the back of the hair.

Medieval Christian Artifacts Unearthed in Bulgaria

10th Century with Jesus Christ image, peacock ring seal found in Tudia fortress in Bulgaria’s sliven

Archaeological excavations of the Late Roman, Early Byzantine and medieval Bulgarian fortress of Tuida in the city of Sliven. Found one of the most notable objects found during 2019 is the cross with an Image of Jesus Christ of the tenth century, during Bulgaria’s First Empire (632/680 – 1018), and a medieval ring seal with a peacock image.

This 10th century bronze cross depicting Jesus Christ has been discovered in the latest digs in the Tuida Fortress in Bulgaria’s Sliven

Tuida, now increasingly gaining popularity as a cultural tourism venue, was originally an Ancient Thracian settlement that grew into a Late Roman, Early Byzantine, and medieval Bulgarian fortress.

The Roman fortress itself was built after the capital of the Roman Empire was moved from Rome to Constantinople in 325 AD.

Among other things, the Tuida Fortress in the city of Sliven in Southeast Bulgaria is remarkable for having a well-preserved secret passage leading outside the stronghold to a nearby river, which was erected in the 6th century AD.

The 2019 archaeological excavations of the Tuida Fortress were conducted for a period of 20 days in the middle of the fall, and led to the discovery of a total of 103 archaeological artifacts, Nikolay Sirakov, Director of the Dr. Simeon Tabakov Regional Museum of History in Sliven has announced at a news conference.

A total of 103 archaeological artifacts have been found in the 2019 excavations in Tuida in Bulgaria’s Sliven.

The archaeological team of the Sliven Regional Museum of History has excavated a spot in the northern part of the Tuida Fortress, unearthing and researching part of a well-preserved home from the 9th – 10th century, a medieval water pipeline, and a total of nine medieval pits, which were part of the said home, Sirakov reveals, as cited by BTA.

The small 10th century cross with a depiction of Jesus Christ discovered in the latest digs in the Tuida Fortress in Sliven is made of bronze.

The partly restored ruins of the Tuida Fortress overlooking the city of Sliven in Southeast Bulgaria
The 10th-century bronze cross is one of the most intriguing archaeological artifacts found in relatively small-scale digs inside the Tuida Fortress in fall 2019.

In addition to the Christian artifacts, the Bulgarian archaeologists have also found a large number of medieval coins and bone artifacts in the latest digs in the Tuida Fortress in Sliven.

The latter finds are seen as a demonstration that bone processing and crafting were among the medieval crafts that were well-developed in the Tuida Fortress.

In addition to the excavations in Tuida, whose partly restored ruins overlook the modern-day city of Sliven, in 2019, the archaeologists from the city’s Regional Museum of History participated in two other exploration projects.

One has been performing rescue archaeological excavations in the town of Zornitsa, Haskovo District, along the route of the natural gas pipeline connecting Bulgaria and Greece (the “Stara Zagora – Komotini” natural gas pipeline, also known as Interconnector Bulgaria – Greece (IBG).

There the archaeologists found a number of artifacts from various time periods dating back as early as the prehistory, including loom weights, fishing tackles, a mold for ceramic lamps, iron arrow tips, and various types of bronze and silver coins.

The most notable artifact found in the digs near Zornitsa led by archaeologist Veselin Ignatov, however, is said to be the bronze umbo (shield boss) of a parade shield.