Bulgaria Archaeology

Bulgaria Archaeology

In the last ten years, archaeological research has brought new data to the historical knowledge of ancient Bulgaria, in some cases bringing to light finds of considerable artistic value, subject to a vast resonance. Above all, however, the scholars’ activity has turned to the collection and processing of the results of previous researches, carried out very actively during the 1970s, with the aim of providing adequate schemes for the chronological and cultural arrangement of archaeological data. The greatest efforts of the researchers have been directed, in the field of prehistory and protohistory, to shed light on some crucial and up to now little known moments, such as the passage between the Stone Age and the Bronze Age, within the context of the problem still alive today. and debated by ethnogenesis of the Thracian populations (a significant re-edition, in 1980, of the now classic work by W. Tomaschek, which initiated research in this field); as regards the historical age, the investigation of the dense Roman emergencies increased above all, witnessing the delicate and decisive role of the provinces of Moesia and Thrace during the imperial age.

According to topschoolsintheusa, the most ancient testimonies currently date back to the end of the lower Paleolithic; among the recently studied sites, the cave of Samuilica II with finds from the Mousterian to the initial Epipaleolithic. New Neolithic sites have also been unearthed (e.g. Čavdar, in the Sofia region, with the remains of housing structures; the valley of the Struma River has recently been greatly investigated) and, from the study of painted pottery from the early Neolithic, four facies cultural synchronous: Karanovo I, Kremnikovci, Kremenik-Anzabegovo, Gradešnica-Cîrcea. The cultural structure of Bulgaria in the Neolithic age was better defined on the basis of the updates made to the complex stratigraphy of the Karanovo site: placed in connection with it, the data of the excavation of the burial site of Kazanlăk made it possible to recognize an important center of cultural irradiation during the Middle Neolithic in the basins of the Tundža and Maritsa rivers, in the central Bulgaria (among the most significant finds a large number of deer antler sickles testify to the intensity of the ” neolithization ” process). For the recent Neolithic, the proposal to define a ” Western Bulgarian culture with painted ceramics ” has recently been advanced.

Recent studies have contributed to the classification of the types of pre- and protohistoric settlements (tell, fortified settlements, market and pastoral structures, urban sites), identifying in some cases continuity of life between the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. The settlement of Hlebozadov near Stara Zagora, related to the Karanovo IV facies, dates back to the last phases of the Neolithic. Remarkable, for the Eeneolithic age, are the testimonies of the copper mines in the region of Stara Zagora, among the largest and oldest in Europe, exploited since the 4th millennium. Among the most notable sites of the Eneolithic and the beginning of the Bronze Age are the lake-dwelling villages and the tell, such as Ovčarovo and Ezerovo (the findings of the excavation near Galatin, Čukata region are relevant to the transition phase between the Eneolithic and the Ancient Bronze Age). In addition, research continues in the Aeneolithic necropolis of Varna, in which about 280 burials have been excavated to date, which have allowed the start of studies on the structure of the local society of that time: the data of this very rich site were used in the attempt to clarify the cultural traits that characterize the long and articulated phase of transition between the Eneolithic and the Early Bronze Age, a phase in which today we tend to recognize a new ethnic contribution responsible for the beginning of the ethnogenesis process of the Thracian populations. From the Bronze Age, whose beginning is now traced by some to a date prior to 3200.

The recent acquisitions on the Iron Age are considerable: for the first phase (11th-6th century) mounds, dolmens, stone circles, ritual and sacrificial rocks with complex cultural arrangements discovered in the mountainous region of Rhodope represent new attestations of the culture megalithic. For the next phase, the in-depth study of the most typical artistic artifacts, such as weapons, horse harnesses, metal objects with zoomorphic decoration, and new monumental discoveries have brought further contributions to the knowledge of the Thracian civilization starting from the 6th-5th century. BC, the moment in which the urbanization process and the flowering of political, social and economic life begin (among the settlements recently highlighted, the one in Bagačina, Mihajlovgrad, from the 6th century BC to the 1st century. AD, and that of Veliko Tărnovo, from the final Bronze to the 3rd-2nd century. BulgariaC). Today, about 50 architectural tombs are also known (with a rectangular or quadrangular plan or tholos): among the most notable discoveries are the necropolis of Kolokita near Sozopol and the princely tomb of Sveštari, from the second quarter of the 3rd century. BC, with an architectural facade with pillared doors with Ionic capitals, architrave and frieze with rosettes and bucrania; the grave goods of the mounds, together with that of the treasures that continue to come to light, such as the very rich treasure of Rogozen (165 precious vases from the end of the 5th and most of the 4th century, the work of masters from north-western Thrace) and that of Borovo (385-359 BC, found in 1974, but published only in recent years), contribute to shedding light on the economy and society of the Thracian tribes; the inscriptions affixed to some specimens of precious pottery prove today that such a production is attributed to local workshops and not to Greek workshops. L’ The attention of scholars has also turned to the relationship between Thracian culture and the Greek world, especially with the intention of clarifying the pre-colonial phase, between the 8th and 6th centuries, on the basis of the diffusion and distribution of ceramics, bronzes and terracottas in the regions of Bulgaria and Greece. The investigations in the Greek colonies have been increased on the one hand by the accentuated interest in the coastal regions of the Black Sea (recent and accurate underwater inspections have led to the recovery and study of a large number of anchors and artifacts related to navigation, which have greatly contributed to the knowledge of ports, navigation and ancient routes), on the other hand by investigations extended to the territory, which clarified the relationship and exchange processes polis-chora. Among the new discoveries in the Greek colonies, we can mention the numismatic treasure of Greek tetradrams and barbarian imitation found in Mesambria, a city that has revealed an indigenous pre-existence, since the 12th century.

The autonomy of Thracian culture did not diminish in Roman times, as can be seen in the persistent burial tradition of mounds and in the scarce Roman influence on funerary objects even from the late age (at the necropolis of Višegrad, department of Kărdzăli, and the tombs below tumulus near Malko Tirnovo, dating back to the 2nd-3rd century AD); moreover, several Roman settlements had to be heirs of flourishing indigenous urban centers: today the plan of a large settlement near Isperih, probably the Dausdava of the Getae, is being brought to light.

It is in the study of the phenomenon of Romanization that Bulgarian archeology, with the help of foreign missions, has engaged the greatest energy and obtained the most striking results of recent years. A villa with unusual mosaics has appeared near Ivailovgrad (see Plate ft). In particular, the settlement models and the topography of the territory were examined, with the distinction of fields for legionaries, fortresses along the Danube limes, rural facilities and different urban types with complementary structures, such as emporiums and spas: particularly accurate in this the study of Nicopolis, of which the porticoed agora of the Hadrianic age, with basilica, buleuterion, tabernae, odeon, and other buildings; in Abritus the identification of an urban villa and above all of a granary structure in the urban center, together with the absence of administrative structures in the late age, from the mid-3rd century. approximately, have made us think of a generalized functional change, with the decline of urban life and with a prevalence of utilitarian systems for the sustenance of the military. Among the rural facilities, the villas distributed throughout the territory have been studied and classified on the basis of the plan, particularly numerous from the 1st to the middle of the 5th century. AD Excavations also continue in the main centers already known, while others have recently been identified: the excavations currently underway at Ratiaria are worthy of note. (Arčar), the result of a cooperation between the Sofia Academy of Sciences and the Italian University of Bologna, which shed light on the life of the Ulpia Traiana Ratiaria colony by identifying its orthogonal layout with an East-West central axis and relevant emergencies (city ​​walls, suburban mosaic domus of the 2nd-3rd century, conspicuous remains of the building activity of the 4th century, treasure of the 4th-5th century, rich epigraphic material); among the other sites investigated along the Danube, Oescus (Gigen), with the complete exhumation of the forum complex, with portico, peristyle, temple of Fortuna and other temple buildings; Novae (Svistor), with valetudinarium and principia ; Jatrus (Krivina), Bononia (Vidin), Almus (Lom), Sexaginta Prista (Ruse), Appiana (Rjahovo), Durostorum (Silistra), with a remarkable chamber tomb with frescoed walls from the end of the 4th century.

Among the centers inside, Montana (Mihajlovgrad), which revealed remains of the walls, a sanctuary and traces of frequentation since the Bronze Age; in the territory, moreover, the identification of rich gold deposits has made it possible to recognize Montana itself as the largest mining center of the Balkan peninsula in Roman times; in Serdica (Sofia) the excavations in the central and western part of the modern city have led to the identification of public buildings, praetorium, latrine, relevant sculptures; Pautalia (Kjustendil), Augusta Traiana (Stara Zagora), now considered heir to the Thracian city of Beroe (excavated the aqueduct, the necropolis, the forum with the auditorium and thermal baths); Diocletianopolis (Hissar Banja), with amphitheater, baths, nymphaeum, horreum, barracks; in Philippopolis the late-age aqueduct (5th-6th century) was investigated and the aedes thensaurorum, the treasury, mentioned by an honorary inscription by L. Cassius Severus, was identified. Excavations are still underway in Debelt, near the coast, where the colony of Deultum has been identified. Other emergencies have been recognized as Roman stations along the road systems: in Kostinbrod the mutatio Scretisca (mosaic architectural complex of the 3rd-4th century) has been identified, in the Stenicile locality (Plovdiv department) the mansio of Viamata, on Philippopolis-Oescus street (rectangular building and central courtyard), while in Sandonski, in south-western Bulgaria, a sanctuary of the Thracian knight, Theos Salenos, has been excavated.

The emergence of late antiquity fortresses is also important (in the 6th century the planting of several new fortified sites is recorded); in addition, the early Christian and proto-Byzantine testimonies are currently being revisited and new monuments are being investigated (for example the early Christian basilica of Novae), while we are witnessing an increase in research in the field of medieval archeology with the aim of clarifying the origin of the medieval Bulgarian culture (9th -10th century), based on the continuity of the various Traco-Roman and Traco-Byzantine elements.

Bulgaria Archaeology

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