A unique seal belonging to the Byzantium emperor Andronic II Palaiologos (1282 - 1321) was found near the Thracian sanctuary of Perperikon near the town of Kurdjali, in south-eastern Bulgaria, Nikolai Ovcharov, one of the most prominent Bulgarian archaeologists, told journalists on August 20.
It was the second such seal found in Bulgaria and only the 10th found in the world, Ovcharov said as quoted by Focus news agency.
Seals like this were used for closing important documents; the business cards of medieval times, Ovcharov said.
Among other artefacts recently found were four silver rings, which most probably belonged to noteworthy individuals at the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 14th century. The name Manouil was engraved on one of the rings. Archaeologists suggested that it belonged to a strategus (general, high official) of the Eastern Rhodopes, who lived in the 12th century.
Excavations in the western part of Perperikon's acropolis discovered an authentic medieval castle, similar to those in France, for example, Ovcharov said. It has six towers, one of which was a hexagon. The castle of the Perperikon rulers was found well preserved. It was a three-storey building, dating back to the 14th century. Unique Asian ceramic was used for its decoration. The ceramic proved that the Perperikon rulers were important and wealthy people.
Excavations will continue until September 15.
Perperikon is one of the most visited tourist attractions in Bulgaria. In 2008, nearly 187 000 tourists visited the site. Currently, nearly 1000 people visit it daily. Hence the need for the state to invest in Perperikon, Ovcharov said. In 2008, the budget for excavations at Perperikon was 200 000 leva and one million euro were spent on restoration. Some of the budget surplus could be invested in Perperikon in 2009, he said.
Ovcharov also said that the frozen European Union funding under the Phare pre-accession funding blocked a project worth a couple of million euro for the construction of sewage and water supply to the tourist centre that was being built near Perperikon.