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Bulgaria

Negligent archaeological excavations threaten to ruin Perperikon, Tatoul sites

Author: Svetlana Guineva Date: Tue, Feb 10 2009 7 Comments, 1831 Views
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Scholars from the National Archaeological Institute said on February 10 2009 that digs conducted in a negligent and unprofessional manner would soon ruin two of the most significant Thracian sites ever discovered in Bulgaria – Perpericon and Tatoul, website mediapool.bg reported.

"This (way of handling) does not allow the sites' restoration and preservation. There is a real danger of rockslides, because in many areas the rocks have been undermined during the digs," archaeologist Stefanka Ivanova said. The danger increases with the rapid change of temperatures as well as rain and snowfalls in the autumn and winter.

Bulgaria's Culture Ministry launched an investigation into the case, mediapool.bg said.

Digs on Perperikon and the sanctuary near the village of Tatoul in the eastern part of Rhodope Mountains are conducted under the supervision of Nikolai Ovcharov, one of the country's leading archaeologists. Last year, the state allotted a subsidy of 200 000 leva for the Ovcharov's team to continue the digs at Perperikon.

Perperikon is an archaeological complex 15km northeast of Kurdjali and, according to archaelogists, it features a sanctuary, a sacred city and well-defined city walls. Many have speculated that this was the sanctuary of Dionysus or Bacchus, the patron of agriculture and theatre, the most beloved god of wine and drunken frenzy.

From the part that has been unearthed so far, it is evident that the complex boasts a composition typical of the Neolithic era or the ‘New’ Stone Age, beginning about 10 000 BCE.

The latest archaeological research indicates that the site has been inhabited as early as the end of the sixth century BCE. According to prominent Bulgarian historian Alexander Fol, the name derives from Per, the Thracian god of stone.

So far, archaeologists have discovered pottery, domestic objects and coins, some of which have been cut during the time of Bulgarian ruler Tsar Ivan Alexander (1331/71), indicating his short domination over the region in 1343.

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