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Exhibit of the month – April 2024

04/2024

Stone andirons
Late 3rd – early 2nd c. BC
Rescue archaeological excavations of site No 3 along the railroad Sofia – Plovdiv, Aladzhovi krushi locality, Paunovo village, Municipality of Ihtiman
Photo: Z. Krasteva

Stone andirons – richly decorated parts of ritual hearths shaped as a stylized horse's head, are among the most interesting and impressive finds from the rescue archaeological excavations of a site in the Aladzhovi krushi locality, Paunovo village, Municipality of Ihtiman. The excavations were carried out in 2023, led by Assoc. Prof. Dr Bozhidar Draganov (Paisii Hilendarski University of Plovdiv). The site covers an area of about 30 decares, of which 25 decares fall under the easement of the newly constructed section of the railway line Sofia – Plovdiv. Over 350 structures were recorded, predominantly associated with the Late Iron Age. Among the numerous findings are pottery sherds, imported black-glazed ware, amphorae, hearths, ritual fireplaces, andirons, miniature ceramic vessels, anthropomorphic figurines, spindle whorls, loom weights, agricultural tools (ploughshare), adornments (bronze fibulae), etc. The andirons form a representative collection, including intact and fragmented specimens, as well as blanks and scrap material, thus providing valuable information about their manufacture and precise dating.

The artefacts are part of the temporary exhibition "Bulgarian Archeology 2023", on display in the Central Hall of the National Archaeological Museum until May 26, 2024.