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Opening of the Bulgarian Archaeology 2013 Seventh National Exhibition

For a seventh consecutive year the National Archaeological Institute with Museum of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences organizes and plays a kind host of Bulgarian Archaeology 2013 National Exhibition. The exhibition is also devoted to the 145-th anniversary of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences. As a tradition, it presents the results of research in the course of the last archaeological season by exhibiting some of the most interesting finds and by posters display. This year the co-organizers of the exhibition are twelve historical and archaeological museums in Bulgaria participating with artefacts from their depots. The exhibition will be on display in the Central Hall of the National Museum of Archaeology from February 14th – the Day of the Archaeologist – till March 30th, 2014.
The exhibition presents finds from 18 sites in total, differing in type and chronology – from the early Prehistory to the Middle Ages.
In 2013 the ongoing Bulgarian-French archaeological research at one of the earliest sites in Europe – the Kozarnika Cave, Belogradchik region (headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nikolay Sirakov and Assoc. Prof. Dr. Jean-Luc Guadeli) – have revealed interesting results. The most impressive find consists of shell ornaments. They are dated to the Upper Paleolithic and are among the earliest known ornaments on the Balkans. To this period date also the finds from the caves Redaka, Belogradchik region, and Manastira, Veliko Tarnovo region (investigations by Dr. Aleta Guadeli).
The rescue excavations of a multilayered site from the Prehistoric, Antique, and Medieval periods in the Hauza locality near the village of Kapitan Andreevo, led by Dr. Sc. Prof. Vasil Nikolov (NAIM-BAS), have provided valuable scientific information and numerous finds. Among these, impressing are the exquisitely made and richly decorated anthropomorphic vessels as well as a zoomorphic one in the shape of a bull with a human figure on top of it, dated to the Late Neolithic (second half of the sixth millennium BC).
The rescue excavations of the prehistoric site at the village of Nova Nadezhda, Haskovo region, headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Krum Bacvarov (NAIM-BAS) have also yielded interesting and rich results. The most remarkable finds (anthropomorphic figurines, vessels, and others) are on display in the exhibition. The results of the investigations at Chalcolithic sites are supplemented by artefacts from the ongoing excavations at Tell Yunatsite (headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Yavor Boyadzhiev, NAIM-BAS) and the settlement and necropolis at Kozareva Mogila, Burgas region (headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Petya Georgieva, Sofia University “St. Kliment Ohridski”): richly decorated vessels, Spondylus shell ornaments, and many others.
The archaeological excavations at two of the most exciting in the last years Late Bronze Age sites (end of the second millennium BC) continued in 2013: the gold extracting mines at Ada Tepe near Krumovgrad and the necropolis at Baley, Vidin region. They are represented by richly decorated pottery – funerary urns, bowls, etc.
Among the sites from the Late Iron Age, of particular interest are the discoveries at the so-called “Sanctuary complex on the island of St. Kirik”, Sozopol, headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Kristina Panayotova (NAIM-BAS). In two ritual pits a great amount of one-wicked lamps and vessels of various shape and function have been discovered. These include astonishing anthropomorphic and zoomorphic aryballi as well as a cup bearing very interesting and unique inscription in the Doric dialect, which is indisputable evidence for the honouring of Apollo the Healer at the site already from the foundation of Apollonia Pontica. Interesting finds have come to light also from the ongoing excavations at one of the emblematic sites of the Late Iron Age – emporion of Pistiros (international Bulgarian-British-Czech project headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Aleksey Gotsev, NAIM-BAS, Prof. Jan Bouzek, Charles University, and Dr. Zosia Archibald, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom).
The artefacts from the Roman period play a major role in this year’s exhibition. Among these, the finds from the tumulus near the village of Jelio Voivoda, Sliven region (Gureva mound, headed by Diana Dimitrova, NAIM-BAS) and the necropolis at the Roman colony of Deultum, Burgas region, headed by Krasimira Kostova (HM-Sredets) stand out. Two rich graves have yielded a bronze amphorisque and a patera, glass vessels and pottery, a gold lunula, iron strigils, and others. The necropolis at Deultum has revealed numerous grave offerings. Impressive are the rare find of an almost completely preserved soldier’s folding chair, golden earrings, a bronze mirror, anthropomorphic vessels, and bronze anthropomorphic appliqués. The artefacts from the renewed archaeological excavations of the colony and provincial capital Ulpia Ratiaria, Vidin region (headed by Chief Assistant Dr. Zdravko Dimitrov, NAIM-BAS) as well as from the rescue excavations at the village of Nova Nadezhda, Haskovo (headed by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Ventsislav Dinchev and Chief Assistant Dr. Mario Ivanov, NAIM-BAS) supplement the picture of the active and fruitful investigations at sites form the Roman period. Imported terra sigillata bowls (from Ratiaria) and a bone “votive distaff” with incised decoration (from Nova Nadezhda) attract a keen interest.
The excavations of the late antique fortress on St. Athanasius cape near Byala brought to light very interesting results and artifacts. Among them is a hoard of golden coins of Justin I (518–527) and Justinian I the Great (527–565).
For a consecutive year the investigations of the Medieval period are represented by important results from the excavations of the two Bulgarian capitals – Pliska and Preslav. Prominent among the exhibited artefacts are the hearth-shaped gilt appliqué from Pliska (investigations by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Valeri Grigorov, NAIM-BAS) and a cross encolpion with images of the Crucifixion of Jesus and the Holy Mother from Preslav (investigations by Assoc. Prof. Zhivko Aladzhov, NAIM-BAS).
More than 40 posters illustrate the main results of the exploration of nearly a quarter of all the archaeological sites investigated in 2013.
The opening of the exhibition is on February 14th at 6 pm in the Central Hall of the National Museum of Archaeology.