Another Resort in Bulgaria … Another Bust

Wow … it seems every time a hotel is built or expanded in Bulgaria, there’s some archaeological find. Here’s the latest coverage from Novinite:

The regional unit for combating organized crime in Bulgaria’s Burgas have seized a hidden treasure dating back to 3rd century BC.

The treasure was discovered in October 2008 during the construction of a new hotel in the Black Sea resort of Nessebar, which is also an ancient town with many ancient and medieval monuments.

Instead of turning it it, however, the hotel owners decided to keep the priceless treasure for themselves, and tried to conceal it.

The police learned about the treasure through its own local sources, and seized the treasure, which is now transferred to the Nessebar Archaeological Museum, and will be on display there starting May 15.

The treasure in questions is exceptionally elaborate and consist of several pieces of jewelry and decoration. It was discovered in what was the burial site of a women from a well-off family who lived in the town in 3rd century BC, during the Hellenistic period. Only the gold parts of the treasure weigh more than 200 grams.

Nessebar was initially a minor Thracian settlement but was later turned into a Greek colony to become part later of Rome and Byzantium, and was later conquered by the First Bulgarian Empire.

Echoes, somewhat, of previous finds of a thracian priestess burial or that statue of Cybele find from Balchik

Millefiori-Millefiore Bowl

This one received quite a bit of press attention this past week … conservators at the Museum of London have (painstakingly, no doubt) reassembled a Roman millefiori bowl which was found with a burial thought to come from the cusp of the second/third centuries. Some snippets (the journalists seems unsure how to spell millefiori and have caused me to question my own spelling, alas):

Curator Jenny Hall dixit (in the Evening Standard):

“This find indicates an important person was cremated.

“The fact they placed these objects suggests significant money was involved.

“In the first and second centuries AD the fashion was more for cremations, then later it changed more to burials. This seemed to have taken place around the time the fashion was changing.

“The dish was certainly made abroad as the skill to make it did not exist here. The owner would have regarded it as one of their most valuable possessions. It may have been a traded item, or brought by someone coming from where it was made – possibly Italy or further afield. Londinium was a real cultural melting pot.”

She adds (in Reuters coverage):

“For it to have survived intact is amazing. In fact, it is unprecedented in the western Roman world … We are still checking out whether there are similar examples surviving in the eastern part of the empire, in ancient Alexandria for example, but it’s the only one in the West.”

Conservatrix Liz Goodman told AP:

“Piecing together and conserving such a complete artifact offered a rare and thrilling challenge … We occasionally get tiny fragments of millefiori, but the opportunity to work on a whole artifact of this nature is extraordinary.”

Guy Hunt — one of the archaeologists working at the site — gives an idea of its extent (in Reuters):

“No-one knows how big the cemetery really is. Some think it could be up to 16 hectares (40 acres), disappearing under roads and buildings.”

… so I suspect we’ll be hearing  of more finds from this site …

Cleopatra Trailer Fest

While poking around YouTube for assorted items this past week, it came to my attention that I could put a little minifilm festival of Cleopatra movie trailers together here to start our weekend blogging off … so, in chronological order:

The 1934 DeMille version starring Claudette Colbert:

Possibly the worst ever … the 1945 version starring Vivien Leigh:

The 1963 version with Elizabeth Taylor: