Temples (?) from Sozopol

From Novinite:

Bulgarian archeologists in the historical coastal town of Sozopol are working on unearthing two antique temples – of Gods Poseidon and Priapus.

The information was announced over the weekend by the Director of the National History Museum and former Minister for Bulgarians abroad, Bozhidar Dimitrov. He added that archaeological excavations were ongoing near the fortress wall where the entrance to the town was uncovered in the summer with well-preserved parts of two towers and the “Saint Nikolay” monastery.

According to Dimitrov, two antique temples were discovered on the left of the monastery, both about 2-meters tall. Inside one there is a stone plate with an image of God Poseidon. The altar of the second temple is well-preserved, and was made by squares of white limestone cemented with iron clamps and lead. There, the archeologists have found a ceramic phallus with Priapus inscribed on it in ancient Greek. Dimitrov says this could be a gift from an individual who might have had some reproductive problems since Priapus is the god of fertility, protector of livestock, fruit plants, gardens and male genitalia.

Digs are also continuing at the north tower, which is located on the highest elevation in Sozopol. When works are completed, the tower will offer a splendid scenery viewed from the sea. Dimitrov predicts it will become one of the symbols of the historical town.

Okay … I’m getting cranky with identifications lately; not really sure what the basis for identifying these temples with these particular divinities, although the phallus is, er, suggestive. The other thing that confuses me is the photo that accompanies this article … I’ll break my usual practice of simply linking and include it below:

BGNES photo via Novinite

This is apparently a temple of Poseidon … it’s kind of interesting that no connection is made to the find of an erotic vase fragment at/near this site earlier this year (Erotic Vase Find from Sozopol)  … previous temple finds  include one to Demeter (Another Temple of Demeter) …

Another Necropolis in Bulgaria

The finds are from various periods, but it sounds like this find might lead to more within our purview. From Novinite:

A necropolis with over 100 burials has been unearthed during archaeological excavations near the village of Marten in northern Bulgaria.

The discovery was made by the archaeologist from the Archaeology Museum in the Danube city of Ruse, Deyan Dragoev.

The necropolis is on the path of the future gas connection between Bulgaria and Romania.

The site includes tombs from the Thracian times to the times of the First Bulgarian Kingdom. The oldest ones date from the 5th – 4th centuries B.C. Some reveal very interesting rites such as the tomb of a decapitated soldier, whose head was laid on his lap, while others have been buried with gold and silver jewelry or with their dogs.

Some skeletons have deformed skulls, which have been typical for the First Bulgarian Kingdom as a sign of high position in society and of nobility. Noble children then had their heads tightened with headbands in order to change the form of the skull, experts say.

Remnants include wooden coffins, and ceramics and glass from Roman times.

The two Thracian tombs, according to archaeologists, show that a Thracian settlement, unknown until now, has been located nearby.

On Wednesday, the Ruse archaeologists sent bone material for analysis at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences.

Severan Era Coin Hoard from Plovdiv

From the Sofia Globe:

Archaeologists working at the Odeon site in Bulgaria’s second city of Plovdiv have found 40 silver coins said to date from the third century CE when the city was under Roman rule.

The coins were said by archaeologists to have been minted during the Severan dynasty, while ruled from 193 to 235 CE and variously feature images of four different emperors.

The Odeon site, dating from the second to fifth centuries, is the location of a Roman-era theatre, and is smaller in scale than Plovdiv’s well-known ancient theatre in the city’s Old Town.

The coins were found near the complex of administrative buildings at the northern end of the forum complex.

This archaeological season, more than 600 coins have been excavated at Plovdiv’s Odeon site. From the Hellenic era, there have been many finds of pottery.

At the Odeon site, a marble eagle was found earlier in 2012, and is estimated to date from the second to third century. Maya Martinova, head of the dig at the site, said that the eagle was of a type from the interiors of public buildings, and along with finds of marble columns and other items, was proof of the luxurious interiors of buildings in Phillipopolis, a prosperous city at the time.

The Odeon site has also seen finds of tiles depicting theatrical masks and Roman pottery. The coins include some with the images, respectively, of the emperors Geta and Caracalla, minted in ancient Sofia and in ancient Plovdiv at the end of the second and beginning of the third centuries. […]

Some previous coverage of this dig:

Thracian Gold

This is another one I’ve been sitting on because the darned story kept developing — something not normally seen with finds from Bulgaria. In any event, here’s the original notice from Novinite:

Bulgarian archaeologists have found a unique gold Thracian treasure in the famous Sveshtari tomb.

The team, led by one of the most prominent Bulgarian experts on Thracian archaeology, Prof. Diana Gergova, from the National Archaeology Institute at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, BAS, made the discovery during excavations at the so-called Omurtag mount.

The researchers found fragments of a wooden box, containing charred bones and ashes, along with a number of extremely well-preserved golden objects, dated from the end of the 4th and the beginning of the 3rd century B. C.. They include four spiral gold bracelets, and a number of intricate applications like one which shows the head of a female goddess adorned with beads, applications on horse riding gear and a forehead covering in the shape of a horse head with a base shaped like a lion head. The objects weigh 1.5 kg, but the excavations continue.

The precious find also contains a ring, buttons and beads. Gergova explains that it seemed the treasure was wrapped in a gold-woven cloth because a number of gold threads were discovered nearby.

The Professor says these were, most likely, remnants from a ritual burial, adding the team expects to discover a huge burial ground, probably related to the funeral of the Gath ruler Kotela, one of the father-in-laws of Philip II of Macedon. She notes this is a unique find, never before discovered in Bulgaria.

According to her, the Omurtag mount is the biggest one in the Gath center, which was their religious and political capital while the Gath were the tribe that influenced the most western tribes such as the Celts.

Gergova expects the treasure will entice the Culture Ministry to finally fund in full this emblematic Thracian site, part of the archaeological reserve Sboryanovo with the Sveshtari tomb, which is on the world cultural-historical heritage list of UNESCO.

The Professor says the Omurtag mount must be turned into a museum where the excavated segment could become an exhibit hall.

… and I initially found the connection to Philip II interesting, and planned on mentioning that and moving on. Then, for reasons unknown, this story caught on. Art Daily, Greek Reporter, and the Telegraph, to name but three, were giving the find some attention.  Al Jazeera gave a nice video report as well:

And shortly after this media frenzy, the story seems to have taken a different turn. Novinite then was telling us that the Louvre ‘Eyes’ Bulgaria’s Newest Thracian Treasure and that Magnificent Bulgarian Thracian Gold ‘Outshines’ Obama’s Win. Of course, it’s only natural to follow those up with being told Bulgarians Want Unique Thracian Treasure Back in Hometown, while the Daily Mail decided to take it to it’s usual sensationalistic extreme: Golden discovery: Archaeologists discover astonishing haul ‘linked to Alexander the Great’ in network of tombs in Bulgaria … but they had some really nice photos. Things seem to have quietened down a bit over the past few days … it is a nice find.

Government v Archaeologists in Bulgaria ?

Given how often we hear of Bulgaria actively promoting archaeological finds, this story from Novinite seems somewhat strange (especially the stuff at the end):

A real archaeological treasure has popped out underneath the “Struma” highway construction works in western Bulgaria.

Archaeologists at the site have managed a last-minute rescue operation, pulling “under the nose” of waiting construction workers and machinery gold soldier breastplates, gold earrings and hairpins, and a number of silver and amber items, the Bulgarian Standard daily writes Friday.

The finds came from an unseen so far in size Thracian necropolis in the vicinity of the village of Dren, near the town of Radomir. They have been unearthed in the spring of 2012, after flooding in the area, but were kept secret in order to prevent their pillage from illegal treasure hunters.

Now, after the necropolis is buried underneath highway asphalt, the treasure will be on display for the first time Friday in the western city of Pernik on the occasion of its official day, according to Standard.

The unique necropolis dates from 7-8th century BC. It includes an area of 5 825 square meters, and is over 300-meter long. Bulgarian archaeologists are quoted saying it has no analogue worldwide and it belonged to local Thracian aristocrats since they were the only ones allowed to wear gold.

At the beginning of the year, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov treated local archaeologists in a surprisingly offensive fashion with respect to an archaeological site found during the construction of the southwestern highway “Struma”.

Borisov and his Cabinet have reiterated a number of times their discontent over the fact that the very recent discoveries of Thracian archaeological sites along the route of the Struma Highway might delay its construction. In December 2011, Borisov accused the archaeologists of “racketeering” the state.